Magpies end Tigers’ season

The Magpies’ win sets up a grand final against the Lake Cathie Raiders this Saturday.
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The Tigers’ playmaker injured himself in the warm up forcing a reshuffle in the backline but more importantly Comboyne lost a vital cog in their attacking armoury.

The Lower Macleay Magpies took full advantage of a disjointed Tigers attack but not before the Tigers took a 6-0 lead on 20 minutes through a Thomas Latimore try and Shawn Madeley conversion.

The Magpies hit back when halfback Sam Drew found Luke Dufty with a great inside pass before the centre dived over the tryline. Despite missing the conversion, the Magpies were down 6-4 but looking the more composed side.

Comboyne did themselves no favours with too many errors early in the tackle count and poor sixth tackle options.

Magpies hooker Zac McKiernan exploited a yawning gap in the Tigers defence to grab the lead for his side and when Dufty converted from in front the Magpies went to the break 10-6 leaders.

Lower Macleay posted two tries in the opening 11 minutes of the second half through a great solo effort from five-eighth Joel McCafferty and centre Tom Stevenson to stretch their lead to 18-6 after Dufty booted one of the conversion attempts.

An angled run from Comboyne’s Thomas Latimore caught the Magpies defence flat-footed close to the line to bring his side back into the contest. The Tigers forward improved his position to give goalkicker Madeley and easier conversion. That left the score at 18-12 and the Tigers were, somehow, back into the contest.

But the comeback was short-lived. The Magpies peppered the Comboyne defence with a couple of stirring runs before Dufty wrongfooted a couple of Tigers defenders to score under the posts. The centre landed the conversion to stretch the Magpies’ lead to 24-12.

With the clock winding down, Paio scored off the back of a strong charge from Bevan Castles and with the conversion attempt waved away, the Magpies were 24-16 winners and through to Saturday’s grand final.

The Magpies were best served by McCafferty and McKiernan while the Tigers’ best included winger Lee O’Brien, lock Ben Wadwell and Blake Reis.

Tigers down: Sam Hensley and Luke Dufty … battle it out in the Hastings League finals last Saturday.

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

Cops and rockers: Police band together for community

On the beat: The police band entertains a crowd at Box Hill. The Victoria Police band continues to wow audiences. Picture: Darrian Traynor
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They’re police, but their mission is music and making people feel good, writes Loretta Hall.

It can be a glamorous life fronting a showband, but this is not one of those days.

The band’s equipment truck, emptied of trunks of brass instruments and sound gear, doubles as a hasty change room for Elise Beattie as she transforms from “worker ant” roadie to lead singer in a shopping mall in Melbourne’s east.

Long loose hair is secured in a no-nonsense plait, and casual clothing discarded for navy trousers, sensible flat black shoes and a crisp light-blue shirt with an epaulette and stripe on each shoulder.

Only the showbiz shades remain from her civilian guise as Beattie prepares to front the Victoria Police Showband with co-senior constable Daina Jowsey under the midday sun for the mostly unsuspecting shoppers and commuters.

Music director (and prominent Melbourne musician) Daryl McKenzie is absent, so Beattie and Jowsey consult over a whiteboard song list and a takeaway coffee while fellow band members set up 500 leads and an array of instruments for the gig.

They choose songs from hundreds of the band’s own arrangements, mixing swing with jazz, classical, musical theatre, rock and pop. Beattie is down for Adele’s Rolling in the Deep, Jowsey is opening with Dancing in the Street.

Some of the tracks they performed for the Showband’s Divas CD, sales of which aid the police force’s Blue Ribbon Foundation community program.

There are a few curious glances from passers-by as Beattie sets up the microphones. But once she re-emerges from the back of the truck an audience begins to gather and several shoppers question the diminutive but authoritative figure at the microphone stand.

“As soon as you are in uniform there’s a certain level of interest; people come up and ask what you are doing,” Beattie says. “We explain to them that what we are doing is a full-time job.”

When the police band originated 120 years ago it was formed by those on the beat who volunteered to play an instrument part-time. It became a full-time occupation in 1980s, when professional musicians were sworn in as police members

The Showband plays across Melbourne and regional Victoria in the community and schools and the public can check the police website for the showband’s calendar for a performance in their neighbourhood.

More glitzy gigs include charity nights, when Beattie frocks up out of uniform to perform at venues that have included Crown’s Palladium room, Hamer Hall and Melbourne’s World Congress Centre.

Beattie, 46, has been on patrol with the showband around Victoria for the past 11 years and previously sang with the Victoria Police’s rock band, Code One, for six years. Her role in the police force was recognised with a national award for “rockin’ it” in January.

She wears the stripe of a senior constable, “and we have full police powers of arrest”, but, as with the rest of the 24 showband members, isn’t operational as a police officer.

Band leader Sergeant Pat Hudson, who has in the past been in the back-row line-up on trombone, watches from beyond the police-taped stage edge as the party gets started.

Music spills into the mall and an audience builds. Most of the smoking section – a half-brick wall outside the supermarket – is full. Hudson says that at the height of the set about 200 people are toe-tapping to the tunes.

The youth that the showband is reaching out to largely respond to the offer of musical friendship, with most unplugging at least one earphone to catch a Lady Gaga or Beyoncé song.

An older fan, Robert Fraser, 59, dances through all three sets, oblivious to the fact he is mostly dancing solo on the pavement. A middle-aged woman kicks off her heels, dumps her handbag under the watchful gaze of the band’s brass section and joins him for a track. Towards the end of the last set a trio of teens lose their inhibitions and let their lanky limbs loose.

Collectively, the three bands perform about 500 gigs annually, and Hudson says these reach about 650,000 Victorians a year. In times of hardship and disaster, the Showband is dispatched to communities where an uplifting tune can bring some cheer or relief in tough times.

“When there were floods in country Victoria a year ago we had a week tour in those regions, and we based ourselves in Horsham. We were bussed out to country towns I had never heard of where all 50 people in the town came to see us. When we do a show for them it’s the only thing that has made them smile in a long time.”

Beattie says the performances are not all about the music, as she spends a lot of time talking to locals.

In addition to Cats, Beattie took lead roles in her school’s Gilbert and Sullivan productions before studying voice at Melba Conservatorium and primary teaching in music at Victoria College. She gained professional experience with Dame Joan Sutherland in Othello for the Australian Opera (now Opera Australia) and with the Wiggles in front of a crowd of 80,000.

“I still have singing lessons because it is important that our music is as high a standard as it can be,” Beattie says. “Being with the band involves a regimented lifestyle, especially for the singers to stay fit and healthy. In a 10-day fortnight we get four days off, and those 10 days can be at any time.

“We spend many hours travelling … being on tour with the band on the bus is like being in a sitcom. There are some incredibly funny personalities.”

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www.police.vic.gov.au

Mixed messages on Greenvale road route

HUME Council has sought to allay Aitken College fears over a Growth Areas Authority (GAA) plan to build a public road that would intersect the school in Greenvale.
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The school site, which faces Mickleham Road, is included in the GAA Greenvale Central Precinct Structure Plan (PSP), which was released this month.

Council’s city sustainability director, Kelvin Walsh, said last week: “It is council’s understanding the Minister for Planning [Matthew Guy] has directed that the GAA not propose a road extending through the school site – and there is currently no proposal to construct a road through the school”.

He said the decision for a road connection was at the discretion of the school.

His comments followed on college principal Josie Crisara urging parents to voice their concerns at the road plan.

Ms Crisara said the plan showed a road connection along the southern boundary of the school, running up to the northern boundary.

She said the road would pose a safety risk to students and impact on the school’s sustainability projects, including its wetlands.

She urged parents to fill out a submission objecting to the proposal, to be sent to the GAA.

“There have been suggestions that a public road could be built to cut through the school or provide an alternative access other than using Mickleham Road,” Ms Crisara said.

“Both of these propositions are unacceptable to the college. A road access point to the south or north of the college would only create more congestion and would be a costly exercise in the order of millions of dollars, which the college would most likely need to fund.”

The school site has also been labelled a ‘future urban area’ by the GAA.

Ms Crisara said this was unacceptable. The school, which opened in 1999, has 1260 students from prep to year 12.

Janelle Judge, whose son is in year8 at the college, said she would be putting in a submission to the GAA.

”It’s a prep-to-year 12 school so I was concerned about the students crossing that potential road,” she said.

“The safety of the children would be at risk.”

GAA chief executive Peter Seamer said there were no immediate plans to build a road through the school, but he added that it was a possibility.

“While the PSP shows a potential future connection, as requested by Hume City Council, the PSP is neutral on whether there should be a road connection through that site and quite certainly it does not require this [connection],” he said.

But the council said the concept of a road connection arose from recommendations of the GAA’s own traffic report.

Late last week, Mr Guy’s spokesman said: “The minister has no intention of directing the location of local roads; this is a matter that should be sensibly sorted out between the GAA and the Hume Council.”

Submissions on the PSP close on August 27.

EFL: From ‘burbs to Borough

Moving up: Dean Grice has found a place in Port Melbourne’s senior VFL side. Picture: Cyan Sporting ImagesYOU could count on one finger how many Eastern Football League division 3 players could go straight to the Victorian Football League seniors.
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That player is Dean Grice. The former Boronia midfielder left his beloved Hawks late last year after VFL premier Port Melbourne offered him a chance to do the preseason.

He has played the first two games of the VFL season in the Borough’s senior side, playing on the wing and in midfield as the club extended its league record-winning streak to 23 wins.

Initially the move cut Grice deeply as the Boronia resident was desperate to help his emerging side to a senior EFL premiership. Grice had played at the Hawks since he was nine years old.

Instead, the offer to try big league football was too good to refuse.

“I got a phone call in mid-November from the general manager asking me to come and train,” Grice said. “I’ve had offers in the past but just blown it off because I want to win a flag at Boronia.

“But this time I thought I would do it. Worse comes to worse I would come back a lot fitter. Then after a few sessions they wanted to sign me up, so I thought, why not? I didn’t want to die wondering.”

Grice played three preseason games in the Borough’s development side and was shocked to receive a late senior call-up in round 1.

“It was a bit of a surprise,” he said. “I was put on the ball straight up so I couldn’t get any nerves on the bench. I was straight in there.

“I’ve got to play my role more than chasing the footy. I let older guys get under the ball and play a more defensive role.”

Despite being just 24 years old, Grice won his third division 3 league best and fairest award last season and was still content to remain at his home club after the Hawks fell short in last year’s division 3 finals. Grice wanted nothing more than to help the Hawks to the premiership.

Grice is still based in Boronia and works full time as a tradesman while training three times at week in Port Melbourne and playing matches. “It’s been pretty hectic. I certainly don’t get to head out with my mates any more, but it’s been worth it,” he said.

Hawks president Tim Currie said Grice had left with the club’s blessings, although he had started drawing supporters away.

“We played a practice match last weekend and there were more people in the clubrooms watching Dean on ABC than watching the match,” Currie joked.

Grice said he was awed by the support of his home club. “In my first match about 30 people from the club came and watched. A few Port Melbourne people labelled it Grice’s pocket,” he said.

While Grice does miss his home club, the chance to play elite football is a huge step in his career. “We have a really good chance of going back to back, so to be part of that would be outrageously good.”

FFV: Anniversary special for Mooroolbark

MOOROOLBARK opened its golden jubilee league season – the club was formed in 1962 – with a home fixture against Sandringham at Esther Park on Saturday.
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The Barkers started well, with a good one-two down the left between Yannis Christoforou and Doug Shields supplying Brechan Adams, who turn smartly and shot just wide.

On 17 minutes, Nhlanhla Dube won a tackle and found Craig Kerr. He delivered a lovely cross-field ball to Christoforou, whose first touch took the ball too close to the Sandy goalkeeper.

The breakthrough came just before half-time. The Barkers had a free-kick in midfield, Liam Swaine put a good ball in to the near post, where Shields was waiting with a well-taken header to open the scoring.

Almost immediately, Adams skipped clear of the defence and lobbed Sandy keeper Adam Chesterton, but the ball went narrowly wide.

Following a short spell of Barker ascendancy, the home side now got careless. A game of pinball in the Barkers half saw the ball finally fall to Chris Leeming, in space about 20 yards out. He hit a lovely curling shot beyond the dive of Erik Deichen to equalise.

With just under half an hour to go, the home side produced the move of the match.

Mergs Topali, in attacking midfield, found Dube on the right wing. Some very neat interplay between the two ended with Dube crossing beautifully for Adams, whose deft glancing header gave Chesterton no chance – it will be surprising if Barkers score a better goal all year.

However, this brilliance was almost undone five minutes later, as a fine half-volley from Fitzpatrick brought a superb save from Deichen, diving low to his left.

The Barkers’ nerves were finally calmed when in stoppage time as Christoforou squared to Holly in space.

Alex Holly’s shot was stopped by Chesterton, but the substitute followed up and netted the rebound for his first senior goal to seal the win.

Barkers reserves also grabbed the three points with a 2-1 win, the goals coming from Keegan Coe and Trent Hardcastle.

EFL: Finding winning form is the common goal

DIVISION 3
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Boronia

Coach: Peter Bennett

Ins: Craig Folino (East Ringwood), Jess Moore (Ferntree Gully), Ryan Henderson, Lachlan Mckernan (both Vermont).

Outs: Dean Grice (Port Melbourne).

Chances: The Hawks will again shape as a premiership contender as long as they can put their best side on the field. Midfielder star Dean Grice is a major loss but Folino is as good a replacement as you could find. The Hawks will be competitive once again and with a young midfield could challenge for the flag. Moore is another key signing whose height will be valuable to the Hawks.

Heathmont

Coach: Steve Buckle

Ins: Michael Costello (Norwood).

Outs: David Want (Eastern Lions).

Chances: Heathmont will challenge sides in the division 3 despite it being their first season up. Expect a skilled, committed attack from the Jets, who will again look to stars Leigh Odermatt, Darren Sheen and Anthony Hickey to star.

Chirnside Park

Coach: Brett Davidson

Ins: Simon Fraser (Kyabram), Marcus Baxter (Lilydale), James Iacono (YVMDFL), Matt McNeil (break).

Outs: None.

Chances: Expect a much fitter and deeper Panthers side this season after Davidson spent the off-season building his side’s fitness. Fraser, Baxter and Iacono should all make the senior team better. Davidson said the Panthers’ depth from players six to 16 had improved significantly.

Coldstream

Coach: Matt Price

Ins: Jake Uslar (YVMDFL), Matt Lawrence (Lilydale).

Outs: None.

Chances: Club veteran Matt Price takes on the coaching reins this season and expects his club to push for a finals place. But with a young list, Price will also be patient and hope he can push his side towards a successful season. Lawrence and Uslar look likely to add quality to the Cougars’ midfield.

North Ringwood

Coach: Brett Moyle

Ins: Max Melzer (Balwyn), Tom Buckley (Bright), Josh Barrett (Lilydale).

Outs: Daniel Walls (retired).

Chances: The Saints expect to be thereabouts once again. Walls will be a loss after kicking more than 40 goals last season but Moyle expects Melzer to make an impact at division 3 level while Buckley and Barrett should add creativity and run to the Saints’ forward line.

Ringwood

Coach: Nick Tennant

Ins: Ryan Grinter (NFL).

Outs: Tom Gysberts (Kilsyth).

Chances: The Redbacks again want to press for a finals berth. Whether they get there remains to be seen but expect a young, skilled side in 2012. Grinter returns to the club from the Northern Football League.

Glen Waverley Hawks

Coach: Mick Gaul

Ins: Sam Zikman (Mulgrave), Karl Schoenmaekers (VAFA).

Outs: None.

Chances: With height up forward and strong ball-winners in midfield the Hawks won’t be pushovers.

Wantirna South

Coach: Matt Clarke

Ins: Chris Baker (Kilsyth), Harry Melzer (Balwyn), Jarryd Briscoe (Balwyn), Sam Bates (Nunawading).

Outs: David Edgcumbe (Vermont).

Chances: After two relegations Wantirna South is looking to happier days in 2012 and possibly a finals appearance. After pumping games into their teenage senior players last year, Clarke expects his side to be much stronger this term. Melzer and Briscoe should add much-needed muscle and experience to their midfield.

Templestowe, Warrandyte, Mitcham and Whitehorse Pioneers also play in division 3.

DIVISION 4

The Basin

Coach: Michael Glassborrow.

Ins: Clinton King (Keysborough), Clinton Jones (Vermont).

Outs: None.

Chances: The Basin was shattered to miss out in last year’s elimination final, so expect it to press hard for the finals although the finals race again looks tight.

Ferntree Gully

Coach: Bernie Ryan

Ins: Many.

Outs: Many.

Chances: New coach Ryan should have the Eagles up and about although he may need a season to get his side into line time before making a real push for the flag.

South Belgrave

Coach: Nick Cox

Ins: Dean Burnell (EDFL), Anthony Willenberg (Mulgrave), Marty De Luca (Mulgrave),

Outs: None.

Chances: Cox believes his side will start slower than last year as the Saints work towards playing their best football in the second half of the season leading into the finals. South Belgrave was heartbroken to miss out last year, so expect a more determined side in 2012. Willenberg and De Luca add size to their side while Burnell is tipped to make an impact and centurion goalkicker Lucas Appleby will go around again.

Park Orchards Sharks

Coach: Peter Nicholson

Ins: Everyone.

Outs: None.

Chances: Park Orchards has already notched a win over Ivanhoe Amateurs during the preseason and hope to add more victories to their maiden EFL campaign. Nicholson is pleased with his list but the realities of the first season could see the Sharks have some tough days.

Kilsyth

Coach: Simon Caldwell

Ins: Ton Gysberts (Ringwood), David Anderson (VAFA).

Outs: Chris Baker (Wantirna South), Adam Oxley, Jai Smith (both Wandin).

Chances: Kilsyth has focused on its young players in the off-season and will push its teenage talent into the seniors. Expect a young and exciting Cougars side. Caldwell said the spirit around the club has never been better. Hopefully, the results follow.

Silvan

Coach: Chris Goodlet

Ins: Ash Froud (Vermont), Jake Straughair (break), Bryce Litchfield (Lilydale).

Outs: None.

Chances: The Cats plan on becoming a premiership contender. With high-powered recruits like Froud and Litchfield and returning stars like captain Mark Cullen, expect them to go close. Health and fitness will be the key areas for the Cats. If they are healthy come finals time, look out. Nunawading, Forest Hill, Surrey Park, Eastern Lions and Canterbury also play in division 4.

EFL divisions 1 and 2 will be previewed next week.

Plan now to save Lysterfield Valley, council urged

KNOX Council needs to spend money now to save the Lysterfield Valley from development, the Knox Environment Society says.
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Society spokesman Darren Wallace said it was pleasing the council had decided to look at creating a green wedge management plan in response to community concerns and expectations.

“A strategic plan would be money well spent. There’ll always be competing demands at budget time but we need to make the expenditure on this plan now.”

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Several councillors have said a management plan should not be considered a priority for this year’s budget. Councillors Darren Pearce and Joe Cossari agreed the council’s 2012-13 budget would be extremely tight, with other things to take priority.

A report was noted at last week’s council meeting about the green wedge zone in the Lysterfield Valley, outlining the options to give land outside the urban growth boundary maximum protection from development.

The report also looked at the potential for a planning scheme amendment to rezone green wedge 2 land (four-hectare minimum lot size) to green wedge 1 zone (20-hectare minimum) to further protect the area.

A full strategic investigation into developing a management plan would cost about $50,000.

“We’ve got incredible budgetary pressures this year,” Cr Pearce said. “We can’t just up rates to accommodate it all, we need to find savings.”

He noted the carbon tax impact, operational issues and new preschool reforms as the reason for the tighter budget.

The minimum lot size was four hectares and owners “can’t just cut it up into quarter-acre blocks”.

However, Cr John Mortimore said the green wedge management plan was a priority and the council “cannot afford to take a risk with them [green wedges]”.

“You only get one chance to keep this land, so it’s important to protect the Lysterfield Valley.”

Knox boost forkinders

Still playing: Aiden, Julian and Jun at Riddell Road Kindergarten in Wantirna South. Picture: Rob CarewWHAT DO YOU THINK? SCROLL TO BELOW THIS STORY TO POST A COMMENT.
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KNOX Council says it ready to implement federal reforms that make it compulsory to offer access to 15 hours of four-year-old preschool every week.

The council last week endorsed two new session models for its kindergartens to introduce in January as part of Council of Australian Government reforms.

Federal Minister for Early Childhood Peter Garrett applauded the council’s effort to make room for the new rules without affecting any of its other services.

Mr Garrett said the federal reforms were based on the best possible advice from childcare experts. “All the experts tell us that a year of preschool before school is absolutely necessary .”

But many municipalities have expressed concern about the feasibility of implementing the new reforms without rate rises or affecting three-year-old preschool services.

Mr Garrett said Knox Council was “showing other councils how it should be done”. “It’s exciting to see a council like Knox get stuck into and serving the needs of the kids. They worked really hard to get the reform done.”

Across most Knox preschools, there will be two sessions types from which to choose – two seven-and-a-half-hour sessions a week or three five-hour sessions.

Council officers decided these were the most suitable models for Knox after a questionnaire was circulated to parents.

Mayor Adam Gill said community spirit would be needed in some circumstances, because there would be some changes.

Liberty Avenue Preschool now operates three four-year-old preschool groups, but only two groups will be offered once the reforms are introduced.

Some three-year-old services at West Gully Preschool may need to relocate to either Alexander Magit or Windermere preschools. The reforms to four-year-old preschool also means more staff would be required.

Cr Gill said there would be no changes to fees except for the usual CPI rises.

Obstacle cause

Fitness instructor Heather Morgan puts Tough Mudder entrants through their paces. Picture: Daryl GordonGetting burnt, frozen and shocked has never been popular. But now it’s something almost 20,000 Australians pay for. Daniel Tran discovers why men and women put their bodies on the line for challenges like Tough Mudder.
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Rod Currie doesn’t like a shock. But this weekend the Langwarrin resident will have no choice but to face 10,000 volts of electricity as he takes part in the Tough Mudder challenge on Phillip Island.

Believed to be one of the world’s toughest events, Tough Mudder is a 20 kilometre obstacle course in which participants navigate their way through a field of fire, muddy trenches, curtains of live wires and more than a dozen other hazards.

Developed by Harvard graduate Will Dean, the course has an average time of about three hours and only about 80 per cent of participants are able to finish.

The first Tough Mudder was held in 2010 and had 5000 participants, but since then the event has taken the world by storm.

In Australia, about 20,000 people have already signed up. The goal is not to get the best time, but to finish the course.

It’s hard to imagine why anyone would pay to have their senses assaulted by the elements, both natural and man-made. But for Currie, a Woolworths store manager in Glen Waverley, taking part in Tough Mudder is about making a positive change to his life.

‘‘For me personally, it’s turning my fitness levels around,’’ he says. ‘‘When I was younger, I used to be a lot fitter. I’ve let myself go. But this is the beginning of turning that around and just maintaining a good level of fitness.’’

In order to prepare himself for the gruelling event, Currie and his team of seven friends have been working with Heather Morgan from Seaford’s Health in Motion Fitness.

Twice a week the team gets together with Morgan, who puts them through their paces.

‘‘We’re all at various fitness levels. Most of us are a bit overweight and need to get fit. Heather’s been really good, she just knows what parts of the body to work and train to get certain goals. When we first started we could not run five kilometres or even think about it. But the body parts that she’s worked on has allowed us to build them up and lose weight. We’ve gone from running five kilometres now to running nearly 10 km,’’ he says.

Currie has already lost 15 kilograms and one of his team members has lost almost 20 kilograms.

‘‘If it was something we did individually, we probably wouldn’t have come as far as we have in such a short period of time. The team really drives you. You don’t want to let the other guys down.’’

Currie has no doubt the team will be finishing the course. ‘‘We’ve got determination,’’ he says.

‘‘The only part I’m worried about are the electrical wires. I think the rest of it — the ramps, the mud — we’ll get through. We’re a pretty tough group of blokes. If we get through this one, we’re also seriously considering the Sydney one in September and the Tough Mudder in Western Australia next year.”

But Kilsyth’s Jason Nichols is putting his body on the line for a much simpler reason. He just wants to see if he can do it.

‘‘It’s all about having a bit of fun and getting your teammates across the line,’’ he says.

Nichols, 41, runs the Sakura Karate Club and Tough Mudder will merely be a mental and physical test for him and his team.

‘‘We haven’t done anything like this before in terms of the obstacles and the running.

‘‘It’ll be true test of where we’re at,’’ he says.

‘‘Whether or not we do it in hours is another thing but I’m sure we’ll all get over the line at some stage.”

For Berwick’s Andrew Arnold, Tough Mudder is less about fitness and more about setting an example.

Arnold, 43, is a Cranbourne chiropractor. His entry into Tough Mudder is about being an example to his patients.

‘‘I talk about getting people to really strive, particularly when it comes to exercise and health. If I’m prepared to go there then I’ve got integrity when I ask people to do the same thing. I really wanted to show patients that I’m prepared to put my money were my mouth is.’’

Although Arnold has a strong background in fitness, he has also been turning up his training to prepare himself for the event. But even he is unsure that he’ll be able to complete every obstacle.

‘‘Some of the stuff is quite daunting, like going through a pipe submerged underwater. I’m going way beyond what I’ve ever done in the past.’’

Despite his apprehension, Arnold’s resolve is unwavering.

‘‘I think I should be ready to go. I could definitely do more but I think I’ll be ready. I’m going to be walking past the finish line.’’

Tough Mudder Melbourne is on March 31 and April 1.

Obstacle cause

Fitness instructor Heather Morgan puts Tough Mudder entrants through their paces. Picture: Daryl GordonGetting burnt, frozen and shocked has never been popular. But now it’s something almost 20,000 Australians pay for. Daniel Tran discovers why men and women put their bodies on the line for challenges like Tough Mudder.
Nanjing Night Net

Rod Currie doesn’t like a shock. But this weekend the Langwarrin resident will have no choice but to face 10,000 volts of electricity as he takes part in the Tough Mudder challenge on Phillip Island.

Believed to be one of the world’s toughest events, Tough Mudder is a 20 kilometre obstacle course in which participants navigate their way through a field of fire, muddy trenches, curtains of live wires and more than a dozen other hazards.

Developed by Harvard graduate Will Dean, the course has an average time of about three hours and only about 80 per cent of participants are able to finish.

The first Tough Mudder was held in 2010 and had 5000 participants, but since then the event has taken the world by storm.

In Australia, about 20,000 people have already signed up. The goal is not to get the best time, but to finish the course.

It’s hard to imagine why anyone would pay to have their senses assaulted by the elements, both natural and man-made. But for Currie, a Woolworths store manager in Glen Waverley, taking part in Tough Mudder is about making a positive change to his life.

‘‘For me personally, it’s turning my fitness levels around,’’ he says. ‘‘When I was younger, I used to be a lot fitter. I’ve let myself go. But this is the beginning of turning that around and just maintaining a good level of fitness.’’

In order to prepare himself for the gruelling event, Currie and his team of seven friends have been working with Heather Morgan from Seaford’s Health in Motion Fitness.

Twice a week the team gets together with Morgan, who puts them through their paces.

‘‘We’re all at various fitness levels. Most of us are a bit overweight and need to get fit. Heather’s been really good, she just knows what parts of the body to work and train to get certain goals. When we first started we could not run five kilometres or even think about it. But the body parts that she’s worked on has allowed us to build them up and lose weight. We’ve gone from running five kilometres now to running nearly 10 km,’’ he says.

Currie has already lost 15 kilograms and one of his team members has lost almost 20 kilograms.

‘‘If it was something we did individually, we probably wouldn’t have come as far as we have in such a short period of time. The team really drives you. You don’t want to let the other guys down.’’

Currie has no doubt the team will be finishing the course. ‘‘We’ve got determination,’’ he says.

‘‘The only part I’m worried about are the electrical wires. I think the rest of it — the ramps, the mud — we’ll get through. We’re a pretty tough group of blokes. If we get through this one, we’re also seriously considering the Sydney one in September and the Tough Mudder in Western Australia next year.”

But Kilsyth’s Jason Nichols is putting his body on the line for a much simpler reason. He just wants to see if he can do it.

‘‘It’s all about having a bit of fun and getting your teammates across the line,’’ he says.

Nichols, 41, runs the Sakura Karate Club and Tough Mudder will merely be a mental and physical test for him and his team.

‘‘We haven’t done anything like this before in terms of the obstacles and the running.

‘‘It’ll be true test of where we’re at,’’ he says.

‘‘Whether or not we do it in hours is another thing but I’m sure we’ll all get over the line at some stage.”

For Berwick’s Andrew Arnold, Tough Mudder is less about fitness and more about setting an example.

Arnold, 43, is a Cranbourne chiropractor. His entry into Tough Mudder is about being an example to his patients.

‘‘I talk about getting people to really strive, particularly when it comes to exercise and health. If I’m prepared to go there then I’ve got integrity when I ask people to do the same thing. I really wanted to show patients that I’m prepared to put my money were my mouth is.’’

Although Arnold has a strong background in fitness, he has also been turning up his training to prepare himself for the event. But even he is unsure that he’ll be able to complete every obstacle.

‘‘Some of the stuff is quite daunting, like going through a pipe submerged underwater. I’m going way beyond what I’ve ever done in the past.’’

Despite his apprehension, Arnold’s resolve is unwavering.

‘‘I think I should be ready to go. I could definitely do more but I think I’ll be ready. I’m going to be walking past the finish line.’’

Tough Mudder Melbourne is on March 31 and April 1.

VSDCA: Young and old unite for Bayswater flag

Off the legs: Bayswater’s Campbell Craigie plays a shot during the thirds grand final. Picture: Rob CarewYOUNG, old or otherwise – Bayswater thirds claimed a memorable premiership in their Victorian Sub District Cricket Association south-east grand final on Sunday.
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The Waters beat Elsternwick by 141 runs at Bayswater Oval and captain John Salter praised his side’s commitment and contribution to the victory with the team made up of veterans like 53-year-old Salter, along with six teenagers.

Two performances stood out from the rest as middle-order batsman Adam Watt made a stunning 125 in the first innings and medium-pacer Liam Thomas took 5-25 from 21 overs on day two to lead his side to victory.

Salter paid tribute to his whole side for their efforts during the finals along with the impressive efforts of Watt and Thomas.

“Watt didn’t play from Christmas through to February because he had work commitments in Western Australia,” Salter said.

“He got back just in time for the last game of the season and then the finals. He has looked like getting a big score but hadn’t done it yet, he certainly picked the right day.”

Watt formed a key partnership with Campbell Craigie (46) and Salter (65) scored some key runs early in the innings.

“Craigie batted with him for a long time,” Salter said. “I told the boys after the game that everyone in the team had contributed something worthwhile in the finals series.”

Salter said Thomas had returned to the Waters this season after a couple of seasons playing local cricket.

“Elsternwick got off to a good start at 2-57 then Thomas got a a couple of wickets in a couple of overs,” he said.

“He knocked over their two most important batsmen and he had a lot of bowling to do as we have limits on how much we can use our younger bowlers where he doesn’t have that restriction.”

The premiership was Salter’s first in 16 years with the Waters.

Salter said his premiership players had a bright future ahead of them after the majority of the sides’ younger players had a game in the second side during this season.

“I would be surprised if they don’t play a fair bit of seconds cricket next year,” he said. “The biggest thing is hanging onto them, hopefully they all stay with their mates and move into the higher sides.”

Metcard off the rails

METCARD ticket machines on the Belgrave and Lilydale train lines will begin to be switched off from next month, the Transport Ticketing Authority has announced.
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Machines at Bayswater, Boronia, Ferntree Gully, Upper Ferntree Gully, Upwey, Tecoma, Mooroolbark and Heathmont will be turned off from Monday, April 9.

Machines at Box Hill, Blackburn, Nunawading, Mitcham, Heatherdale, Lilydale and Belgrave will follow on April 16.

Not all commuters the Weekly spoke to this week are ready for the changeover.

Angela, 25, said she only used public transport once a month and had no plans to purchase a myki card. “I’ll probably just catch public transport only when I can be bothered now.”

Another passenger said removing the ticket machines was not a good idea because if the myki system was ever inoperative, a ticket would still need to be purchased.

Another regular train commuter, who started using a myki card before Christmas, said she was taught how to use the card by helpful staff at Heathmont station, but was concerned how the elderly would adapt.

“It takes a bit of time to learn how to use, and the elderly especially may get confused when there’s nowhere to purchase a Metcard any more.”

Public Transport Users Association outer east convener Jeremy Lunn said yesterday the switch-off was likely to confuse commuters. “There hasn’t been a lot of information about the switch-off so many people won’t be aware.”

He said people who didn’t use public transport regularly would get a shock when they turned up at a station. “Now there will be absolutely no option to buy short-term tickets. The only way to travel will be if you have a myki card.”

A full-fare myki pass costs $6, concession $3. Passengers can then top up with the desired amount needed to buy a ticket.

Myki cards can be purchased from train stations, 7-Eleven stores, myki南京夜网.au or by calling 136 954.

Mental health line closure ‘a blow’

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KNOX’S mental health resources will be stretched further by the state government’s decision to close Victoria’s only dedicated 24-hour mental health line, a leading outer east health service claims.

Eastern Ranges GP Association chief executive officer Kristin Michaels said the organisation was disappointed with the government’s decision to close the Mental Health Advice Line.

“There are real access issues for those in the east. They live so far out they can’t physically get to a clinic so the phone line was a good option,” she said.

The line closed on Monday night last week after almost two years in operation because it had not “met expectations”.

Regular callers to the line will now hear a message asking them to contact Nurse-on-Call (1300 606 024), visit the health department’s website or call triple-0.

Figures from the Department of Health in 2010 showed that Victoria’s south and eastern suburbs – including Knox, Maroondah and Yarra Ranges – recorded the second highest number of calls at 22 per cent.

In January last year, the line received about 1117 calls, more than a third of which needed urgent attention.

But the service has been branded a disappointment by the government.

“The Mental Health Advice Line has not met expectations since it started in 2009,” a spokesman for Mental Health Minister Mary Woolridge said.

“Discontinuing the service will help reduce the confusion in the community around the number of telephone lines people can call.”

Ms Michaels said her association had received positive feedback about the advice line and the service was often used by GPs as a secondary consultation.

The service often made a “significant difference” when additional support for mental health patients was needed. “Mental health is not well supported, funded or organised.”