MICK: THE WILD LIFE AND MAD GENIUS OF JAGGERChristopher AndersenNewSouth Books, $34.99
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Forget the hoary question of whether you would let your daughter marry a Rolling Stone, the decision now is whether you’d let your mother read one of their biographies. Tawdry and decidedly lightweight, Christopher Andersen’s book about Mick Jagger, frontman for the group routinely described as the greatest rock’n’roll band of all time, is nearly as irrelevant as its subject’s intermittent solo career.

The Rolling Stones celebrated their 50th anniversary recently, with the band’s first gig taking place on July 12, 1962, at London’s Marquee Club, and this book ties in with that via an extended update of Andersen’s 1993 paperback, Jagger: Unauthorised (a book that is curiously absent from the published list of the author’s previous works). The presentation of this hardcover improves on its predecessor, but they’re both, in essence, lurid and repetitive reads.

Andersen, whose specialty is British and American royalty (the Windsors and Kennedys, respectively), focuses on Jagger’s sex life, identifying the one-time London School of Economics student as bisexual. The musician’s immense back catalogue gets short shrift: the classic 1971 album Sticky Fingers earns a paragraph, while Angelina Jolie, who strutted through a Stones video clip in 1997 and allegedly caught Jagger’s eye, receives five pages.

The book relies on a wealth of previously published material. Andersen hasn’t interviewed Stones talisman Keith Richards, but he’s read the guitarist’s autobiography, Life. The trials of Jagger’s career, such as gaining control of the band’s finances and his creative relationships with Richards, are referenced without insight, making way for a list of male and female conquests that grows astronomical through suggestion.

Andersen’s problem is that, at the age of 69, Jagger has long been well defined. A compelling frontman turned preening showman on the stage, and a ruthless careerist with a social chameleon’s skills off it, Jagger’s played the anti-establishment provocateur and then accepted a knighthood, and apart from when the Rolling Stones are engaged in selling out stadiums, he’s simply a famous face with more lines than you remember.

At a certain point, roughly when Andersen has Jerry Hall seeing off Carla Bruni in the 1990s, the endless listing of Jagger’s assignations and the text’s uninformed, moralistic tone manages to render Jagger a sympathetic figure. Andersen links Jagger with the late Princess Margaret, suggests Princess Diana was intrigued and even shoehorns Pippa Middleton in, and, if nothing else, it makes you appreciate Jagger’s fortitude.

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Bookshop

March 10th, 2019 / / categories: 南京夜网 /

SHADOW OF THE ROCKThomas Mogford, Bloomsbury, $29.99
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The successful detective novel depends on the interplay between the setting, crime and characters. Here the background is unusual, for Mogford writes of Gibraltar and Tangier. A Sephardic Jew is accused of murdering an heiress in Morocco. He flees to the Rock and an old lawyer friend, Spike. Old forms of corruption meet new technologies, but misogyny still reigns. A new, intriguing voice, but the setting is so intense, it’s overpowering.

SOME REMARKSNeal Stephenson, Atlantic, $32.99

Stephenson the novelist’s forte is technology and its history. Here he sidesteps into shorter form, collecting several stories, essays and interviews. They range typically widely. Arsebestos is about the physical dangers of sitting. Elsewhere, he takes a geek’s tour of the world, following fibre-optic cables. He shines when connecting the techie dots. His novels can be interminable, so these small bites are attractive, quickly consumed.

NORWEGIAN BY NIGHTDerek B. Miller, Scribe, $32.95

Miller’s debut novel takes some unlikely ingredients that, when thrown together, work. Sheldon Horowitz is 82, an ex-marine, proudly Jewish-American. He relocates to Norway for family. An act of violence reawakens his fighting skills and his conscience. Suddenly he is on the run in a foreign land, with a small child in tow. He is also at the stage of early dementia. Add some Kosovar villains and a dogged detective, and the novel becomes utterly compelling.

BOOK THAT CHANGED ME: Helene Young

SNUGGLEPOT AND CUDDLEPIEMay Gibbs

If a gardener can be made and not born, then Snugglepot and Cuddlepie are responsible for my green thumb. May Gibbs’ whimsical stories were the start of my love affair with the Australian bush. The Banksia men may have sent me skittering away from shadows, but they also made me look closely at the natural world.

Helene Young is an Australian commercial airline pilot and award-winning author of the romantic suspense novels Wings of Fear and Shattered Sky. Her latest book is Burning Lies (Michael Joseph, $29.95).

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Say You’re Sorry

March 10th, 2019 / / categories: 南京夜网 /

Australian author Michael Robotham.SAY YOU’RE SORRYMichael RobothamSphere, $29.99
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Mention Oxford and most of us think of the university’s dreaming spires, the quaint pubs and historic tourist trails, so effectively used on television as Morse and Lewis track a wayward student, a mysterious bluestocking or desperate don.

Yet not so far from all of this picturesque splendour are smaller, lesser known and more typical towns, some with housing estates on their fringes that could just as easily be found in any of England’s big cities. These towns and estates are peopled by a more usual cross-section of English society: the well-to-do, ordinary workers, strugglers, the poorly educated, and, alas, gangs and drug dealers.

It is this latter milieu that Australian Michael Robotham largely mines in his latest novel, Say You’re Sorry, again featuring Joe O’Loughlin, psychologist and criminal profiler. O’Loughlin is a refreshingly unusual crime investigator, not for being separated – pretty usual in this genre – but for suffering the early stages of Parkinson’s disease.

O’Loughlin is travelling by train to Oxford from London in winter, accompanied by his teenage daughter, Charlie, to deliver a lecture. As the train nears Oxford, it passes a group of police removing a young woman’s body from a frozen lake.

Unbeknown to O’Loughlin, he will soon be involved in the unexpectedly resurrected case of the missing ”Bingham Girls”, two teenagers who disappeared from nearby Bingham three years earlier, for the body in the lake turns out to be that of Natasha ”Tash” McBain, one of the pair – and she only died recently.

So where had Tash been during the ensuing time? Given that she survived until recently, could her best friend, Piper Hadley, who disappeared with her, still be alive? And if so, where is she?

As the revived case gets under way, overshadowed by a double murder that may or may not be connected, old ground is revisited and new avenues explored.

Initially, O’Loughlin is employed by the police to profile the perpetrator of the double murder, but he’s then brought in to the Bingham Girls case. This second case will touch him in a personal way through Charlie, who is feisty and difficult at times.

Robotham tells his tale with parallel narratives. One is O’Loughlin’s, in which we accompany him, his former police offsider and the local force in the renewed investigation. The other is the writings of Piper, from which we learn about her, Tash, their families, friends and relationships.

Employing these dual storylines generally works well, as they deliver two aspects of the same case and allow, through Piper’s words, an insight into parts of it that are unknown to O’Loughlin and the police. This also maintains a running tension as you don’t know whether Piper’s story will turn out to have been told by a girl who is still alive or one we will discover to be dead.

As effective as this duality is for the most part, having Piper still telling her story towards the end of the novel tends to upset the book’s overall narrative balance. It may have been more effective for the author to have ended Piper’s tale before the extremely gripping climax begins.

Despite this, Robotham has provided a first-rate psychological thriller containing a disturbing and menacing central story flanked by acute observations about people under stress and how they react.

The well-drawn characters on either side of the crime make fine supports for a wounded hero in a wounded world.

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Discounting Watson would be elementary error

February 10th, 2019 / / categories: 南京夜网 /

A decade ago, five-time British Open Champion Tom Watson was one of the headline acts on his last visit to this part of the world for the Australian Masters and we questioned, at his then age of 53, if his appearance was purely ceremonial.
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He bristled at the suggestion. “What am I? 44-1. I’d be worth a few dollars,” he said with a smile. Well, actually he was paying $51, but those who took his advice did their money. With rounds of 73-77-70-74 he finished tied 46th behind Peter Lonard, who beat Gavin Coles and Adam Scott in a play-off.

Now, the 63-year-old Watson will surely be asked the same question when he arrives for the Australian Open at The Lakes in early December.

Almost certainly appearance money has changed hands, so is Golf Australia banking on the nostalgia factor or can he genuinely contend for the title he won at Royal Melbourne back in 1984? He would be prohibitive odds to make the cut, and rightfully so.

Three years ago, at Turnberry, Watson nearly won a sixth British Open to equal the legendary Harry Vardon. He missed a three-metre putt on the 72nd hole and was then beaten in a four-hole play-off by Stewart Cink. This year at Royal Lytham and St Anne’s he made his 35th cut in the open but eventually finished tied 77th.

At The Lakes, I would not dismiss him from calculations. His swing is as sweet as ever and the course measures 6264 metres, far shorter than championship layouts these days, so Watson would not be seriously disadvantaged against the younger brigade.

So, call his visit ceremonial at your peril and also marvel at an ageless, gracious champion of the past, maybe even the present.

MAJOR ATTRACTIONS

The drip feed of player announcements for our major tournaments this summer has started with last year’s US Masters winner, South African Charl Schwartzel, and American Jason Dufner announced for the $2 million Perth International at Lake Karrinyup next month, and former US Open champion Graeme McDowell and defending champion Ian Poulter confirmed for the Australian Masters. Adam Scott is playing in Perth plus at the Masters and the Open, while Greg Chalmers is defending both the Open and PGA, events that Geoff Ogilvy will also contest. Greg Norman has played the Open for the past three years as part of his contract with Destination NSW and while his association with the state government’s tourism arm continues, he will not be playing in the Open, but rather the Shark Shootout in the US due to a clash of dates. Norman will, though, be at Coolum for the PGA Championship.

THE $100 MILLION MAN

The first cheque Jack Nicklaus ever won as a professional golfer, $33.33 for tied 50th in the 1962 Los Angeles Open, was never cashed and is mounted in a display case in the Jack Nicklaus Museum in Columbus, Ohio, but apparently Tiger Woods didn’t keep his first pay cheque for posterity. It was for tied 60th in the Greater Milwaukee Open in September 1996 and how his fortune has amassed since then. Last weekend, Woods finished tied third behind Rory McIlroy in the Deutsche Bank Championship in Boston and his cheque for $US544,000 ($526,375) took him past the $US100 million mark. The PGA Tour stats department tells us it took Woods 277 tournaments to accumulate that amount, averaging $US362,276 in each event, while Sam Snead who won 82 tournaments, eight more that Woods’s 74, collected a total of $US820,000 in his career that spanned from 1937 until 1979.

PLAYING FAVOURITES

Next week is the final women’s major of the year, the Women’s British Open at Royal Liverpool, and seven Australians are exempt – Karrie Webb, Katherine Hull, Rebecca Artis, Stacey Keating, Karen Lunn, Sarah-Jane Smith and Lindsey Wright. If an Australian doesn’t win, and that is looking at it parochially, may it be two who we’d regard as honorary Aussies – Laura Davies, who seems to regard our country as a second home, or 15-year-old Kiwi Lydia Ko, who just a few weeks ago became the youngest winner of an LPGA event.

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Champion hoop Greg Ryan and owner-trainer Graham Payne are poised for revenge with Kinetics in today’s $25,000 Black Nugget Cup (1600 metres) at Mudgee. The gelding has won nine times and finished a close second to Pesci in last year’s event. Kinetics is coming off a fifth to Poor Judge in the Moree Cup but Payne said forget the run. Previously, the six-year-old scored at Scone and four starts back won the Wauchope Cup. Meanwhile, Moruya hold a seven-race meeting today featuring the $20,000 Club Keno Cup and $17,000 Stayers Cup.
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BOOKIES HIT FOR SIX

A group of first-time owners and members of the Ganmain Cricket Club left bookmakers reeling at Parkes last Saturday following the win of A Little Alert. Ganmain is a small town near Wagga noted for its chaff production. The 13 owners unleashed on the Brad Witt-trained debutante, backing her from $3.20 into $1.50 favouritism. The group hit just about every bagman, one bookmaker’s last bet was $500 at $1.30. Ridden by Joel Maconachie, the daughter of Alert and Aurora Blue strolled home in the 800m maiden by two lengths much to the cricketers’ delight.

RARE FEAT BY PHILLIPS

South coast jockey Tim Phillips joined the likes of Athol Mulley, Greg Ryan, Len Harris, Graeme Birney, Bill Aspros and Doug Weir when he rode the entire program at Marthaguy picnics held at Quambone last Saturday. Phillips, 39, won the five-race card on She’s A Cutie, Maximum Vision, Spinning Yarns, the Quambone Picnic Cup on Orbit and King Con, all at short odds. The last of the 47 jockeys to achieve the feat was Greg Ryan at Parkes on August 26, 2006.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Reader David Kelley from Cooma makes a valid point in regards to programming and community race clubs. “Old-timers point to paddocks around the Monaro district and talk about race meetings held there years ago, more recently Cooma, Bombala and Adaminaby had multiple meetings, which have now been whittled back to one meeting each a year each. In recent years, field sizes have been an issue but the biggest problem has been attracting enough jockeys, a case in point was at Cooma two meetings ago when horses had to be scratched because there were no jockeys to ride them. And the reason I primarily write to you now – the Gundagai three-day carnival over a Thursday, Friday and Saturday in November each year – has this year been moved and clashes with the once-a-year meeting at Adaminaby. On a geographical issue and logistics in this area, I can assure you Gundagai will take horses, and particularly jockeys, away from Adaminaby. Why do programmers not consider this when setting dates? It has occurred previously here where Cooma and Bombala have a once-a-year meeting scheduled only to have nearby Queanbeyan and Canberra have a meeting the day before or in such proximity. The three small clubs mentioned all have voluntary committees who work hard to give the community racing. If country racing keeps stepping backwards at such a rate as it has in the last 20 years, there will be more paddocks where race meetings used to be held.”

TAB meetings: Today – Moruya, Mudgee. Monday – Albury, Coffs Harbour. Tuesday – Queanbeyan, Tamworth. Friday – Ballina, Canberra. Saturday – Armidale.

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STUART MACGILL is set to retire from cricket once and for all after being offered a paltry $20,000 contract with the Sydney Sixers.
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While some critics questioned whether MacGill was past it, the former Australian leg-spinner proved the doubters wrong when he returned from retirement to play in the inaugural Big Bash League.

At the age of 41, MacGill was one of the tournament’s best-performing bowlers, snaring seven wickets at an average of 23.7 with an economy rate of just 6.64.

But rather than rewarding him with a better deal, Sixers management is believed to have again tabled the minimum contract permissible. While a $1 million salary cap the amount the squad can earn, MacGill’s offer was a fraction of what some of his teammates were offered. Third-party arrangements are permissible to top up payments, but it is understood the Sixers did not source any for MacGill.

He is juggling several other professional commitments, including a consumer insights position at advertising agency Razor Group and new roles with Google Plus and YouTube. A six-week sabbatical to play cricket, at the minimum wage, could potentially jeopardise those deals.

While the big turner has not provided officials with a definitive decision, sources close to MacGill have told The Sun-Herald he won’t play in the Big Bash League this year. The development also clouds his involvement in the Champions League in South Africa.

”He clearly still has it, he dismissed the best batsman in the competition last year,” a source said. ”I can’t believe they didn’t make him a priority signing.”

Attempts to contact MacGill for comment were unsuccessful.

While many predicted the Twenty20 format would sound the death knell for slow bowlers, MacGill and Melbourne Stars drawcard Shane Warne proved there is room in the game for experienced wrist-spinners. MacGill, who took 208 Test wickets at an average of 29.02, finished with slightly better figures than the ”Sheik of Tweak” last year.

Having already signed stars David Warner, Brad Haddin, Brett Lee, Stephen O’Keefe, Steve Smith and Mitchell Starc, the Sixers roster is almost complete.

Twitter – @proshenks

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AFTER a winter headlined by the defections of Phillip Hughes and Usman Khawaja, NSW are set to give wicketkeeper Peter Nevill a shock promotion to the top of the batting order.
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The bold move will enable the Blues to play glovemen Nevill and Brad Haddin in the same XI while also adding vital experience to a top order decimated by retirements and player movements. Youngsters Nic Maddinson and Scott Henry, who has played two first-class matches, are also in contention for top-order berths for the season-opening Sheffield Shield game against Western Australia starting Tuesday week.

NSW and the Warriors have been handed an unusually early start to their season, especially considering the bulk of their squads will be representing Sydney Sixers and Perth Scorchers in the Champions League Twenty20 tournament next month. Although asking Nevill to open the batting seems on paper an unorthodox strategy, the Melbourne-born player topped NSW’s run-scoring last summer with 570 at an average of 50 and was one of few Blues to emerge from the season with his reputation enhanced. Nevill toured the West Indies as the Test back-up keeper to Matthew Wade earlier this year and is highly rated within the NSW dressing room.

”When he bats in the middle order he’s had to face the second new ball a lot,” said Stephen O’Keefe, who will skipper the side when Michael Clarke is unavailable. ”He was probably our best batter last year. Technically he’s very sound. I’d like to think of him as a bloke that could bat anywhere from one to six and I’d like to think we can fit him into our batting line-up, even with Brad Haddin in the side.”

The Blues begin their domestic campaign next Sunday in Perth – where last season, despite fielding eight players with international experience, they posted one of the worst performances in the state’s history. ”It really ripped the band-aid off last year,” O’Keefe said. ”It exposed a few issues that we had to address as a squad.”

Stalwarts Simon Katich and Phil Jaques called time on their illustrious careers shortly after and there was more upheaval in the winter when Khawaja and Hughes also departed, for Queensland and South Australia respectively. The Blues will be led in Perth by Clarke, who takes over a side that has done much retrospection after their disappointing campaign last summer. Anthony Stuart remains coach despite much speculation he had lost support within the dressing room and would not see out the full term of his two-year deal.

O’Keefe said it was unfair Stuart had taken the brunt of the blame for NSW’s failure. ”Ultimately the players have to point the fingers at themselves,” O’Keefe said. ”If we look back at everything a lot of the responsibility comes back to us as a player and a group. If we’ve got issues there’s nothing wrong with voicing them or getting out and speaking our mind as opposed to having conversations in alleyways and not expressing our thoughts. This year we have the ability to have that tough conversation and bring up areas we feel like we needed to improve on. Credit to Anthony, he’s worked bloody hard with the squad.”

Shane Watson and David Warner are unavailable for the start of the Blues’ season due to international commitments, as are young guns Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc. The Blues will still field a strong pace attack likely to include rising star Josh Hazlewood, Trent Copeland and Doug Bollinger.

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JUNIOR Warriors coach John Ackland has shaken off the responsibility of being the club’s only representative in play-off football this season.
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The Warriors under-20s finished second to the Bulldogs on this year’s National Youth Competition table, and will play the Raiders, who finished third, in Canberra today.

The side is bidding to claim its third straight under-20s title, but Ackland, who guided the Warriors to their 2010 and 2011 triumphs, said they were not feeling any heat.

The Warriors first-grade side, and the Auckland Vulcans, the club’s NSW Cup feeder team, missed out on their respective top eights after poor seasons.

”I don’t know about pressure,” Ackland said. ”We’re still playing, so perhaps it’s given some people something to watch for a little bit longer. I wouldn’t like to think there’s any pressure on us. The boys have done very, very well, really. We’ve played a lot of games with four or five that are going to be able to play for three years.

”We’ve battled some injuries to some of our key guys, so for them to finish first equal [on points] after 26 weeks is a fantastic effort, really.”

Because of the lack of a Warriors first-grade home semi-final, the under-20s must travel to Canberra despite finishing above their opponents, who they beat 26-12 last weekend, on the table.

Ackland is not complaining, however. ”If you want to win [it], you’ve got to win in Australia, that’s the bottom line.

”We’re looking forward to playing in the semi-final. The boys are all keen. We’d play them in a car park if we had to. If we do what we do well, and we stick to what works for us, we’ll be very hard to beat.”

NRL rookie Carlos Tuimavave will return to the under-20s for their play-off campaign, after making five first-grade appearances at fullback late in the season, because of the absence of the injured Kevin Locke.

Ackland said his presence will be welcomed by the junior Warriors.

”He can take a lot of confidence out of the way he played for first grade,” Ackland said.

”I thought he acquitted himself very well in the games that he played, in a tough situation and playing in a position he hadn’t played in a long time. It’s … good to have him back.”

”I think a lot of teams, at this time of year, are playing guys that have had some first-grade experience. I don’t think there’s such a thing as a secret weapon in the competition because everything’s on film and everything gets watched ad nauseam.”

”[But] he’s a good player and brings a lot of experience to the team. He’s played in two semi-final campaigns, so I’m just hoping he can lift it for us.”

Tuimavave will play at five-eighth for the Junior Warriors today, while Peter Hiku is likely to wear the No.1 jumper.

Twitter – @benstanleyffx

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Canberra to launch Carney blitz

January 10th, 2019 / / categories: 南京夜网 /

CANBERRA have signalled their intention to smash the life out of former teammate Todd Carney to limit his influence in today’s elimination final.
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The Sharks match-winner can expect to walk off Canberra Stadium battered and bruised as the Raiders attempt to find a way to contain the brilliant playmaker. Carney has already hurt the Raiders once this season, carving up his former side with a virtuoso display in the round-eight 44-22 flogging in Canberra.

To prevent that happening again, injured Raiders captain Terry Campese warned Carney would be in for a busy afternoon whenever he looked to get into the play. ”If we can shut him down, give him less time and knock him down every time he touches the ball, that will put a lot of pressure on him,” Campese said ”Hopefully he doesn’t have the game like he did last time he was here.

”When you give a guy that kind of confidence during the game, that’s what he builds his game on.”

Carney has a 3-2 record against the Raiders since he was sacked in 2008 for a string of off-field indiscretions, before he also parted ways with the Roosters last year.

He has found a new lease of life with the Sharks, the talented five-eighth establishing himself as the NSW No.6 and guiding the Sharks to the finals for the first time since 2008. Campese caught up with his former halves partner at the Dally M awards in Sydney during the week, Carney more than happy to divulge how he planned to cut the Raiders to pieces. ”Talking to Toddy during the Dally Ms he made it obvious where he will personally attack us – in the forwards,” Campese said. ”He always seems to target our big forwards.

”He’s got good footwork at the line, and when we get a bit tired that’s when he seems to get his hands on the ball and takes us on.”

Campese believed the opening 20 minutes would be a fiery contest as both sets of forwards tried to gain the upper hand. Sharks captain Paul Gallen has challenged his pack to lift its aggression after being outmuscled in recent weeks.

Raiders coach David Furner has backed Sam Williams to withstand the physical intensity of finals football after he was cleared to return from injury for today’s do-or-die semi against Cronulla.

The halfback missed last week’s win over the Warriors in Auckland with a strained trapezius muscle in his left shoulder, but passed a searching examination at a training session yesterday.

Williams has been pivotal in helping the Raiders defy the odds by making the finals without chief playmaker Campese. Furner knows Cronulla’s hard as nails pack will test out Williams in defence, but said he wouldn’t play the 21-year-old unless he was fully fit.

”He’s fine and ticked all the boxes, he’ll be ready to go,” Furner said.

”He’ll be able to handle it, I have no doubt. I think Sammy knows what’s coming his way and previously before missing that [Warriors] game, he’s defended quite well.”

Williams’s developing combination with five-eighth Josh McCrone has risen another level late this season.

Raiders fullback Josh Dugan is also a certain starter after missing the Warriors clash with an ankle injury.

Forwards Joel Thompson [back injury] and Tom Learoyd-Lahrs [hamstring] have also been given the green light.

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All this talk about Tim Sheens facing the chop at the Wests Tigers is beyond me – I still think he is the best coach in the game.
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He’s second to none not only in terms of how he reinvigorates the game, but also the manner in which he keeps up with changes in the game. A great example is how he had the Tigers playing when we won the comp back in 2005. Now everyone plays that way.

If anyone can rebuild the club it’s Tim. He’s been around coaching for such a long time. Even though we didn’t have success this year, I still feel he is the man for the job.

Put it this way, if I was the CEO or on the board of any club, the only reason I’d change the coach would be if there was someone better – I don’t feel there’s anyone better.

The people who say he’s grown stale being at the same club for a long time don’t see what he does with us – every week at training, Tim pulls out something new. We’re practising things that he gives us the confidence to do, like me with flick passes, so that when we’re in a game situation, they’ll come off.

In terms of the respect of the players, on and off the field, he still has it in spades at the Tigers and I don’t see that changing.

He always drums into us that the most talented players don’t make it in the NRL because their attitude is not right. He keeps us on our toes.

We are all disappointed we’re not in the finals. At the start of the year we didn’t expect to be feeling sorry for ourselves at this time of year and I think we owe our fans an apology for the way our season turned out. As players, we expected better.

We have big expectations on ourselves and we not only let ourselves down, but the coach, the club and the fans.

It was the players’ fault. The coach gave us great game plans all season, but our execution let us down. We were way too inconsistent.

We know, deep inside, that we were good enough to make the finals. But the hardest part is the simple fact that we weren’t successful.

A lot of things didn’t go our way, with injuries and Robbie Farah’s mother tragically dying knocking us all around, but we can’t blame anyone but ourselves. It just wasn’t our year. It’s a hard one as we weren’t far off where we wanted to be all year but, in the end, we were so far away.

It’s the usual thing at this time of year for the teams that didn’t make it – you look back at the games you could have or should have won. We lost to Souths in extra time when Greg Inglis kicked a field goal and there was the game a couple of weeks ago against the Dogs which they also won in golden point.

Looking ahead to next year, the good thing for the club out of this season is we’ve unearthed some stars of the future in Aaron Woods, Curtis Sironen and Marika Koroibete.

We’ve also got a few new players coming in. I can’t wait for Braith Anasta to come over from the Roosters, it will be great. I’d be happy if he played halfback and I can go back to five-eighth. I think that’d suit my game and his. I’d have a bit more room to move and he could do a lot of the organising, which is what he’s been doing all his career anyway. His experience in big games will also help us out a lot.

I just want to get on the training field so we get back to where we want to be next year. I know we can be a lot better in 2013 – and I know changing the coach is not the answer.

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