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  1. MPNFL: Cranbourne Eagles storm into semis


    June 20, 2018 by admin

    CRANBOURNE has set up the inevitable with a crushing 91-point victory over Tooradin-Dalmore at Robinson Oval on Saturday.
    Nanjing Night Net

    The Eagles’ sheer weight of talent proved too much for the Seagulls and the premier boasted 44 scoring shots in the 22.22 (154) to 9.9 (63) victory.

    The huge win means Cranbourne faces a blockbuster semi-final against premiership favourite Narre Warren at Pakenham on Saturday.

    Eagles coach Doug Koop said the key to knocking off Narre Warren was being more committed and keeping a close check on its better players.

    “We think about each other a fair bit and it’s one win each. They’ve got a very good side and will have to do the same against us.

    “Hopefully,we can put more pressure on them than they can put on us.”

    It was always going to be an uphill battle for Tooradin-Dalmore against Cranbourne, despite clearly being the third best team in the competition this year.

    Despite Sam Watson doing a superb job on champion full forward Marc Holt, limiting him to four goals, the Eagles found another forward with Michael Theodoridis booting five majors.

    Star Seagulls midfielders Matt Wade and Beau Miller were both superb but Eagles’ guns Ray George and Matt Thompson were equally as impressive.

    For every strong performance from a Seagull, there were two Eagles who did the same task.

    “We pressured them for the best part of four quarters,” said Koop.

    “We were pretty even right across the board and our midfielders started off really well – Tooradin were super competitive early and withstood us but slowly and surely we squeezed them.”

    Cranbourne led by just eight points at quarter-time but a 7.8 to 3.1 second term meant the clash was all but over by the long change.

    Koop was particularly pleased with the return of Andre Young from injury, with the defender holding Julian Suarez to three majors and a handful of kicks.

    Hallinan was disappointed with the performance but said the Eagles were just a class team who deserved the victory.

    He said the damage could have been greater if it wasn’t for his back line.

    “The scoreline probably flattered us in a lot of ways,” he said. “Our back line was very good form most of the day.”

    Match winner: Michael Theodoridis booted five goals for Cranbourne in its big victory over Tooradin-Dalmore on Saturday. Picture: Ted Kloszynski

  2. DDCA: Cranbourne Eagles add talent


    June 20, 2018 by admin

    CRANBOURNE hopes its two big signings will be enough to propel it past last season’s third place finish in the DDCA turf 2 competition.
    Nanjing Night Net

    The Eagles should be stronger with both bat and ball, after signing former NZ under 19 representative Te Ahu Davis, as well as former West Gippsland Cricket Association best and fairest Ben Maroney.

    Both come with big reputations, the 26-year-old Davis “taking a stack of wickets in England” and Maroney topping the batting averages in the WGCA.

    Sadly for the club, Ross Woodall has taken an assistant coaching job at Casey-South Melbourne. Meanwhile, neighbour Lynbrook has poached Shane D’Rosario from Buckley Ridges as its new captain-coach.

    He replaces Prabath Fonsenka.

  3. SEABL: Three-pointer saves the day for Rangers


    June 20, 2018 by admin

    THE South East Australian Basketball League east men’s conference title came down to one shot at Dandenong Stadium on Saturday night.
    Nanjing Night Net

    One contested, uncertain three-point shot from Dandenong Rangers import Daequon Montreal, a centre whose three-point shooting percentage ranked eighth on the team coming into the conference final against Geelong Supercats.

    But with the Supercats leading 72-70 with 18 seconds remaining and the shot clock winding down, Montreal was left with a potential game-winner from in front of the visitor’s bench and had to take it.

    It went in, sending a near capacity stadium into raptures.

    In Montreal’s own words, it “felt good all the way” as the Rangers took a 73-72 lead, leaving the Supercats with the last play of the game to take the win.

    After a Supercats’ miss, centre Sebastian Loader pulled in the offensive rebound but before he could do anything with the ball, Rangers guard Lucas Barker stole it from his hands, then avoided the Supercats’ desperate attempts to foul before being unceremoniously shouldered to the ground by Supercats forward Dominic Friend with 0.2 seconds remaining.

    Barker missed his second shot deliberately, only for Rangers forward Tony Lewis to tip in the miss on the buzzer to give the Rangers a 75-72 win and the SEABL east conference title.

    The Rangers will face south conference winners Albury-Wodonga Bandits for the SEABL championship at the State Basketball Centre, Wantirna South, this Saturday at 3pm. Montreal, who was in doubt for the game after spending the past two weeks recovering from an ankle injury, said he was proud to make the title-winning shot.

    “I knew we needed someone to get a shot,” he said. “The shot clock was low and I had to take it.”

    ■ Dandenong Rangers women want to seal their place as the most successful team in South East Australian Basketball League women’s history when they play for a third straight championship this Saturday.

    The Rangers won their third straight east conference title on Saturday night with an 86-47 win over Geelong Supercats at Dandenong Stadium. They will face Knox Raiders, the team they beat in last year’s decider, at the State Basketball Centre in Wantirna South on Saturday at 1pm.

  4. TAC Cup: Dandenong Stingrays celebrate too soon


    June 20, 2018 by admin

    Fade out: Dandenong Stingray Clayton McCartney booted a great goal in their narrow TAC Cup loss to Gippsland Power on Saturday. Picture: Marco De LucaDANDENONG Stingrays were like the antsy home brewer who cracked the first stubby before the ale was ready.
    Nanjing Night Net

    For three quarters of Saturday’s qualifying final the Stingrays were brewing nicely against Gippsland Power and appeared headed for a preliminary final.

    Young star Lachie Whitfield was showing the football public why he has long been touted the No. 1 draft pick. The midfield was dominant and they had winners up forward and down back.

    That was when they cracked the first stubby – about 30 minutes early.

    At the final change the Stingrays were 34 points in front; by full time they had failed to add to their score and the Power had booted 7.3 for the term to run out 11-point victors.

    Stingrays coach Graham Yeats was fuming. He declined the opportunity to talk about the capitulation. Instead, assistant coach Craig Black fronted the media.

    “It’s obviously a disappointing result. I thought we played good footy for about three quarters and it’s pretty obvious they outworked us in the last quarter, but we’ve got another week so we’ll go back to the drawing board,” Black said.

    “Three quarters were really good, so we’ll look at the positive side of things and get back to it.”

    The Stingrays now face an elimination semi-final against neighbours Oakleigh Chargers at Visy Park, Carlton this Sunday at 1.45pm.

    The Stingrays will be sweating on the fitness of Whitfield, who came off in the last quarter with a foot ailment which he was icing after the game.

    Black said Nathan Wright is some chance to return from injury for the clash.

    While it was a heartbreaking loss for the Stingrays, adding to their disappointing finals record, there were plenty of positives.

    For the bulk of the game they were cohesive, well drilled, skilled and tackling like madmen.

    The Stingrays kicked 4.5 to zip in the opening term with Billy Hartung running riot.

    The Stingrays could have been further in front if it wasn’t for relatively easy misses to Clayton McCartney, who kicked a brilliant goal earlier in the term, and Matt Rennie.

    It was clear the Power had received a rocket from coach Nick Stevens at quarter time and they lifted their intensity in the second term.

    They had cut the margin to four goals by half-time with two highlights, both involving Mornington product Whitfield.

    A strong mark to Ryan Marks-Logan at half-back and a flowing piece of play down the ground resulted in Whitfield marking and easily converting.

    The second was pure brilliance. Whitfield got the ball in the forward pocket, ignoring the intense pressure and spotting his mate Hartung with a deft snap kick into the corridor.

    The third quarter provided few highlights with the Stingrays kicking 3.6 to 1.2.

    While it’s not certain if Yeats is a home brewer, there was certainly a bitter taste in his mouth.

  5. National Sustainable House Day in Clyde North


    June 20, 2018 by admin

    Residents wanting to cut their power bills and live more sustainably can pick up some tips on Sunday at an open house to mark National Sustainable House Day.
    Nanjing Night Net

    The venue is Selandra Community Place, an eight-star interactive display home, at 2 Forest Drive, Clyde North, and which will be open from 10am-4pm.

  6. Schools talk mental health


    June 20, 2018 by admin

    School principals and other community leaders will attend a summit on youth mental health in Berwick tonight (Monday).
    Nanjing Night Net

    The summit, hosted by Casey Council, will look at community responses to a spate of youth suicides in the Casey area this year.

    It follows a recent public forum. Tonight’s summit will include presentations from Casey’s youth suicide steering committee and Jo Robinson, from the Orygen Youth Health Research Centre.

  7. Dogs put down after illegal breeding ring in Casey


    June 20, 2018 by admin

    Three pit bull terriers were destroyed and their owner fined $3184 on 15 offences when he appeared in the Dandenong Magistrates Court in June.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Casey Council disclosed last week the owner was part of an illegal pit bull terrier breeding ring but refused to give further details, including the location of the breeding operation.

    Officers inspected more than 280 properties during a six-month council operation from last October.

    Council officers seized several dogs and others were surrendered by their owners.

    A number of owners were prosecuted for failing to register dogs.

    One owner was the man involved in the breeding ring and he pleaded guilty to 15 charges under the Domestic Animals Act.

    Casey mayor Sam Aziz called on residents to report any suspicions of illegal dogs.

  8. MAV calls for diverse council nominations


    June 20, 2018 by admin

    The Municipal Association of Victoria is calling on residents from diverse backgrounds to stand for their councils.
    Nanjing Night Net

    MAV chief executive Rob Spence said it was important that councillors reflected diverse communities.

    Nominations are open from September 20-25.

    Information sessions will be held at the Casey Council chambers, Narre Warren, at 2.30 and 7.30pm on Wednesday, September 19.

  9. VCAT goes out on a limb


    June 20, 2018 by admin

    When it comes to emotive issues, trees come not far behind animal cruelty and abused children.
    Nanjing Night Net

    A crowded public gallery at a Casey Council meeting last month was proof enough of that.

    That morning, council contractors had removed three trees from a row of 28 spotted gums in Old Coach Road. The trees, which Peter Lawton planted in 1966, were on Casey’s first register of significant trees, which the state government had approved less than two months earlier.

    The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal has issued an interim protection order to stop the council removing the remaining trees.

    The parties involved – the Residents, Ratepayers and Friends of Berwick Village, the National Trust and the landowner who wants them removed, Lawrence De La Rue – will return to the hearing on September 24.

    Mr De La Rue told the Weekly his wife was within two metres of being killed by a seven-metre branch that dropped from one of the trees four years ago. Recalling it makes him emotional. “Everybody wants me to put my family at risk. It’s akin to me dangling my grandchildren over the side in Western Port while the sharks are circling.”

    Members of Casey’s conservation advisory committee, who spent almost five years working on the tree register, are watching the debate with concern. Spotted gums are common throughout Casey’s public spaces, including shopping centre car parks, mainly because they are regarded as safe and useful street trees.

    “If these ones go, the door opens for anyone to ask for a spotted gum to be removed,” says Hampton Park resident Tony O’Hara, a member of the committee.

    While conspiracy theories abound, Mr O’Hara plumps for the alternative. “I think it was definitely a stuff-up. People inside the council just did not realise what was going on and they need to talk to one another. If they realise they’ve made a mistake and start to take note of the register before they make promises to anyone, then something will have been achieved out of the whole sorry mess.”

    At the council meeting, Cr Judy Owen, one of two council representatives on the conservation advisory committee, was anxious to stress that the protesters were not “greenies”. “They’re people who care about how we’re going to leave our bit of the world. They’ve used blood, sweat and tears to go out and form this area.”

    She said she could not understand why the council would value the opinion of a single resident over half a community that wanted to keep the trees and four arborists’ reports that stated the trees are healthy. She stressed it was not a Berwick issue. “It’s a Casey issue – we have to decide where we’re going next with trees.”

    Cr Geoff Ablett agrees. “This isn’t just an Old Coach Road issue,” he told the Weekly. “It’s a Casey issue. We got the planning wrong on trees. We shouldn’t be planting 200-feet gums, as good as they are. It’s just ridiculous.”

    He stresses that he’s not anti-tree. “I grew up in the country and I love trees. But I don’t want to put myself in the position of saying to someone these trees are safe and six months later there’s an injury. I don’t want it on my conscience.

    Even Mr De La Rue, who is scathing about what he referred to as “the nuffies”, is a tree-lover. “I love trees, I care for the country – but there’s an appropriate place for trees.”

  10. Pioneer’s lamentfor our thin green line


    June 20, 2018 by admin

    Standing steady: Trees have been a constant in Peter Lawton’s life. Familiar sight: The row of 28 spotted gums is a Berwick landmark.
    Nanjing Night Net

    A row of spotted gums in Old Coach Road has become a symbol of Casey Council’s problematic relationship with trees. CATHERINE WATSON spoke to the man who planted them in 1966. Pictures by ROB CAREW.

    IT was a tree that sold Peter and Margot Lawton on Berwick. They had come to inspect a farm for sale and saw a huge old manna gum growing by the creek. Fifty-two years later, Mr Lawton’s face lights up at the memory of it. “We just looked at it and fell in love with the place.”

    It was raining and he ruined a new pair of street shoes climbing the hill to look at a view that stretched from Arthurs Seat to the You Yangs. After 2? years of searching, they knew they’d found the right place.

    That was 1958. Now aged 84, Mr Lawton is still living on Berwick Hill. The dairy farm is long gone, sold in the 1970s when milk prices crashed. Today he retains just half a hectare, enough for an experimental tree nursery. The foreground of that glorious view is now full of suburbs rather than farmland. Margot died only a couple of months ago. Much has changed but the one constant has been his love of growing beautiful trees, first as an amateur, later as a tree farmer, now as a tree researcher.

    Between 1958 and 1968 Mr Lawton planted well over 1000 trees on the farm as shelterbelts for his cows. Most of them remain and today form the spine of landscaping around the hill. “I feel proud to have helped create today’s landscape,” he says.

    He is saddened by Casey Council’s intention to remove 28 spotted gums on what is now Old Coach Road. He planted them in 1966 and says they are an important visual buffer to the ugliness of the transmission lines, transformers and cell phone towers on top of the hill.

    Mr Lawton says councils, Casey included, are struggling with trees: what to plant, what to pull out, how to determine which are dangerous.

    He would like to see Victoria follow the lead of NSW, which has appointed a leading teacher of arborists, Judy Fakes, as Commissioner of the NSW Environment Court to rule on tree disputes. The court has the power to summon conflicting parties and even to jail people.

    He says the first step is to get rid of the trees that should never have been planted and the trees that were faulty when they were planted and will become dangerous if they survive. In a subdivision just down the road from him the trees are falling over in their seventh or eight year. He found they all had circled rootballs, indicating they were pot-bound when they were planted.

    “I feel sorry for councils that inherit these disasters when the developers walk away.”

    It’s not a trivial problem – Mr Lawton estimates the cost of tree failure at more than $100 million a year across Australia. He has been personally affected. On one occasion his tree farm business planted 10,000 trees bought from a reputable supplier. They all failed, costing him about $1million.

    Much of his work since then has been directed at improving the technology and practice of tree propagation and planting. From his tree nursery, he and colleague Ann Keys produce about 2000 seedlings a year, most of which go to Hume Council, which is carrying out major planting

    trials. He has patented a range of pots now winning favour with some of Australia’s major botanical gardens. This month he heads off to China with a Victoria state trade mission to try to sell one of his patents to raise money to do more research. “R&D has become a habit, and it’s as expensive as any other habit,” he says.

    The strange thing, he says, is that we were growing better trees 50 years ago than we are today. Proof of that is in the Old Coach Road spotted gums, growing straight and true 46 years after they were planted.

    “If you get the first 25 days of the tree right, the remaining 100 years will be easy.”