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    A roaring good show: nice work Baz, old sport

    28/09/2018 - Author: admin

    The great and the good: Baz Luhrmann with cast members. Photo: Marco Del Grande Big chill: Barry Otto and Jack Thompson at the premiere. Photo: Danielle Smith

    In New York they draped feather boas from crystal chandeliers at The Plaza hotel, in Cannes they sipped Moet under an art-deco dome overlooking the Cote d’Azur, but it was in Sydney that Baz Luhrmann really let his hair down.

    On Wednesday night the red carpet snaked its way through Moore Park’s Entertainment Quarter for the Australian premiere of Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby, the final stop in a two-week global promotional campaign.

    Despite the chill and wet, with a guest list of 1200, the Sydney premiere and after party eclipsed those in New York and Cannes.

    Dancers dressed as flappers shivered through the Charleston and champagne flowed as the VIP guests, who ranged from Delta Goodrem and Ricky Martin to Kate Ritchie and Ita Buttrose, made their way down the ruby pile.

    For just one night, New York in the Roaring Twenties had been re-created in Sydney, complete with jazz bands, dancers hoisting giant bottles of Moet and models dressed as elegant flappers dripping in Tiffany diamonds.

    At the after-party, guests were greeted with a 10-metre Moet champagne tower, a replica of the

    one featured at Gatsby’s hedonistic parties. In all 700 magnums were on hand to keep the guests watered. Guests included Barry O’Farrell, Lachlan and Sarah Murdoch, Gillian Armstrong, George Miller, Barry Otto, Seal, Skye Leckie and Ryan Stokes.

    It was a way for Luhrmann to thank the city in which he created Gatsby, a $180 million production, underwritten by taxpayers to the tune of $40 million, but which had managed to keep Sydney’s struggling film industry ticking over.

    It had also provided one of the greatest celebrity conga-lines Sydney has seen in years, with daily sightings of Hollywood heartthrob Leonardo DiCaprio filling gossip columns for weeks, from his late-night partying to cruising on the harbour with a bevvy of beauties. Notoriously camera-shy during his four months in Sydney, DiCaprio lived life to the full, just as his character Jay Gatsby does on screen.

    However DiCaprio was missing from the Sydney premiere, having pulled out at the 11th hour citing a ”scheduling change”, only to have been spotted in a Cannes nightclub.

    The absence of DiCaprio, who reportedly earned $12 million, was evident among the media pack covering the red carpet, but also resulted in co-stars, including Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan, Elizabeth Debicki, Jack Thompson and Joel Edgerton being able to bathe in the limelight.

    Luhrmann, and his creative collaborator wife Catherine Martin, hired events supremo Tony Assness to recreate Jay Gatsby’s West Egg party mansion. Assness used many of the props, costumes and sets featured in the film which had been created by Martin, following years of researching the period.

    And while some critics have savaged Lurhmann’s take on the F. Scott Fitzgerald classic, the film has knocked off spectaculars such as Iron Man 3 and Star Trek: Into Darkness in box office. As Luhrmann arrived at the premiere it emerged The Great Gatsby had taken $135 million worldwide, and on track to eclipse Moulin Rouge!, Strictly Ballroom and Australia as Luhrmann’s most successful film in his 22-year-career yet.

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    POLL: ‘Lake Macquarie City Centre’ name bid 

    - Author: admin

    PART of Speers Point would be named ‘‘Lake Macquarie City Centre’’ under a plan that council leaders have drawn up in a renewed attempt to boost the city’s identity.

    The area would cover only the council’s administration centre in Main Road.

    Mayor Jodie Harrison said manufacturing and tourism industries had been pushing for several years to improve Lake Macquarie’s identity.

    ‘‘This proposal deals with that desire,’’ Cr Harrison said.

    ‘‘It shouldn’t alienate any residents.’’

    The move follows the council’s failed attempt last year to create a suburb called Lake Macquarie by renaming an area of Speers Point, including about 260 houses.

    The Geographical Names Board rejected the plan, ruling it would create confusion.

    A previous attempt six years ago to name an area of Glendale as Lake Macquarie was dropped following community opposition.

    Deputy Mayor Laurie Coghlan said he would examine the latest proposal with ‘‘great interest’’.

    ‘‘I’ve supported the concept right from the start, mainly for identity and tourism purposes,’’ Cr Coghlan said.

    Lake Macquarie Tourism Association chairman Robert Kemmis said the latest plan was ‘‘good news’’.

    ‘‘The main thing is we get something to be called Lake Macquarie, so it can be searchable on navigation systems,’’ Mr Kemmis said.

    ‘‘This doesn’t affect anyone in any way, apart from helpfully.’’

    The council’s aim is to enable Lake Macquarie signs on the F3 freeway and for the city to be found easily online and in satellite navigation systems.

    A Google Maps search of Lake Macquarie, for example, directs users to Pulbah Island in the middle of the lake.

    Other aims were to reinforce Lake Macquarie’s ‘‘separate identity to the City of Newcastle’’ and ‘‘help reduce confusion between Lake Macquarie and Port Macquarie,’’ the report said.

    Council staff have recommended that a new application be made to the Geographical Names Board to designate Lake Macquarie as a city.

    Lake Macquarie was recognised as a city under the Local Government Act in 1984, but this fact was not on the Geographical Names Register, the report said.

    Council staff believe the plan will achieve its objectives.

    What’s in a name?

    Councillors will vote on it on Monday.

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    Heart, Victory divided on draw

    - Author: admin

    2013-14 A-League season fixture

    It was a tale of two cities as Melbourne’s A-League clubs reacted to the 2013-14 season draw released on Wednesday, with Heart happy with its lot and Victory far from impressed by the scheduling.

    The two meet in the opening round in a Victory home game at Etihad Stadium, but the fixture is not a stand-alone event to mark the new season’s opening. That honour goes to Sydney FC, which will entertain Newcastle on Friday October 11, with Victory hosting Heart on Saturday night 24 hours later.

    Heart then hosts the next two derbies, which take place in the now traditional pre-Christmas slot, on Saturday December 21, and finally on March 1, another Saturday evening.

    Victory is not pleased that it has only three home games in the new Friday night free-to-air television slot, with games televised by SBS. Heart is pleased that it has five games in the same slot, reasoning that it will give it and its sponsors much-needed exposure.

    Victory is also unhappy with its run to the finals. The club will play four of its last five matches away from home at a time when it could be involved in Asian Champions League action.

    Those games include trips to Perth and Wellington, where it will come up against its former coach Ernie Merrick in the final match of the season. Victory takes on Merrick for the first time on Monday, November 4, at Etihad Stadium.

    Most of the big games in the schedule are on a Saturday evening – many featuring Victory – which might suggest that broadcaster Fox has had a significant input into the fixturing, given its desire to have a high-rating lead-in to its English Premier League coverage on Saturday nights. Richard Wilson, Victory’s managing director, said that to have ”only three Friday night home games is really disappointing, both for our fans and our corporate supporters, as Friday night sport is a major tradition in Melbourne”.

    ”The other disappointing factor is the number of away games at the end of the season when we could be involved in Asian Champions League competition and that we have to travel as far as Perth and New Zealand in that period.

    ”That’s the downside. We are happy with the fact that we have two home games against West Sydney Wanderers, Brisbane, Adelaide and Sydney.”

    Heart chief executive Scott Munn was in a more upbeat mood.

    ”We are really happy about it, given the difficulties involved in putting together a fixture with all the competing demands. We are excited to have five home games on a Friday evening on free-to-air and we think that will be good for the growth of our club,” Munn said.

    ”We are also happy to have two home derbies and have Sydney and West Sydney here twice. We hope those fixtures will help us boost our memberships and grow our presence in the market place.

    ”We do have a lot of Sunday afternoon games, but it is up to us to get the fans out. It’s important to us to improve on the field since that will drive membership and corporate support. We took a step backwards this season, and that impacted on all areas.”

    The regular season finishes on Sunday, April 13, with the grand final on Sunday, May 4.

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    Integrity unit will be put to ultimate test

    - Author: admin

    Te’oA Brisbane woman’s assertion she was struck repeatedly by South Sydney forward Ben Te’o will be one of the first significant tests of the NRL’s new integrity unit.

    The Rabbitohs have refused to stand down Te’o over the alleged incident, which took place in the home of Brisbane player Corey Norman last month. Newcastle player Darius Boyd was also believed to have been present.

    The NRL’s integrity unit will investigate, after NRL boss Dave Smith was made aware of the allegations on Tuesday night, just days after celebrating the Women in League round.

    In a statement, Te’o said he refuted ”entirely any suggestion that I acted improperly”, and that he had offered to co-operate with ”the police, the NRL integrity unit, my club and other authorities to ensure that this matter is dealt with in the appropriate way”.

    The woman, Katie Lewis, went public with her allegations on Wednesday night on Channel Nine, saying she had suffered a fractured eye socket.

    ”Ben Te’o was at the door, and I tried to get out,” Lewis said. ”I had my shoe in my hand, and I hit him on the shoulder. He punched me in the face, or my eye, and I now have a broken eye socket. He made a comment that I was a slut, and I wasn’t very happy with that.”

    She added: ”After he hit me in the face, I fell down and, like, curled into a ball, and he just kept hitting me, and I remember hearing Darius say ‘stop’, or yelling, and I must have gone unconscious, and then I remember coming to, just laying in the hallway with blood everywhere, and just being scared … and there was no one there. I could have been dead for all they know.”

    Rabbitohs chief executive Shane Richardson said Te’o, who joined the club this year from the Broncos, had informed him of an incident on the Monday following it. The incident occurred on the representative weekend, with no NRL fixtures. ”We’re trying to be as open as we possibly can about what’s happened here, and once the investigation is completed, we’ll act accordingly, and we’ll act with the NRL,” Richardson said.

    ”Let’s see all the information, all the facts … and let’s find out exactly what the story is.”

    In his statement, Te’o said: ”On the night in question, I found myself in unfortunate circumstances that were not caused by me and I acted appropriately to deal with a difficult situation.

    ”I called the police to report the incident and have the female removed from the house. I have not pressed charges against the female and to the best of my knowledge no charges have been laid against me. I don’t wish to go into any further detail about this matter because I regard the incident as unfortunate and something I wish to leave behind me.”

    Queensland Police confirmed the matter was ”no longer under investigation”. ”Police attended an incident but the allegation was formally withdrawn by the complainant. There was no further police action,” a spokesperson said.

    Richardson said Te’o felt ”aggrieved” by the airing of the allegations. ”It’s a difficult situation,” he said. ”He’s going to be plastered across the papers … He gets that. But this is Australia. There’s a justice process in place for everybody concerned. We’ve got to follow that process. Hopefully at the end of it, we come out with a resolution that satisfies everybody.”

    Smith said the integrity unit had begun an independent investigation into the night in question. He said an independent firm of specialists would investigate and produce a report. ”Our approach in this area is clear; we take all matters seriously,” Smith said.

    ”We will ensure they are investigated thoroughly and independently. Where action is warranted, we will take it. We will only act on facts. When the facts are established, we will be able to determine an outcome, but we are not at that point.

    ”The investigation will take as long as it takes. Whether it takes a day, a week, two weeks, whatever, it will take as long as it takes. The important thing is not the length of the investigation. [It’s] that we do it properly and thoroughly, and we investigate all of the allegations.”

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    Hot Swan, Dan good

    - Author: admin

    Coming second isn’t something you’d expect to celebrate in AFL football, but it’s a different story in the case of Sydney midfielder Dan Hannebery.

    Indeed, these particular No. 2 rankings are ones most senior players would kill for. The first came on grand final day last year, when the Swan, with just over 80 games under his belt, finished behind only Norm Smith medallist Ryan O’Keefe as his side’s best player in the game.

    And if that was a sign that here was a player, at only 22, who was bound to play a critical part in his side’s fortunes, another current ranking of second confirms it. That’s Hannebery’s 38 votes after eight rounds in the AFL Coaches’ Association award, trailing only a certain G. Ablett.

    Accolades don’t come a lot more prestigious than those. But as he enjoys career-best form, for Hannebery, it’s business as usual.

    “I’m not too worried about that external stuff,” he says. “I think you just worry about preparing right during the week, make sure you tick off all the boxes, and mentally and physically get yourself right knowing that when you get to the weekend you’ve done all the right things.”

    Not much doubt about that this season, and particularly the past month. Hannebery has scored the maximum 10 votes (five from each coach) in three of his past four games. And the one in which he missed out, the Swans’ 37-point loss to Hawthorn a fortnight ago, is a significant enough statement in itself about the Swans’ dependence on one of their youngest guns.

    Such has been his form that last Saturday night came another accolade. Last year, Hannebery scoffed at the thought of being considered dangerous enough to earn the attention of a tagger. Against Fremantle, he was marked by the best “stopper” in the business, the Dockers’ Ryan Crowley.

    Yet still he shone through to finish a clear best-on-ground with 27 disposals and a career-high four goals, Crowley unusually having his colours lowered and moved off Hannebery at half-time.

    “It was the first time it’s happened. You’ve probably just got to work harder and smarter,” he says. “The good thing is we’ve got players like ‘Macca’ [Jarrad McVeigh] and ‘Joey’ [Josh Kennedy], who’ve been tagged many times and know how to deal with that.”

    And Sydney midfield coach Leigh Tudor says Hannebery is never slow to ask for help. “He just wants to be a gun, and that’s why his work rate is so good and he’s so easy to coach,” Tudor says.

    “He’s always the first one in the office, wanting to know what he did well, what he did badly . . . he’s just in a real hurry to get better.”

    The results are coming fast. “He’s naturally courageous, he’s hard and tough, that’s just a given for him, but he’s actually running harder than last year, which I find quite astonishing,” Tudor says.

    And while Tudor says Hannebery is spending more time now as an inside midfielder, the outside stuff stays strong. He’s currently ranked second for disposals for the Swans, second for handballs received, and No. 1 for uncontested possessions, another tribute to that improved running capacity.

    For Hannebery, however, the numbers are immaterial. It’s the thirst to keep learning that drives him.

    “I think the grand final was something that probably helped me realise I could get to that level, and try to hold that as a benchmark game,” he says. “I think throughout the pre-season and at the start of this year I’ve tried to work on some decision-making and kicking stuff, and trying to get more goals. I’m still working on all that, it’s still a work in progress.”

    But coming ever closer to completion. Certainly, few would doubt there’s every chance that, for Hannebery, those seconds are going to become No. 1s sooner than later.

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