Morris deserves time to prove Origin fitness, says Timmins

Battle-hardened former NSW utility Shaun Timmins has urged Laurie Daley not to discard Brett Morris from Origin calculations – even if he doesn’t prove his fitness for the Dragons on Saturday night.
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Morris’ comeback from a knee injury gathered pace this week, with the Australian winger set to return for St George Illawarra against the Panthers at WIN Jubilee Oval.

The 26-year-old wasn’t named in the Dragons side earlier this week.

Morris’ fitness has provided a headache for Blues coach Daley, who will name his squad for game one on Sunday night.

Blake Ferguson is believed to have sewn up one wing spot, with Souths flyer Nathan Merritt tipped to shade Newcastle’s Akuila Uate for the other if Morris is not considered.

Quizzed on whether he thought Morris deserves some selection latitude even if he failed to play against the Panthers, Timmins said: ”He probably does.

”That’s probably why Laurie is going to consider him.

”If he doesn’t play, he still may be a chance. He deserves his spot and he was an Australian winger earlier in the year and he’s the incumbent No.1 winger.

”If he’s [close to] 100 per cent fit and still can’t play [on Saturday] I think you still have to consider him.”

Timmins battled a chronic problem with his knees throughout his career, but still managed to play nine games for NSW between 2000-04.

He famously booted a match-winning golden point field goal in game one of the 2004 series, which NSW went on to win 2-1.

But Timmins said Morris would need to train for the majority of the 10-day build-up to the June 5 opener if Daley was to gamble on the fitness of the prolific finisher.

”You love to go into those games 100 per cent fit because it’s the toughest game there is and you can see how quick and hard they are,” Timmins said.

”You don’t want to go in underdone because you can get found out. They do like you to train in camp as much as you can to try to get a bit of teamwork happening.

”I used to sit out Origin training. They were pretty good with me early on in the week as I wouldn’t train much towards the end of my career as I tried to stay off my knees a bit.

”I’m sure Brett’s racing the clock to try to get himself right to make the side and I’d say he’d be the first one picked,” he said.

Dragons coach Steve Price described Morris as a ”day-to-day proposition”, with last week’s two-try hero Daniel Vidot set to vacate the left wing if the Kiama junior is passed fit for the Red V.

Veteran centre Matt Cooper (toe) and recently re-signed hooker Mitch Rein (ankle) were both named in the Dragons side after sitting out the 32-12 win over Parramatta last week.

Twitter – @app85

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Pass the Sugar: Pig-headed striker stokes tensions after prank

THE WRAP
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Te’o tests NRL integrity unit … Parramatta Stadium set for upgrade … Warner Twit for six … Deans snubs Quade … Holger calls for Dad’s Army.

NO IRISH JOKE THIS TIME

Stoke City striker Kenwyne Jones was on the receiving end of a practical joke last week when he discovered a severed pig’s head in his locker and he was quick to seek revenge. Though, it was aimed at the wrong person. Jones reacted with fury and haste when he thought his Irish teammate Glen Whelan was responsible for the joke and responded by smashing the windscreen of his car. Jones was left red-faced when he realised Whelan was not involved in the pig’s head debacle and was forced to make a rather embarrassing public apology. ”For all the people that think that the pig’s head wrapped in my clothes was banter, great, so is the broken window. I’ve apologised to Glenn Whelan for the destruction of his property. As far as tension in the squad there’s none – myself and Whelan had our thrash-out and he said it wasn’t him so I apologised and I’m paying for it,” Jones said. The original prankster remains at large.

FORGETTABLE PLAY

Memphis Grizzlies Jerryd Bayless had a performance to forget against San Antonio Spurs in game one of their NBA Western Conference play-off, so much so even his coach forgot his name. Whether it was fatigue or frustration, Lionel Hollins couldn’t remember the name of his point guard during the live media conference. After a long pause and a few awkward facial expressions, Hollins eventually found it after searching through the score sheet.

TEETH PULLED

There’s been a foul taste in the mouth of supporters of bottom-placed Argentine club Argentinos Juniors and it seems only natural that they would want to share that with their coach. After their 3-1 loss to Belgrano, fans began calling coach Ricardo Caruso Lombardi ”toothless” and one outraged elderly supporter threw his dentures at the under-performing coach. The senior supporter had a perfect aim as his false teeth landed squarely on Lombardi and captured the attention of the camera crews. After one supporter displaying a more literal interpretation of the insults of ”toothless”, Caruso Lombardi’s defiant statement in response may not have been the wisest. ”If we have to go we’ll do it with our head held high. They’ll have to take this team away in an ambulance.”

FOLLOW THE RABBIT

Perhaps this dog was trained too well. A challenging greyhound, Bocca, in race five at Richmond on Wednesday night had a strong eye for the bunny and that proved to be a disaster when a real rabbit appeared on the side of the track.

Bocca bolted off-course and derailed a few other runners on its pursuit for the real deal.

IF YOU’RE NOT WATCHING SPORT, YOU SHOULD BE LISTENING TO …

Trouble Will Find Me. The National. It’s The National, what more do you need to know? After listening to this, why not make a weekend of it and get out High Violet and recreate their performance at MOMA PS1 in New York where they played Sorrow 108 times (including an encore) over six hours. @EarsMcEvoy

IT’S NOT A MONKEY RIDING A GREYHOUND, BUT YOU’LL LIKE IT …

Ever wanted to rock climb but too afraid to crease your shirt? Perhaps you should try extreme ironing. The English activity gives ”the thrill of danger with the satisfaction of a pressed shirt”. Whether it’s kayaking, canyoning, rock climbing, abseiling or skydiving, thrillseekers are bringing their iron and board along for the ride. Search: Extreme ironing.

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The new key workers? City rents tear apart young creatives of Bellevue Hill ‘farm’

The parquetry floor had survived, and the chandeliers still dangled from the ceilings. But the otherwise ramshackle share house in Bellevue Hill had a different kind of splendour for the 15 or so residents who called it home on and off for the past five years.
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”We always had heaps of animals around, we were growing things, gardening and painting and playing music,” Caroline Sundt-Wels, a former resident, says. ”It was beautiful.”

With several bedrooms, including a converted hut in the overgrown yard, rent of $500 a week worked out cheap for the flatmates in the female-dominated home its tenants affectionately called ”Tit Farm”.

Sundt-Wels, 28, a fashion designer, musician and freelance art director, was one of the several young painters, designers, musicians and photographers who found a kind of affordable haven in the old house from 2008 until its owners began a long-planned rebuild this week.

Now, the women have scattered and ”they’re all paying nearly triple the rent they were”, Sundt-Wels says. She has found a sub-let, but it will only last three months. For most, creative work has again been pushed aside for paying jobs.

It’s a problem faced by aspiring young creative people across the city: how to afford to pursue an artistic career in Sydney, rated this year by The Economist as the world’s third-most expensive city after Tokyo and Osaka?

The City of Sydney is proposing one answer. The council is pushing to have artists included in the definition of ”key workers” – a category traditionally limited to low-income public sector workers who provide essential city services such as police, nurses, teachers and paramedics. The change would make artists eligible to apply for the limited supply of affordable housing set aside for key workers.

”There’s all kinds of workers that a city needs, and not all of them will earn $100,000 a year but they are still crucial to city infrastructure and city liveability,” Rachel Healy, who runs the council’s cultural policy, says. Even established artists often earn well below the average wage, and ”there’s a strong view that artists should be recognised as key workers”.

While all young people are hit by the high cost of housing in Sydney, there are strong economic and cultural arguments to help early-career creative artists to stay in the city, Healy says.

The creative industries contribute $8.2 billion to the city economy, and the sector is growing faster than all other industries, according to a recent state government draft report.

Creative people contribute much to the liveability of a city, and that cultural overlay helps attract mobile, educated graduates from all industries, Healy says. If creatives are priced out of the city, ”the overall experience of Sydney is profoundly compromised,” she says. ”It’s a very different kind of problem than, ‘Oh well, it’s just a bit sad that it’s only the lawyers and accountants live here’.”

The idea has the backing of Homelessness NSW. CEO Gary Moore said ”young artists … should be part of the mix of low-wage key employees that are targeted for possible affordable housing schemes”.

There are small council-led initiatives, such as the provision of subsidised living-work spaces on council property for artists in East Sydney planned for later this year, and Marrickville’s recent rezoning of industrial warehouses in St Peters to allow artists to live and work there.

But the City is also considering a proposal received from a young artist to establish housing co-operatives for early-career artists, like student housing co-operatives run by universities. The City’s finalised Cultural Policy will be released in the next few months.

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Festival fans miss out as Womack cancels on opening night

Last minute health issues forced the Vivid Live festival to cancel a performance on its opening night. One of the festival’s major attractions, soul veteran Bobby Womack, withdrew from Friday evening’s first of two performances ”due to health reasons” according to a statement from the Sydney Opera House.
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No details were given of these health reasons, though the statement said that the move to cancel the show was ”as a precaution” and the second show, on Saturday, was still expected to go ahead.

Refunds were promised for all Friday tickets and the Opera House was encouraging disappointed fans to book for the Saturday show, where tickets were still available. Meanwhile, Vivid Live proceeded with the festival’s big ticket item, the first of eight shows over four nights by German electronic pioneers Kraftwerk.

Vivid Sydney, now in its fifth year, is made up of music, lights and ”ideas” – arts and culture debates and lectures, and installation artworks from Darling Harbour to the Rocks, on the Harbour Bridge and, as the centrepiece, on the sails of the Opera House.

Darlington company Spinifex created the key artwork, entitled Play, which was projected on the sails on Friday night from 6pm. Play’s creative director, Richard Lindsay, said it was ”inspired by Sydney’s fun side”.

The imagery featured cameos from the Luna Park face and the Sharpie’s Golf House sign that used to sit above the Elizabeth Street store, all with a hint of Kings Cross neon and a dash of Mardi Gras.

Meanwhile, in Melbourne…

Difficult territory is a cornerstone of the visual arts – so Mikala Dwyer knew it would be confronting when she invited BalletLab dancers to empty their bowels as part of a performance at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art on Friday night.

The two-hour act involved six dancers moving around a room before sitting on transparent stools and performing – if moved to do so – what is usually one of our most private and rarely discussed daily acts.

Dwyer said she hoped the one-off performance  would inspire visitors to think  about something we have been socialised to consider dirty and have historically hidden from view, so they may  in turn, transform other institutionalised ideas about the world.

As Dwyer said, this is humanity’s most democratic act: from royalty and supermodels to a newborn baby, we all participate. “Shit has a great truth to it,” she said.

Andrew Stephens

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CA warned of need for robust integrity

Former AFL executive Adrian Anderson has briefed state cricket associations on the need for a robust national approach to anti-corruption, telling them one global betting exchange turns over a billion dollars a year on Australian cricket.
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Anderson, who is conducting a review of Cricket Australia’s integrity and disciplinary systems, estimated that 60 per cent of that is from the Big Bash League, and much of it through offshore accounts.

The former chief of football operations for the AFL recently updated the states on his progress, and used figures from one betting agency to illustrate the scale of legal, regulated betting on Australian cricket, and the need for strong integrity systems around international and domestic competitions.

CA estimates that its income from sports betting, through integrity agreements with 25 operators, comes to less than $500,000 a year. These arrangements also give the sport access to information and the power to veto certain exotic bets.

CA chief James Sutherland said he was ”as confident as we can be” in the integrity of the BBL, which is monitored by an Australian anti-corruption unit. Still, senior officials recognise that the league is telecast live into the subcontinent, which has a vast illegal betting industry.

The spot-fixing scandal engulfing the Indian Premier League has served as a stark reminder of the vulnerability of domestic Twenty20 leagues.

The scope of Indian police investigations has reportedly widened to include Pakistani umpire Asad Rauf, who is on the International Cricket Council’s elite panel of umpires.

The ICC withdrew Rauf from the coming Champions Trophy in England following Indian media reports that indicated he was under investigation by Mumbai police.

”In the wake of reports that the Mumbai Police are conducting an investigation into Asad Rauf’s activities, we feel that it is in Asad’s best interests as well as those of the sport and the event itself, that he is withdrawn from participating in the ICC Champions Trophy,” Dave Richardson, the ICC chief executive said.

The ICC did not mention what the Mumbai Police were reportedly investigating Rauf for, and declined to elaborate. Rauf has been in India, working in the IPL, and the Pakistan Cricket Board said it had ”no role to play” in the matter.

The announcement came a week after three Rajasthan Royals cricketers, including former Test fast bowler Shanthakumaran Sreesanth, were arrested and accused of agreeing to concede a predetermined number of runs from ”fixed” overs in exchange for tens of thousands of dollars during the IPL.

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