In a win for old-fashioned paper books, new research has found children with access to a range of e-reading devices are less likely to read.
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The findings will serve as a wake-up call for parents, and schools, which have rushed to buy expensive devices to boost children’s literacy.

Giving children devices such as Kindles, iPads, computers and mobile phones inhibits reading, according to the study.

“Reading frequency was less when children had access to a greater range of these devices,” the research said.

Mobile phones were particularly problematic, and linked to reading infrequency.

Murdoch University lecturer Margaret Merga said her research, which was published in the Computers and Education journal, challenges the myth that children are digital natives who prefer screens.

It found that daily readers who had access to e-reading devices preferred paper books.

“There has been a knee jerk reaction that all children prefer to read on screens and that has led to school libraries removing all paper books,” she said. “That is not necessarily the case.”

Why do young people prefer paper books?

Previous research by Dr Merga suggests that it comes down to children liking the sensation of picking up a book and “feeling the weight of commitment”.

She suspects young people are also judging books by their covers, making the paper variety more attractive.

There’s also the benefit of fewer distractions.

“Reading on internet search enabled devices, such as tablets, also opens up easy opportunity for distraction, allowing engagement in the practice of media multi-tasking, which has been found to detrimentally impact on student comprehension and concentration,” the study said.

Nine-year-old Benji Mazzone said he prefers paper books because he likes turning pages and “being taken somewhere else”.

He reads one to two books a week and can be found browsing the shelves of the Little Bookroom in Carlton North most nights after school. He writes reviews for the children’s bookshop, and helps staff wrap up presents.

With the help of his mum, he set up his own book club last year, where he discussed the popular Tinklers Three series with his friends.

“I’m a bit of a bookworm,” he said. “I read for two hours a day – I do some in the morning and after school.”

Ten-year-old Madeleine Hayen, from Annandale, has mixed views on the merits of paper and electronic reading.

“I don’t mind what I read as long as it’s interesting,” Madeleine said. “I reckon I’ve got over 200 books on my bookcase.”

The Year 5 student goes to Glebe Library once a week with her grandparents to pick up a new batch of books.

“I used to read a lot of books and stuff, but ever since I found Kindles, I kind of enjoy that more because it’s a lot lighter and easier to take around with me. When I go to school in the morning I can just read and it’s a lot easier to use,” Madeleine said.

“When you read paperbacks and hardcover books, you can actually see the pictures which informs you a lot about what the story is trying to say.”

The study involved 997 Western Australian students in years 4 and 6 who were asked how often they read books in their spare time, whether they owned iPads, Kindles or mobile phones and whether they used them to read.

It coincides with the increased take up of e-books in Australian schools, with an estimated 34 per cent of schools purchasing e-books in 2015 compared to 28 per cent in 2013, according to The Australian and New Zealand School Library Survey.

Bring Your Own Device policies have also made it easier for students to access e-books.

Dr Merga said parents had been put in a difficult position and were targeted by aggressive marketing which suggested that technology improved children’s intelligence.

She said there was no scientific evidence to support this.

The research follows a 2015 OECD report which found that investing in computers and iPads in schools fails to boost numeracy and literacy skills. The OECD report went even further, saying that frequent use of computers in schools was often associated with lower results.

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EMBARGOED UNTIL 15TH MARCH 2017. Sally McManus will be the first female secretary of the ACTU. Photographed here in the banner room at Sussex street HQ. Thursday 2nd March 2017 SMH photo Louie Douvis . Photo: Louie Douvis
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ACTU secretary Sally McManus has admitted she made an error when she accused building company Grocon of “killing workers”, but continued to defend her stand against unfair industrial laws.

During an interview on the ABC’s 7.30 Report last week, Ms McManus said Grocon was fined $300,000 for “killing” five workers.

“While it was not accurate to say ‘Grocon was fined $300,000 for killing five workers’, it is accurate to point out that the huge discrepancy in fines paid by the company and the CFMEU is a glaring example of the inherent unfairness in our industrial relations laws,” Ms McManus said.

In a statement issued on Monday night, Ms McManus said Grocon did not have the best record for workplace safety.

The March 2013 collapse of a wall on a Swanston Street construction site in Melbourne led to the death of three passers-by. The incident followed the death of a construction worker on a nearby Grocon site the previous month.

It was convicted and ordered to pay a fine of $250,000 – less than a quarter of the maximum available penalty.

“This compares with the almost $4 million in fines levied on the CFMEU over a similar timeframe for protesting Grocon’s record and taking action to stand up for worker safety on construction sites,” Ms McManus said.

Grocon issued a statement on Friday saying it did not deny tragic deaths had occurred on its sites, but insisting it had not caused them.

“Findings on the public record are that Grocon has not caused the death of any individual,” a company statement said.

“It is beholden on Ms McManus to publicly correct her statement and Grocon will be writing to her seeking this correction.”

The company said the Victorian Coroner’s Court confirmed in 2014 there were no workplace safety issues involved in the death of a crane driver, William Ramsay, on Grocon’s Emporium building site in February, 2013.

It said WorkSafe had also confirmed Grocon’s conduct did not cause a wall to collapse on a Swanston Street footpath, killing three people. However, the Swanston Street case did see a Grocon subsidiary fined $250,000 after it pleaded guilty to failing to ensure a safe workplace.

Ms McManus sparked controversy when she told the ABC on Wednesday that she believed in the rule of law “where the law’s fair, where the law’s right, but when it’s unjust, I don’t think there’s a problem with breaking it”.

Unions have thrown their support behind Ms McManus by challenging the fairness of industrial laws that outlaw strike action to achieve better pay and conditions.

The Coalition has strongly criticised the ACTU secretary as a law unto herself in promoting unlawful conduct.

The Labor Party has also opposed breaking the law, saying it is better for parliamentarians to work towards changing unfair legislation.

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Up to half a dozen players could make their debuts for Carlton on Thursday night, as the Blues’ rebuild begins to take shape against old rivals Richmond at the MCG.

And young gun Patrick Cripps has won his battle with injury and will play in the AFL season opener.

After an off-season during which the dramatic reshape of the club’s list been scrutinised, the Blues hope the next generation of Carlton players can cause a major upset by knocking off the Tigers in front of a massive crowd.

Former GWS players Caleb Marchbank, Jarrod Pickett and Rhys Palmer will all play barring any training mishaps, while former Cat Billie Smedts has cemented his spot in Carlton’s best 22.

The 21-year-old Cripps looked a long shot to take the field for round one after being diagnosed in late November with a stress reaction in his lower back.

The injury required a 12-week rehabilitation, which severely hampered the bullocking midfielder’s preparation.

But Cripps was able to feature in the past two games of the pre-season series to convince medical staff of his fitness.

“I can confirm that Patrick Cripps has got through and is ready to play for us (against Richmond),” coach Brendon Bolton told Fox Sports News on Monday.

“We’re rapt with the work that he’s done and the conditioning staff to have him up and ready to play.

“He’s terrific for us in and around stoppages, we know he wins the contested footy and he’ll be important for us on Thursday night.”

Harrison Macreadie – who also has ties to the Giants after being part of their academy – is also in the frame.

His selection will largely depend on whether Bolton wants the flexibility to throw Jacob Weitering forward.

New draftees Cameron Polson and Zac Fisher remain in contention, but they are considered less likely to debut.

While the Blues would like to settle Weitering in defence, where they see him playing the majority of his career, they are also aware of their inability to score freely.

The Blues are likely to start with Levi Casboult, whose struggles in front of goal have been well-documented, up forward along with second-year players Charlie Curnow and Jack Silvagni.

If that combination isn’t potent enough, Bolton would like to be able to throw Weitering into attack as he did at times in 2016.

A bumper crowd of more than 70,000 is expected at the MCG for Thursday’s season opener, which is a Carlton home game.

That would be a strong start to the opening round, with the AFL hoping to break the record attendance for a single round by surpassing the 400,000 mark.

While there have been doubts as to whether two sides that didn’t make the eight last year can draw such a big crowd, both Carlton and the AFL are confident the figure will be reached.

More than 75,000 were at the corresponding match last season, which saw a wasteful Carlton lose by nine points.

In 2015, 83,493 turned out to see the Tigers down the Blues by 27 points.

Carlton haven’t beaten Richmond in round one since 2012, when captain Marc Murphy amassed 32 disposals and Matthew Kreuzer earned three brownlow votes.

Murphy will lead his side out on Thursday night for the first time since injuring his ankle against Geelong nearly 10 months ago, and the Blues will be desperate for Kreuzer to return to dominant form.

While a fully fit Marchbank has been earmarked for Carlton’s best 22 since making the move from GWS, Pickett has been a pleasant surprise to many at Ikon Park.

The number four pick in the 2014 draft missed last year with a foot injury, after an impressive first season yielded 26 goals in 17 NEAFL games.

The West Australian speedster was in solid form during the JLT series, before kicking three goals in the final hit-out against Fremantle.

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Images for Lindsay Murdoch piece on elections in Timor-LesteLocation: Farol, Dili, Timor-LesteDate shot: March 20th 2017Wayne LovellPH: +(670) 7723 4614email: [email protected]南京桑拿Web: http://waynelovell.photoshelter南京桑拿/index Photo: Wayne LovellDili: East Timorese leader Jose Ramos Horta has lashed out at what he calls “outrageous” claims before an Australian parliamentary committee that his country could be heading towards becoming a failed state.

“What fly-in, fly-out so-called instant experts on East Timor claim is outrageous ??? it’s just nonsense,” Dr Ramos Horta, a Nobel laureate and East Timor’s former president and prime minister, told Fairfax Media.

“It’s either ignorance or malice,” he said, adding: “I’m sorry. I don’t pay much attention to these so-called academics.”

Rebecca Strating, a lecturer at Victoria’s La Trobe University, told parliament’s treaties committee on 14 March it could “very well be” that East Timor is the “architect of its own demise” and there are indications that like a number of fragile resource-wealthy post-conflict states, the country is “resource cursed”.

She said a window on developing the $US40 billion Greater Sunrise oil and gas field in the Timor Sea has “partially” closed because of lower gas prices and a long-running dispute with Australia over how to develop it.

“There are elections this year ??? a change of government or a change in personalities might produce a government that is willing to think a little more laterally or flexibly around the interests in the Timor Sea,” Dr Strating said.

“But since 2012 it seems to me that this pursuit of independence may actually create a failed state in Timor-Leste [East Timor],” she said.

In response, Hansard records the chair of the committee telling Dr Strating “tremendous ??? most enlightening. ‘The architect of their own demise’ is my favourite statement of the day.”

Speaking after East Timorese voted at presidential elections on Monday, Dr Ramos Horta said his country’s sovereign wealth fund has $US16 billion to $US17 billion invested around the world and is spending some of it to develop badly needed infrastructure.

He said the government in Dili is talking with a consortium led by ConocoPhillips to resurrect shelved plans to develop Greater Sunrise before negotiations with Australia on sea borders are completed by a September deadline.

“I would say there is a very good chance that Greater Sunrise will be developed,” he said. “How, I don’t know. I am not involved.”

East Timor’s independence hero and political powerbroker Xanana Gusmao has demanded gas from the field be piped to a proposed $US1.4 billion industrial complex on the country’s remote southern coast.

The ConocoPhillips consortium wants the gas to be extracted through a floating platform or to an existing refinery in Darwin.

Francisco “Lu-Olo” Guterres, who is set to become East Timor’s next president, has also told Fairfax Media there are now “better prospects” for developing Greater Sunrise, which would deliver billions of dollars in revenue to his country.

But Clive Schofield, director of research at the Australian National Centre for Ocean Research and Security, told the parliamentary committee that at current gas prices it is “not entirely likely” that a commercial decision would be made to develop Greater Sunrise.

“We have low oil and gas prices. I suspect the asset, as it were, will be put on the shelf until such a time as gas prices in particular rise sufficiently to make it viable,” he said.

Asked about Dr Ramos Horta’s comments, Dr Strating said she wanted to clarify that she does not think East Timor is “necessarily” heading towards becoming a failed state – only that this is possible if an agreement is not reached before oil revenues from an existing oil and gas field and the sovereign wealth fund run out.

“This is why it is so vital for Australia and Timor-Leste to find a hasty compromise [on Greater Sunrise],” Dr Strating said.

“Timor-Leste only has five years until the oil revenues are gone. The revenues provide over 90 per cent of the state budget,” she said. “If Timor-Leste does not have a source of income to provide for state budgets it is very possible that it will become dependent on aid.”

Dr Strating said multiple reports had predicted the sovereign fund could be depleted within a decade.

She said her comments were not made out of malice but for concern about what happens if East Timor and Australia are unable to reach an “expedient” agreement on Greater Sunrise.

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Washington: It was another extraordinary day in Washington.

There was the first formal revelation that the FBI is investigating possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign; and there was a new benchmark in fact-checking – the President’s real-time tweets were being checked with intelligence chiefs even as they continued to testify before the House Intelligence Committee.

But as the committee began drilling down into Russian meddling in last year’s presidential election campaign and Trump’s more recent charge that former president Barack Obama had wiretapped Trump Tower, another extraordinary thought hung in the ether – for all the pride Americans take in the checks and balances of their political process, there are no brakes on this President.

FBI director James Comey had little to say on the inner workings of his agency’s Kremlin-Trump probe and he would not divulge the names of any Trump associates in his sights. But though his words were few, Comey spoke volumes on Trump’s wiretap allegation against his predecessor: it didn’t happen.

“I have no information that supports those tweets,” Comey said of a March 4 twitterstorm in which Trump levelled the wiretapping charge at Obama, “[and] we’ve looked carefully inside the FBI.”

And before any of the panel could argue that he spoke only for the FBI, Comey added that he had been asked by the Justice Department, which does much of the legal work to approve surveillance operations, to inform the committee that it too had no such information.

The FBI boss didn’t actually utter the word, but he pretty well called his President a liar.

Trump’s fake news claims are bumped aside by a more disturbing reality: Americans are led by a President whose own intelligence agencies are investigating foreign intervention in the election by which he came to office, and whether or not his campaign was complicit.

Comey’s was the latest in a series of authoritative rejections of Trump’s wiretapping allegation – some from his own Republican Party colleagues.

But despite calls from a couple of Republicans for him to apologise to Obama, Trump has talked up his charge while, at the same time, qualifying it. White House spokesman Sean Spicer claimed, at one stage, that Trump had put quote marks on the word wiretap in the tweet, which should have conveyed that it was a shorthand for a range of surveillance techniques.

But the bigger story here is the Kremlin’s intervention, which the US intelligence agencies have concluded was a deliberate bid by Moscow to give Trump a leg-up.

As Trump lunges from one outrageous tweet to the next, it’s not only foreigners who scratch their heads while wondering about an absence of accountability.

“On paper we have limits on power,” Chris Edelson, a scholar on government at American University, told Fairfax Media, “but it’s not automatic. And the reason it’s not working is because Republicans in Congress are not asking questions.

“Right now we don’t have a fully-functioning constitutional democracy. The courts and state governments can do some of the work, but it’s really difficult when Congress doesn’t hold to its oversight role.”

There was evidence of that in Monday’s hearing. In the course of more than five hours of questioning, GOP members were fixated more on running to ground those responsible for leaks that embarrass Trump than they were about getting to the bottom of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

And along the way, this remarkable 21st-century moment: while members of Congress grill intelligence chiefs, the President, hunkered at the White House, is tweeting his take on their testimony in real time, and congressmen are reading Trump’s tweets back to the intel chiefs to see if they agree.

Connecticut Democrat Jim Himes read a tweet in which Trump claimed that Comey and Rogers had testified “that Russia did not influence electoral process” – an issue dear to the President’s heart because it affirms his legitimacy.

Comey: “I haven’t been following anybody on Twitter while I’ve been sitting here.”

Himes: “This tweet has gone out to millions of Americans, 16.1million to be exact – is that accurate?”

Comey: “We’ve offered no opinion, have no view … on potential impact, because it’s not something that we’ve looked at … It certainly wasn’t our intention to say that today because we don’t have any information on that subject. And it wasn’t something that was looked at.”

Comey testified jointly with National Security Agency director Michael Rogers, and both officials warned that Russian meddling was likely to be a feature of future election campaigns.

“They’ll be back in 2020. They may be back in 2018,” Comey said. “One of the lessons they may draw from this is that they were successful, introducing chaos and discord [to the campaign]. It’s possible they’re misreading that as ‘it worked, so we’ll come back and hit them again in 2020’.”

With some analysts speculating that the FBI’s Russia inquiry could hang over the Trump White House for years rather than months, a new reality appears to be dawning on Republicans.

Pleading for Comey to release as soon as possible information that might clear a half-dozen Trump associates who have been named in media reports, Intelligence Committee Chairman and Trump loyalist Devin Nunes identified a dark reality after just two months of the 45th President’s tenure:

“There’s a big grey cloud that you’ve now put over people who have very important work to do to lead this country, and so the faster that you can get to the bottom of this, it’s going to be better for all Americans,” he said.

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THE NRL’s decision to levy fines totalling $350,000 against theNewcastle Knights, St George Illawarra and the Gold Coast Titans may well mark a turning point in the code’s handling of head knocks and concussion.

Concern for player welfare has been an escalating issue for more than a decade, and injuries to a number of high-profile players have resulted in a series of rule changes.

In recent seasons, the NRL has introduced successively more stringent guidelines when it comes to concussion. Even so, there are some, including the Fairfax Media commentator and former Wallaby forward Peter FitzSimons, who believe that much more needs tobe done to protect players from the long-term dangers of playing on after hard hits to the head.

With retired Knights winger James McManus pressing ahead with a Supreme Court negligence claim against the Newcastle club, the NRL must expect to face tougher scrutiny of the way concussion incidents arehandled from round to round.

McManus grew up playing rugby league in the Northern Territory and made his first grade debut for the Knights in 2007, having joined the club in 2003. He claims the club breached its duty of care to him in a series of incidents from 2012 to 2015.

The Knights have until June 9 to file their defence.

In simple terms, the McManus case will focus on the nexus between two competing principles. On one hand, rugby league can be viewed as an inherently dangerous pursuit. The relevant state legislation, the Civil Liability Act 2002, recognises this by limiting the liability for harm suffered from the “obvious risks” of dangerous recreational activity. On the other hand, professional rugby league players are in paid employment, and there are any number of laws covering workplace safety.

Regardless of what happens in the McManus case, the NRLhas been put on notice by the court of public opinion, and has responded in a way that shows it knows the climate is changing. Even if head-high tackles disappeared overnight, players would still hit their heads and suffer concussion. Coming off the field after any head knock must become the default position for player management.

Like the banning of the shoulder charge, such a change will have its opponents, butplayer safety –especially in a sport as violent as rugby league –must be paramount.

ISSUE, 38,445

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Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull addressed the party room at Parliament House in Canberra on Tuesday 29 November 2016 Photo: Andrew Meares Photo: Andrew MearesAustralia’s race hate laws have lost credibility, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says, and fixing them requires the removal of legal prohibitions on people’s right to “offend, insult or humiliate”, while making it illegal to “harass”.

In a move that has delighted the right of the Coalition and dismayed MPs who hold marginal seats or represent ethnic communities, Mr Turnbull and Attorney-General George Brandis unveiled changes to the language of section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act.

Changes to how the Human Rights Commission handles complaints under the Racial Discrimination Act are also on the way.

The Commission president, currently Gillian Triggs, will have to rule early on whether a complaint has merit and should proceed; complaints will have to be lodged within six months of an incident, and then dealt with more quickly – within 12 months.

Mr Turnbull said the changes would strengthen freedom of speech in Australia and ensure protection from racism.

“We are defending Australians from racial vilification by replacing language which has lost credibility,” he said.

“We need to restore confidence to the Racial Discrimination Act and to the Human Rights Commission’s administration of it.”

“This is an issue of values – free speech, free speech is a value at the very core of our party. It should be at the core of every party. Ensuring Australians are protected from racial vilification, likewise, is part of the mutual respect of which I often speak.”

Mr Turnbull would not say if it would be acceptable to call someone a “wog” under the proposed changes, and declined to repeat the term when put to him.

The Prime Minister predicted Labor would “cynically and ruthlessly” exploit the proposed changes, which, will – unusually – first be introduced in the Senate by Senator Brandis.

Labor’s Tony Burke suggested the bill would go to the Senate first because “if they can’t get it through the Senate, they don’t want to force their own back bench to have to vote for it”

The proposed changes to the wording of the act, which bring to a head years of debate, are all but certain to be defeated in the Senate by Labor, the Greens and the Nick Xenophon Team.

They will also trigger a campaign from activist group GetUp!, concern ethnic communities, who strongly opposed the changes back in 2014, and win support from free market think tank the Institute of Public Affairs.

Earlier, during debate in the Coalition party room, Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce warned that dragging out debate on the issue could cost the Coalition votes.

Former prime minister Tony Abbott praised Mr Turnbull and Senator Brandis during the party room discussion, while Development Minister Concetta Fierravanti-Wells warned changing section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act would be very unpopular with multicultural communities.

The proposal will see the words “offend, insult and humiliate” removed from the act and replaced by “harass” while “intimidate” will remain.

The debate about changing Australia’s race hate laws was held on National Harmony Day and the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

Mr Joyce’s warning to the party room was in line with similar comments he has made about the fractious same-sex marriage debate – that, essentially, voters are not concerned about section 18C but are more concerned about day to day issues and that the Coalition should stop talking about the issue.

Several MPs rose to disagree with Mr Joyce, including South Australian Liberal Tony Pasin and WA Liberal Andrew Hastie.

Sources in the room told Fairfax Media that Mr Hastie argued changing 18C was about “de-fanging the operational arm of the political correctness movement in this country”.

Mr Pasin disagreed with Mr Joyce and said voters in his electorate raised the issue with him.

About 20 MPs spoke during the meeting and the strong majority ultimately agreed with the package of changes, which was ticked off by cabinet on Monday night.

Those who argued for change included leading proponents Tim Wilson and James Paterson, Mr Abbott, Eric Abetz, Mr Pasin, Mr Hastie and George Christensen.

Those who spoke against changing the wording of the act included MPs Craig Laundy, David Coleman, Ann Sudmalis and John Alexander.

Mr Laundy, who holds the marginal western Sydney seat of Reid, told ABC radio before the meeting that he would stand up for his multicultural electorate during the debate and that he was comfortable with section 18C of the act.

Senator Abetz released a statement after the meeting praising the proposed changes: “These common-sense reforms will go a long way to ensuring that Australians can engage in free speech while maintaining protections against racially motivated harassment and intimidation”.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, meanwhile, told the Labor caucus meeting that the prime minister was moving ahead with changes to 18C – and penalty rates – because “they’ll never affect him”.

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Sydney house prices ‘to fall 5 per cent over two years’Three graphs that show struggle is real for first home buyersAustralians expect affordability to deteriorate further by 2027

???Speculation about a housing bubble is likely to heat up even further, with Sydney and Melbourne property prices up 5.2 per cent and 5.3 per cent respectively over the three months to December, official data released on Tuesday shows.

Brisbane real estate prices rose 2.2 per cent, and in Perth they were up 0.3 per cent, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics data recorded for the last quarter of 2016.

Across all the capital cities, growth was up 4.1 per cent, making it the strongest quarterly growth recorded since the June 2015 result.

These results were a clear sign the “threats in Sydney and Melbourne are steadily rising”, AMP Capital chief economist Shane Oliver said, although he declined to describe the market as a bubble.

“It’s bubbly. But the implication of a bubble is that we’re all ruined, while the implication if we’re not in a bubble is that we’re all fine – it’s not quite as simple as that,” Dr Oliver said.

With “ridiculous” prices in Sydney and Melbourne, he expected they would slow this year. But if they did not, he warned that it was likely the regulators would step in to cool investor activity.

Authorities, including the Reserve Bank, have been increasingly concerned about overheating house prices during March.

ASIC chairman Greg Medcraft recently described the Melbourne and Sydney housing markets as being “a bubble”.

And Australian Prudential Regulation Authority chairman Wayne Byres warned of a “heightened risk” in these markets but would not use the “b-word” to describe them. It’s unclear whether action will be taken by the regulator to cool the market.???

Property prices were up 10.3 per cent in Sydney and 10.8 per cent in Melbourne during the December 2016 quarter when compared with the corresponding period of the previous year.

But Domain Group chief economist Andrew Wilson said this annualised figure was coming off a low base that skewed it upwards.

“Strong growth over the December quarter [compared to the December quarter of 2015] reflects a sharp fall the year before,” Dr Wilson said.

In December 2015, the ABS found property prices falling in Sydney for the first time in three years, and soft growth for Melbourne. Property prices slumped again in Sydney during the March quarter.

For many, this signalled the end of four years of booming property prices in Australia’s eastern capital cities.

But prices picked up over the September quarter – Sydney and Melbourne jumped 2.6 per cent and 2.1 per cent respectively. This pushed Sydney into its fifth year of price growth.

Diaswati Mardiasmo, national research manager at PRDnationwide, said there had been strong growth in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane this year.

But there has also been an “air of cautiousness” – home buyers and sellers are concerned about how far prices can rise “before a correction occurs”.

“The issue is that even if a correction does happen it’s not the doom and gloom that people are expecting, in the sense that it will mean things will go back to ‘normal’ … level of growth,” Dr Mardiasmo said.

“So overall for Sydney and Melbourne, think there will still be growth, however perhaps not at the speed that we have seen over the past two years and Brisbane will continue at its current speed.”

She anticipated there would be more interstate investing activity, including a growing interest in the metro-regional areas where infrastructure projects are on the cards.

AllenWargent buyers’ agent and market commentator Pete Wargent said market forecasts ranged from 1.6 per cent to 4.1 per cent for the December quarter.

This meant the ABS result was not unexpected and was in line with conditions being experienced by property professionals in the market.

“The new year seems to have started at a brisk pace with Sydney and Melbourne leading the way again,” Mr Wargent said.???

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James Warburton in Newcastle on Tuesday with Supercars drivers James Courtney and Scott McLaughlin. Picture: Michael ParrisSupercars supremo James Warburton says lack of detail about the November race in Newcastle has led to鈥渟caremongering鈥?in the community.

Mr Warburton was in Newcastle on Tuesday with Supercars drivers James Courtney and Scott McLaughlin to inspect the layout for the track, which will host the final round of the series for the next five years.

Supercars boss laments 鈥榮caremongering鈥?| map,聽photos, video STREET PLAN: An artist’s impression based on a Supercars preliminary design for the track.

Adelaide resident Amanda, right, and friends outside her house during the Clipsal 500.

Ear protection for a youngster in Adelaide.

Barbecue at a food tent in Adelaide.

A bar inside the Adelaide track.

The Adelaide track cuts off several east-west and north-south arterial roads.

Race teams pack up after the Clipsal 500 on Sunday.

Crowd scene from Adelaide last weekend.

Merchandise in Adelaide.

An Aston Martin Vulcan on display in Adelaide.

Children’s rides in Adelaide.

Simulated driving in Adelaide.

A food tent in Adelaide.

Supercars will use the temporary Gold Coast 600 pit building, above, in Newcastle.

Supercars defending champion Shane van Gisbergen races in front of historic houses along East Terrace in Adelaide on Saturday.

The 12,000-seat temporary grandstand and three-storey pit building along the main straight in Adelaide at the opening Supercars round last weekend.

Pit straight in Adelaide.

MAKE SOME NOISE: The Hilltop Hoods perform inside the Adelaide race precinct on Friday night in a concert free for Supercars ticket holders.

DIFFERENT PACE: A historic home hosting a Supercars function beside the track on Dequetteville Terrace in Adelaide on Friday.

The pit building and corporate entertainment building, left, in Adelaide.

The Hilltop Hoods perform inside the race precinct on Friday night in a concert free for Supercars ticket holders.

Merchandise tent inside the Clipsal 500 precinct.

Children playing slot cars at the Clipsal 500.

Fans outside the Adelaide track precinct get creative to watch the race.

Fans outside the Adelaide track precinct get creative to watch the race.

A mechanic works on Jamie Whincup’s car in the Red Bull Racing garage,

The main, 12,000-seat grandstand in Adelaide.

The Adelaide pit building.

The scene in the pit area after race one in Adelaide on Saturday.

Exhibition tents at the Clipsal 500.

On the grid before race one in Adelaide on Saturday.

On the grid before race one in Adelaide on Saturday.

On the grid before race one in Adelaide on Saturday.

On the grid before race one in Adelaide on Saturday.

Race control on the top floor of the pit building on Saturday.

The Hilltop Hoods perform inside the race precinct on Friday night in a concert free for Supercars ticket holders.

Red Bull Racing team merchandise.

Selfies in a bar area beside the track.

Audience participation inside a trackside bar area in Adelaide.

A makeshift grandstand outside the track precinct.

Corporate hospitality along pit straight.

The back of the main grandstand, which is pulled down after the race.

A view of the Adelaide race precinct from the pit building.

The media room in Adelaide.

Mechanics working on Jamie Whincup’s Triple Eight Commodore.

A GT Championship car looking second-hand after a race on Saturday.

The back of two grandstands in Adelaide.

TweetFacebook What will the Supercars weekend be like Photos: Michael ParrisSupercars will hold another round of community consultation next week to discuss a range of issues which have concerned some Newcastle East residents, including access during the track construction and race weekend and the effect of that work on the area鈥檚 heritage.

鈥淲e do everything that we possibly can. We鈥檝e got a great track record in working with local residents,鈥?Mr Warburton said at Fort Scratchley.

鈥淲e have some 9000 [affected] residents in the Gold Coast community that obviously work with the Gold Coast 600 and 500 at Bathurst, so we鈥檙e a very professional organisation in terms of the way we work with residents and look at all of the options for the three-day race weekend.鈥?/p>pic.twitter南京桑拿/0yZt9W20O3

— Michael Parris (@mhparris) March 20, 2017

The council has started utility workson parts of the race routein Shortland Esplanade, but Supercars contractors will not begin building the track until May 1.

That work will include resurfacing the entire 2.6km of roadto be used for the Supercars circuit.

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INTENSE: William Crighton has taken his dark Australiana infusion of folk, rock and country into experimental territory on Hope Recovery. Picture: Kurt H PetersenKOOKABURRA laughter, tribal drums, synths, programmed beats andbanjos –they’re all featured on William Crighton’s boldnew single Hope Recovery. A year after releasing his critically-acclaimed self-titled debut album, the eight and a half-minute epicis a radical departure from the Bellbird troubadour’s previous material.

The first half of the song is a reworked version of Talking To God, a live favourite fromthe past year, complete with new lyrics.The psychedelic folk-rocksong takes a u-turn six minutes in with an explosion of kookaburras and synths leading into experimental new track Hope Recovery.

“Because it’s not a record, it’s a stand-alone piece of music so it’s quite experimental in the approach,” Crighton said.

The single was recorded in December at Laguna and Crighton said he tried to incorporate the natural sounds of the rural setting like rain and the kookaburras.

“They were just recorded with an iPhone and put into the track,” he said. “It was cool because it was as if the kookaburras were responding to the music.”

Hope Recovery will be released on March 31 before Crighton travels to Canada for six shows in Toronto and New Brunswick. Crighton also plans to visit Crowded House drummer and producer Matt Sherrodin Nashville to begin work on his second album.

Novocastrians can catch Crighton when he plays 48 Watt Street during his Hope Recovery tour on May 27.

ROGERS OVERSIGHTTim Rogers – Youth (audio)WE nearly thought Tim Rogers had forgotten about us. When the You Am I leaderinitially announced his upcoming tour to support new solo record An Actor Repairs, Newcastle was left off the list.

How could that be? Arguably one of Australia’s greatest songwriters has dripped countless litres of sweat in this town.

Thankfully the oversight was quickly rectified on Wednesday with a show at The Edwards on May 27 added. Rogers new country-twinged single Youth dropped this week.

PUB ROCK COMBOIT’S a union Australian pub rock fans have been waiting 25 years to see happen again. The Baby Animals are gearing up to hit the road with Newcastle’s legendary Screaming Jets throughout the winter.

The Baby Animals burst onto the scene in 1991 with charismatic frontwomanSuze DeMarchi, producing an array of Australian classics in Rush You, Early Warning and One Word.Around the same time the Jets were breaking out of Newcastle and finding national acclaim with hitsBetter and Helping Hand.

In true co-headlining style, the two bands will alternate closing duties.

Wests City hosts The Baby Animals and The Screaming Jets on June 30. Tickets went on sale on Wednesday.

PREMIER PUSHTAKING to the stage for a paid gig is not easy. Some promoters are hesitant to take a punt on an unknown rookie musician.

Broadmeadow’s Premier Hotel has been attempting to break down the barriers for teenage performers by introducing weekly Friday night sessions for students from Newcastle’sNational Music Academy.

Since last December the likes of Austin Mackay, Sione Puliuvea and Ryan Hemsworth havegained invaluable experience performing to punters.

“We’re trying to bridge that gap, becausethe Premier has been around for so long with live music, so it was something that [owner] Rolly [de With] was really keen to do,” marketing andpromotions manager Louise Kipa said.“It’s taken off really well.”

The performances have been so popular Mackay has been booked to play his full gig at the hotel on April 15.

WISER WAVEVOMWavevom – I Learnt 2 SwimWAVEVOM’S new single is called I Learnt 2 Swim, but a more accurate title may have been, We Learnt2 Record Properly.

For their forthcoming 11-song album Eternal Summer,Jed Kirbyshire (guitar/vocals) and Jack Clark (drums) tracked the songs, rather than recorded themlive, and used a metronome.

“This time we made sure we had the right gear and actually recorded to a metronome,”Kirbyshire said.“It’s a odd thing about us that we’ve never used a metronome up until now on our recordings.”

The results are Wavevom’smost polishedsingle yet.

“We’ve been releasing noisy, low-fidelity music for a long time and this is a cleaner and a more consistent record,”Kirbyshire said.

NEW ROMEO PATHBROTHERS David and Michael Romeo from Newcastle grunge rockers, FACEplant, have taken their music in a heavy direction with their new project A Mournful Path.

The duo’s first single From The Wreckage Of Humiliation,described as atmospheric black metal,has received warm reviews from music blogs. A Mournful Path plan to release their debut album through Finnish heavy metal label Inverse Records later this year.

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ENTRENCHED: Australian troops waiting for their orders while in their trench. Photo: The Digger’s View by Juan Mahony

Newcastle Morning Herald transcriptions and Hunter Valley enlistment and death details for 19-25 March 1917

BAPAUME CAPTUREDThe British have captured Bapaume. Field-marshal Sir Douglas Haig, the British Commander, reports: “Bapaume has been captured after stiff fighting with the German rearguards. The town has been systematically pillaged by the enemy, who destroyed private houses and public buildings, and carried off or burnt everything of value. Our advance proceeded rapidly. Astride of the Somme, southwards of the river, we entered the enemy position on a sixteen miles front, and occupied Fresnes, Horgny, Villers, Carbonnel, Barleux, Eterpigny, and La Maisonette. Northwards of the river, in addition to Bapaume, we hold Le Transloy, Biefvillers, Bihucourt, Achiet le Grand, Achiet le Petit, Ablainzeville, Bucquoy, and Essarts, and also Quesnoy Farm, 1500 yards south-westward of the Iastnamed, and gained the western and north-western defences of Monchy au Bois. We carried out successful raids eastward and northward of Arras, reaching the support line. Our aeroplanes encountered sixteen of the enemy, and broke up the hostile formation in twenty minutes. They destroyed two German machines, and drove down two damaged. All ours returned.”

FIRST TO ENTER BAPAUMEA cable message announcing that the Australian troops were the first to enter Bapaume was received in the first instance by the Commonwealth Government, from Mr Long, the Secretary of State for the Colonies, who was requested to send it by Field-marshal, Sir Douglas Haig. It is as follows: March 17th. “This morning the Australian troops fought their way into Bapaume. The casualties were very slight, but in order that the splendid successes already gained by the Australian Forces in the war may be continued right to the end, all ranks hope that a steady flow of reinforcements may be obtained.”

DESTRUCTION IN PERONNEMr Philip Gibbs, the Daily Chroniclecorrespondent, writes:“The enemy is refusing battle, and further retired to the open country east of Bapaume. Our cavalry patrols are in touch with the Uhlans on a line west of Cambrai St. Quentin. The exact location is vague, as the movement continues. Our cavalry is moving cautiously between a large number of villages, which are everywhere burning with widespread destruction. Everything is being done to impede pursuit. Bridges are being destroyed and trees in the streets are being cut down, forming barricades. The houses were wantonly ignited, and were burning fiercely when the British entered Peronne.”

REINFORCEMENTS NEEDEDNews from the western front shows that the Australian divisions are playing a great part in the operations there. It was the Australians who first entered Bapaume, and it is evident that they are being given a big share of the fighting in the forward movement of the Allies. They are given that position because, from the first day they landed on the Gallipoli Peninsula they have proved themselves to be troops of great courage and resource. All sections of the community must feel honoured when the cable messages are read. The best way to reciprocate is for the energy of the nation to be used in securing and equipping reinforcements. It is evident that during the coming European summer the operations of the Allies are to be on a scale of unprecedented magnitude. That means that the physical strain must be greater and the casualties much more numerous than during the comparative quiet of the winter months. Those who read with admiration of the deeds of the Australians on the western front should remember that thousands of the men who bear the burden today, enlisted in the very early days of the war, and that they have been fighting ever since the landing at Gallipoli. To ease the strain there must be reinforcements. The fit and eligible man who refuses to enlist says in effect that he is quite prepared to let these men continue to bear the burden almost to breaking point so that he may enjoy his leisure in Australia. It is impossible to escape from that position. The refusal of the eligible men to go to the assistance of those now at the front vastly increases the burden placed on every officer and man of the Australian divisions. There is a false feeling abroad in the Commonwealth that reinforcements are not needed. Some people actually say that the man who stays behind and produces foodstuffs is rendering a greater service to the Empire than if he went to the front. The place where the fit man can render the best service is where the fighting is to be done. That is where the call comes from, and it is made by Australians who have borne so much.

LIEUTENANT HARRIS, MCLieutenant Harris, MC, a returned officer, is endeavouring to raise a reinforcement company of 150 recruits to take with him to the front, on his return there. The men in this unit will be trained together, will embark together, and will, as far as the exigencies of war will permit, fight together. Lieutenant Harris is a married man, with family responsibilities, and one who has “done his bit,” Yet he is anxious to return to the seat of war as early as possible. He will be in Newcastle on Monday, and will speak at night in front of the post-office. Lieutenant Harris is attached to the 54th Battalion, to which many men of the Newcastle district belong, and it is felt that he can make a strong appeal for recruits at the present juncture.

BRITISH ADVANCEField-marshal Sir Douglas Haig, the British Commandant on the west front, reports: “We advanced rapidly south-eastward and eastward of Peronne, reaching points ten miles eastward of the Somme, and occupied another forty villages in this area. The enemy is developing considerable resistance at a number of places between Nurlu and Arras, but the rearguards were steadily expelled from their positions. Our progress continues. We carried out successful raids eastward of Arras, and north-eastward of Nouville St. Vaast, and repulsed a raiding party eastward of the latter. The enemy blew up a mine south-eastward of Ypres, damaging his own trenches.”

THE GERMAN MOVEA special correspondent of the Central News says: “The real nature of the German move in the west is slowly becoming apparent. The first object is a new orientation of the front south of Lille, giving a more southerly aspect. Military experts favour the theory that there will be a still more extensive straightening of the line, with a fresh German effort in Flanders, but they are unlikely to sacrifice the advantages which the possession of the railheads in Laon and Montmedy confer.

LATE SERGT-MAJOR HILLIERThe following is an extract from a letter received by Mr W. Scott, of Scott’s, Ltd, from his brother-in-law, Lieutenant R. P. Walker, serving with the troops in France:“You will have heard by now of Major Sneddon’s serious wounds, and the death of A Company’s Sergeant-major Hillier. He was a well-known Newcastle lad, I believe, and well respected in the battalion. He was an honest, straight, clean living youth, and his loss will be felt very much. I was able to arrange a party to attend his funeral. I had to get special permission, as this is against regulations; but my representations were respected, and I took charge of a party of 20 of his best pals. Will you please convoy to Sergeant-major Hillier’s parents my deepest sympathy. He died as game as any man ever did, and was assisting the sergeant-major who relieved our company much longer than was the usual case. His devotion to duty was the reason of his being cut off so soon.”

NSW FIELD FORCE FUNDThe committee of the NSW Field Force Fund (Newcastle subdivision of the Australian Comforts Fund) makes an urgent appeal for socks, clothing, and handkerchiefs for the troops. Much has been sent from Australia, but, unfortunately, there is not enough to reach every man every time; therefore, united effort is necessary in order to keep the men in good health and spirits. The whole output of the Field Force depot is sent for “general distribution,” and Mr Budden, the ACF Commissioner, says that cases so marked reach the front sooner than cases marked for a special battalion or unit. Though the committee, if so desired, will send eases earmarked for any unit, all those who so contribute are urged to confine such gifts to games, literature, or groceries, and to send socks, etc, for general distribution.

TOBACCO FUND“Something to smoke” is the comfort frequently asked for in letters from the front. The demand of our ever-increasing army and navy for tobacco is enormous; the Australian Imperial Force alone requires £1500 worth daily. The Southern Cross Tobacco Fund, organised by the Overseas Club, is praiseworthily continuing its efforts to meet the needs of soldiers on active service, but these are now so extensive that the management are forced to make a more general appeal to the friends of the nation’s fighting men for the assistance that will enable them to continue forwarding the parcels that are received by those in the trenches and elsewhere with the greatest delight. The fund is as broad as the Empire itself. Wherever a British soldier or sailor is to be found, his heart is gladdened by the kindly thoughts of his friends as he smokes his pipe or cigarette, which helps him to forget his weariness. More than a million and half gift parcels have already been sent to the firing line by the Overseas Club, whose aim is to keep up the supplies during the whole time the war lasts. The destination of all parcels is left entirely to the donor. They can be sent to any British regiment or Australian, New Zealand, or other overseas contingent serving at the front, and for every shilling donation, actually 3s worth of tobacco is sent. The tobacco and cigarettes are manufactured in bond, and admitted everywhere free of duty. Every penny contributed is spent in actually purchasing tobacco, and the entire cost of organisation, postage, correspondence, etc., is borne by the Overseas Club Headquarters’ funds. Although any or all gifts can be ear-marked for Australian or New Zealand troops, this is intended to be an Imperial Fund for the benefit of all men on active service. Citizens can give the name of the unit for whom they desire their gifts, but in any case they should state whether their donations are intended for Imperial, Australian, or New Zealand troops.

ENLISTMENTSHarry Carroll, Glendon Brook; Horace William Clarke, Scone; Geoffrey Edward Clift, East Maitland; Randall Alva Davies, East Kurri Kurri; Leslie George Doran, Maryville; Fred Elliott, Lambton; Samuel John Evill, Merewether; William Lindsay Frances, Singleton; Ernest David Freund, Plattsburg; George William Holstein, Wards River; Hugh Humphreys, Kurri Kurri; Reginald Johns, Cooks Hill; William Edward Johns, Pelaw Main; Richard McDonald Leslie, Newcastle; John Matchett, Carrington; John Fawcett McDonald, Kurri Kurri; Cyril McGann, Cessnock; Montagu Mein Moon, Toronto; Arthur William Myers, Broadmeadow; Thomas Phillip Prince, Mayfield; Thomas Stewart, Newcastle; William John Stratten, Stockton; Peter Traynor, Newcastle; Henry Schofield Verdon, Wickham; Leslie George Walker, Dungog; Joseph Wallace, Adamstown; Charles Keith Wood, Murrurundi; Clive Charles Wynn, East Maitland.

DEATHSPte Wilfred Campbell Bailey, Cardiff; Pte Arthur John Burns, Mayfield; Pte William Henry Greenlands, Waratah; Pte Rufus Charles Lansdown, Teralba; Pte George Edward Richardson, Merewether; Pte Roy Edward Tranter, Glen Oak; Pte George Henry Turner, Singleton; Sgt Arnold Lambert Worboys, Lorn.

David Dial OAM is a Hunter Valley-based military historian. Follow him at facebook南京桑拿/HunterValleyMilitaryHistory

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Look ahead: “There’s a lot of optimism, energy and excitement around what’s happening in the innovation space,” Dr Sarah Pearson said. Picture: Murray McKean.NEWCASTLE has the potential to becomea global centre of innovation, if energy is channelled into fostering collaboration across different sectors and helping researchers learnhow to commercialise their findings.

The University of Newcastle’s (UON) inaugural Pro Vice Chancellor Industry Engagement and Innovation Dr Sarah Pearson said the city was “on the cusp of doing something big”.

“Innovation is not just about techstart ups, it can be about a new business model, a new manufacturing approach, innovation in terms of how a government delivers its services, it can be very broad and touch all parts of the city,” Dr Pearson said.

“If we look at the stats 75 per cent of future high growth jobs are in science, technology, engineering and maths and 65 per cent of high growth jobs don’t exist yet.

“If we’re going to provide future economies we’re going to have to take on those skills and try to build those businesses –that’s the future. We can pretend it’s not going to happen, but we’ll just go backwards.”

Dr Pearson said Newcastle’s climate, lifestyle, affordability and proximity to Sydney made it an ideal centre of innovation.

“The building blocks are here,” she said. “We’ve got investors who are really interested, venture capital in Australia has grown substantially in the past 12 months, there’s a lot more government programs to support investment in start ups, we’ve got innovation hubs [where researchers, students, developers, entrepreneurs, investors, technical specialists and business advisors come together for networking, workshops, presentations and events], so there’s a lot of activity and a lot of what seems to be ‘What do we do with this, how do we make something of this?’ “

UON approached the Surrey-raised former chief executive of the CBR Innovation Network to take the new role, which involves building industry partnerships; acceleratinginnovation and entrepreneurship through innovation hubs; and translating and commercialisingresearch. “There are ideas that currently researchers don’t know could be commercially viable,” she said. “What you do there is help them to see what that means. In Canberra we were running start-up workshops for academics so they could understand who is the consumer or customer; what thebusiness model could be, what’s the market. Part of it is familiarising researchers with the possibilities.”

Dr Pearson said in five years she would like Newcastle to be known at least nationally as an innovation hub and for the physical hubs to have borne some “really big success stories, high growth global companies”.

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NEW CHALLENGE: Andrew Pawiak on the ball in a trial for Maitland ahead of their NPL season opener against the Newcastle Jets Youth on Saturday at Cooks Square Park. Picture: Michael Hartshorn MAITLAND midfielder Andrew Pawiak sometimes sits at home watching youngsters get their chance in the A-League and thinks “it could have been me”.

The 20-year-old came closer than most, twice sittingon the Newcastle Jetsbench without getting onto the field late in 2015.

He then captained the Jets Youth, who he will face on Saturday in the Magpies’ season opener at Cooks Square Park,through their 2016 Northern NSW National Premier League season before parting ways withthe club.

“I had one summer season left but I was pretty much told I wouldn’t be needed for first grade so I just decided to leave early,” Pawiak said.

But as for wanting to prove a point on Saturday against his former team, Pawiak said: “To behonest, not really.

“I did everythingI could to try and get into the first-grade squad.I was in amongst the training environment and whatnot,so I know what standard is required of players if you want to be in and around the A-League.

“I gave everything I could and it just wasn’t to be, I guess. I don’t feel as though I have a point to prove really. And the coaching staff therehas changed since I was there.”

FRESH START: Maitland recruit Andrew Pawiak is tackled while playing for the Newcastle Jets Youth side in the NNSW NPL against Hamilton Olympic last year. Picture: Marina Neil

The high school PE teaching student conceded it was frustrating to come so close to becoming an A-League player at the Jets, but he was also not giving up on his footballing dream.

“For sure, I would have loved to get on,” he said.

“I watch the A-League at home and see youngsters get given a chance and I think sometimes it could have been me, but I wasn’t given the opportunity, so there’s not really anything I could have done about it and I’m enjoying what I’m doing now.

“We’ll see what happens.Time’s ticking away to become a professional but I feel I have a few years yet to try to pursue it. I’ll give it a good crack and if I get a break then obviously I’d be stoked, but if nothing comes of it, I can say that I gave it my best.”

Pawiak trialled in Norway last December and is set to join Southern New Hampshire University after the NPL season tostudy sports management and play for their NCAA division two team.

In the meantime, theBeresfield, Maitland, Thornton and Hunter Hawks junior is hoping to help the Magpies feature again in the finals.He signed with Maitland, who finished fourth and lost to Edgeworth in the 2016 semis,after exploring his NPL options elsewhere.

“It’s been good,” he said.

“The transition to the team has been pretty easy.

“I looked into Sydney and Melbourne, but they had already filled up most of their rosters, so that was another reason to stay and play here.

“Everything just fell into place with Maitland. They are a good bunch of boys andthey have a handy squad.”

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