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  1. JEFF CORBETT: Manners maketh nil

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    October 9, 2019 by admin

    DO you remember when much was made of manners? If so you’re likely to be middle-aged, a term used politely for those well past the halfway point of their life.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Children in the company of a parent in public were appraised and complimented on their manners, and to do so was a part of the ritual of adult manners; guests in the family home would make a small fuss about the loveliness of the children’s table manners; and parents saw even the most informal meal as a training opportunity.

    Elbows on the table! Oh the shame!

    And so for a long time eating at a table was more an exercise in keeping elbows uncomfortably by my side than in actual eating, and I could never understand then why elbows and table should never meet and I cannot now. Naturally, now, I allow my elbows to rest naturally, which may well be on the table.

    We went through the “may I” stuff, but it is such a silly affectation that I’d be horrified if my children asked: “May I be so rude as to ask you to pass the butter?”

    Well-behaved children spoke only when spoken to, in company at least, then we were limited in what we should say. Boldness was cheekiness, and cheekiness was shame.

    Honorifics were de rigueur for all children, and such is the change that I don’t think I’ve heard my children refer to anyone apart from a teacher with a Mr or Mrs or Miss. All the family’s friends regardless of age have been known by their first name, whether they like it or not.

    And training in manners has been limited to the use of cutlery, eliminating animal-like noises at the table (although I’ll have to revisit this with my eldest son), mouth closed while eating, please and thank you, and excusing yourself. The combing of hair has been a bigger and less successful battle.

    Well, mouth closed while eating, or not talking while eating, has given way to the reality of interaction, and I can’t recall a cutlery correction being issued to any child over the age of five, and it seems that my family’s attitudes are common. Well, common as in widespread.

    Have we lost anything of value? Have we failed our children by not harping endlessly about straight backs and formulated language and ladies first and not eating until the head of the table eats?

    I suspect that the purpose of manners, and the reason for manners, has changed in one or two generations.

    Until my generation it seems that manners were a statement of social position and a template for interaction, so that an exchange between people would proceed according to a formula. The formula would open with exaggerated concern for the other’s health, for family, and move through discussion of the weather to an almost apologetic raising of the business at hand.

    Responses were largely by rote and in studious agreement, and this can be seen in older people nodding and issuing sounds of agreement as the other’s story proceeds, even when they disagree with the points being made.

    For at least one generation manners have been about consideration rather than a social statement and a template, and consideration is a much more sincere response than structured platitudes. There are, for example, no manners stipulating that we dip finger food into the sauce only once, but it is inconsiderate to dip the sausage roll or whatever more than once.

    As informality has seen off formality, the emphasis has moved from being courteous to being not rude – we are not offended when someone we encounter does not pay even lip service to manners but we are offended if that someone behaves rudely. Such rudeness may range from disregard to hostility.

    And while manners are no longer a social marker, rudeness certainly is.

    I have noticed on my blog, however, that those few contributors who use what we see as old-fashioned manners are more likely to allow for the possibility that the opposition is right, that they may be wrong. And a consequence of this is that they are far more likely than others to find common ground.

    Maybe there is a value in discussion of the weather.

    Have manners and their role changed in your life? For better or for worse?


  2. Our region speaks as one

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    October 9, 2019 by admin

    THE idea of the Hunter not getting a sizeable share of the $5.6 billion Regional Infrastructure Fund should be unthinkable. Cash in the fund comes from the federal government’s mineral resource rent tax and one of the fund’s purposes is to “promote development and job creation in mining communities, and in communities which support the mining sector”.
    Nanjing Night Net

    As one of the most productive coalmining regions in Australia, the Hunter should be in the box seat to receive a decent cut of the fund without having to roll over and beg. But based on experience so far, that doesn’t seem likely to be the case.

    To date, Queensland and Western Australia have received commitments for about $2 billion each from the fund, with only $2 million coming to NSW. Of that sum, $1.8 million was for a study of rail crossings at Scone, where coal trains are isolating the two halves of the town from one another for extended periods.

    In this context, it’s disturbing and disappointing to hear the Regional Development Australia Hunter chief executive, Todd Williams, warning the Hunter that it stands to miss out on funds unless its local government and other representative organisations speak with a united voice.

    For a start, it should be inconceivable that the Hunter would miss out, given its vital mining region status. Further, the region has demonstrated repeatedly that it is willing and able to present a united front in support of important goals. Every council in the Hunter, for example, threw their weight behind Lake Macquarie’s successful request for money for the Glendale interchange from the federal government’s Regional Development Australia Fund.

    No doubt Hunter organisations can do more to ensure their submissions meet funding application guidelines and fit neatly with each other’s ideas.

    But most Hunter people won’t readily accept advance blame for government decisions to cut them out of funding programs. Indeed, many people in this region are becoming more and more convinced that the real reason their needs keep being pushed to the bottom of federal and state priority lists is political.

    The Hunter’s infrastructure requirements have repeatedly been made known to government. If government chooses, again, to ignore those needs, it will be because it suits government to do so.

    Marvellous Maddi

    GILLIESTON Heights golden girl Maddi Elliott has won plenty of hearts, as well as medals, with her plucky efforts at the London Paralympic Games.

    At just 13, Maddi has become Australia’s youngest Paralympic gold medallist, taking first place in the freestyle relay alongside teammates Jacqui Freney, Ellie Cole and Katherine Downie.

    Apparently unfazed by the pressures of top-level competition, Maddy has carved chunks off her personal best times, surprising everybody with her performances.

    With a bronze medal last Friday and a silver on Monday, the young swimmer now has a medal in every colour from the games. She also has thousands of new fans who will be cheering her on in her remaining events this week.


  3. Dart Energy fights need for impact statement

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    October 9, 2019 by admin

    LAST week’s residents’ blockade of Dart Energy’s pilot coal seam gas project at Fullerton Cove cost the company between $16,000 and $22,000 a day, the Land and Environment Court heard yesterday.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Dart Energy is fighting an injunction to stop all work on the project until an environmental impact study has been undertaken.

    Fullerton Cove Residents’ Group barrister Verity Williams told the court that the assessments being relied on to gain approval for the project were scientifically and legally flawed.

    She said an urgent injunction was necessary to prevent irreparable damage occurring to the site before the group’s case for an environmental impact study had been heard.

    “If we are ultimately successful we will not have a remedy [if the injunction is not granted]. The work will have been carried out and the horse will have bolted,” she said.

    Ms Williams said evidence suggested the project would affect three aquifers: Stockton, Tomago and Tomaree. It was also on a floodplain and within two metres of the groundwater table.

    The residents’ challenge to the project is regarded as a test case for other coal seam gas projects in the Hunter and elsewhere in the state.

    The company argued that it should not have to undertake an environmental impact study because it had received all necessary state and Commonwealth approvals.

    The company’s barrister Craig Leggat cited a Hunter Water Corporation letter, which said the project would not adversely affect the Tomago beds.

    He said all available evidence indicated the project would not cause lasting environmental damage. If the project did not proceed to the production stage the two pilot wells would be capped.

    “The project will affect two hectares of pasture that will be rehabilitated,” Mr Leggat said.

    Justice Terry Sheahan will deliver judgment in the case this afternoon. If an injunction is granted, it will be followed by a further hearing about the need for an environmental impact study.

    BLOCKADE: The Fullerton Cove CSG protest. – Picture: Peter Stoop


  4. Big plans for Wangi Queen

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    October 9, 2019 by admin

    THE iconic Wangi Queen left Lake Macquarie yesterday bound for its new home on Sydney Harbour.
    Nanjing Night Net

    The timber vessel was on the lake as a party boat for almost 40 years, but will return to the harbour where it worked from the 1940s to ’70s.

    Marmong Point Marina owner Les Binkin said he sold the vessel to Sydney Harbour Tall Ships.

    “The operator will renovate and recondition it,” Mr Binkin said.

    Mr Binkin said it would have cost him up to $700,000 to “bring it back to new condition”.

    “We wanted to keep the boat operating, but it became tired and needs a rebuild,” Mr Binkin said.

    He was pleased the new owners had said they would retain the vessel’s name and heritage.

    The boat was listed for sale for $115,000, but the sale price was confidential.

    “Sydney Harbour Tall Ships have the shipwrights and finance and they charter timber boat cruises,” he said.

    The new owners said yesterday the Wangi Queen would be berthed at Campbell’s Cove, The Rocks, and used for ‘Convict Castles and Champagne’ tours to Goat Island.

    Mr Binkin said he was planning to invest up to $800,000 in a 70-seat floating restaurant on the pontoon where the Wangi Queen was moored at his marina.

    “It will be very unique to NSW and great for Lake Macquarie,” he said.

    Speers Point resident Graham Burgess named the Wangi Queen when he brought the vessel to Lake Macquarie in 1974.

    “I had her for 30 years,” Mr Burgess said.

    “We did more than 900 weddings onboard and we think we carried our millionth tourist just prior to selling it.”

    Mr Burgess said his vessel became an icon, especially on Christmas Eve.

    “Up to 25,000 people would gather on the shore to see Christmas lights and Santa onboard,” he said.

    “It’s the end of an era and a sad day.”

    The vessel was built at Empire Bay on the Central Coast in 1922 and initially was named “Ettalong”.

    GOODBYE: The iconic Wangi Queen leaves Lake Macquarie.


  5. GALLERY 3: My Hunter, My Way

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    October 9, 2019 by admin

    HUNTER newshounds have helped drive the Newcastle Herald’s new offering to the top of Australia’s iPhone news application rankings.
    Nanjing Night Net

    So far more than 8000 people have upgraded from the original app or downloaded the new version in under a week.

    The Herald was No.1 in the App Store free news category at the weekend, and remained in the top five yesterday.

    To download the app, click here.

    Officially unveiled on Saturday, the next-generation app features a new “Report” function that allow readers to make and break the news.

    Readers can contribute to special assignments and have the ability to email tips to our newsroom straight from a button on the iPhone app.

    The first assignment – to send in a photograph of favourite places in the Hunter region – has already drawn hundreds of responses.

    My Hunter, My Way – iPhone app submissions

    Check out the hundreds of fabulous images that have been submitted by our readers by browsing through the carousel above, andclickinghereandhere.

    Newcastle Newspapers advertising manager Jason King said the app also provided easier and better access for the 50,000 or so iPhone unique users who each month visit theherald南京夜网.au website.

    My Hunter, My Way – iPhone app submissions

    My Hunter, My Way – iPhone app submissions

    My Hunter, My Way – iPhone app submissions

    My Hunter, My Way – iPhone app submissions

    My Hunter, My Way – iPhone app submissions

    My Hunter, My Way – iPhone app submissions

    My Hunter, My Way – iPhone app submissions

    My Hunter, My Way – iPhone app submissions

    My Hunter, My Way – iPhone app submissions

    My Hunter, My Way – iPhone app submissions

    My Hunter, My Way – iPhone app submissions

    My Hunter, My Way – iPhone app submissions

    My Hunter, My Way – iPhone app submissions

    My Hunter, My Way – iPhone app submissions

    My Hunter, My Way – iPhone app submissions

    My Hunter, My Way – iPhone app submissions

    My Hunter, My Way – iPhone app submissions

    My Hunter, My Way – iPhone app submissions

    My Hunter, My Way – iPhone app submissions

    My Hunter, My Way – iPhone app submissions

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    My Hunter, My Way – iPhone app submissions

    My Hunter, My Way – iPhone app submissions

    My Hunter, My Way – iPhone app submissions

    My Hunter, My Way – iPhone app submissions

    My Hunter, My Way – iPhone app submissions

    “The response has been terrific,” Mr King said.

    My Hunter, My Way – iPhone app submissions

    My Hunter, My Way – iPhone app submissions

    My Hunter, My Way – iPhone app submissions

    My Hunter, My Way – iPhone app submissions

    My Hunter, My Way – iPhone app submissions

    My Hunter, My Way – iPhone app submissions

    My Hunter, My Way – iPhone app submissions

    My Hunter, My Way – iPhone app submissions

    My Hunter, My Way – iPhone app submissions

    My Hunter, My Way – iPhone app submissions

    My Hunter, My Way – iPhone app submissions

    My Hunter, My Way – iPhone app submissions

    My Hunter, My Way – iPhone app submissions

    My Hunter, My Way – iPhone app submissions

    My Hunter, My Way – iPhone app submissions

    My Hunter, My Way – iPhone app submissions

    My Hunter, My Way – iPhone app submissions

    My Hunter, My Way – iPhone app submissions

    My Hunter, My Way – iPhone app submissions

    My Hunter, My Way – iPhone app submissions

    My Hunter, My Way – iPhone app submissions

    My Hunter, My Way – iPhone app submissions

    My Hunter, My Way – iPhone app submissions

    My Hunter, My Way – iPhone app submissions

    My Hunter, My Way – iPhone app submissions

    My Hunter, My Way – iPhone app submissions

    My Hunter, My Way – iPhone app submissions

    My Hunter, My Way – iPhone app submissions

    My Hunter, My Way – iPhone app submissions

    My Hunter, My Way – iPhone app submissions

    My Hunter, My Way – iPhone app submissions

    My Hunter, My Way – iPhone app submissions

    My Hunter, My Way – iPhone app submissions

    My Hunter, My Way – iPhone app submissions


  6. News and red carpet pics from the Dally Ms 

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    September 12, 2019 by admin

    KNIGHTS wrecking ball Aku Uate was crowned Dally M winger of the year last night for a third straight season.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Despite being dropped by NSW coach Ricky Stuart for the State of Origin decider mid-season, Uate became the first winger since Dragons speedster Nathan Blacklock (1999-2001) to be judged the best finisher in the game for three consecutive years.

    Uate was acknowledged at the annual Dally M Medal awards presentation at Sydney Town Hall last night.

    Uate thanked his Knights team-mates and coaches, family and friends, and said he did not use his Origin dumping as motivation during the second half of the season.

    “Not really. I just moved on and wanted to improve myself, and hopefully I’ll get another chance next year,” Uate said.

    The other three nominees for winger of the year were Brett Morris (Dragons), Ash Graham (Cowboys) and Manu Vatuvei (Warriors).

    Uate, who turns 25 next month, was the Dally M winger of the year in 2010 and 2011.

    Uate (18 tries) was the NRL’s third top try-scorer this season, finishing behind Canterbury’s Ben Barba and North Queensland’s Ash Graham (21 each).

    It was the third straight year that Uate was Newcastle’s top try-scorer, as he took his career total to 70 from 90 NRL games.

    An Australian representative in the Anzac Test in Auckland in April, Uate played for NSW in the first two games of the State of Origin series this year but was dropped for the Suncorp Stadium decider on July 4, which Queensland won 21-20.

    The Fijian-born flyer responded to that setback by scoring tries in nine consecutive games for the Knights, taking his season tally from six to 18, but he went try-less in their last two matches.

    Uate and Barba led the NRL in line breaks this year with 25 each, he was equal fourth in tackle breaks (110), seventh in total metres (3184) and 11th in average metres (144.7).

    He and fullback Darius Boyd were the only Newcastle players named on Monday in the Kangaroos train-on squad for the one-off Test against New Zealand at Townsville on October 13.

    CROWNED: Aku Uate on the red carpet with partner Samantha Maton.

    Ben Barba, 2012 Dally M medal winner.

    Dale Cherry Evans at the Dally M awards.

    Ben Barba.

    Todd Carney and Lauren Eagle.

    Rabbitohs players Sam Burgess with John Sutton arriving at the Dally M Awards at Sydney Town Hall.

    Bulldogs player Michael Ennis and wife Simone arriving at the Dally M Awards at Sydney Town Hall.

    Cronulla player Paul Gallen and wife Anne arrive at the Dally M Awards at Sydney Town Hall.

    Rabbitohs player Greg Inglis and partner Sally arrive at the Dally M Awards at Sydney Town Hall.

    Darren Lockyer and wife Loren arrive at the Dally M Awards at Sydney Town Hall.

    Top pointscorer Jarrod Crocker, of the Canberra Raiders.


  7. Dutchy wins more time to get results 

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    September 12, 2019 by admin

    GARY van Egmond has two years to turn a batch of exciting youngsters into a champion A-League outfit.
    Nanjing Night Net

    As reported on the Herald’s website yesterday, van Egmond has signed a one-year contract extension and will be at the helm of the Jets until the end of the 2013-14 season.

    His retention is the first of a series of announcements expected this week.

    Home-grown goalkeeper Ben Kennedy has been offered another two years on top of his existing deal, which expires at the end of the season.

    The Herald also understands the Jets are in the final stage of negotiations with an Italian striker.

    One person not in the club’s plans is recently appointed strength and conditioning coach Tim Rogers.

    Six weeks after arriving from Stade Francais Paris rugby club, Rogers is understood to have parted ways with the Jets.

    Van Egmond’s new deal has essentially given the 2007-08 championship-winning coach breathing space, more time to perfect the changes he introduced to the team’s playing style and culture when thrust into the hot seat four games into last season.

    The Jets squad, assembled by the sacked Branko Culina, finished seventh of 10, two points out of the play-offs.

    The campaign, though disappointing, was not a complete write-off.

    Winning remained the priority, but van Egmond also used the season as a measuring stick for the future.

    Adopting a blueprint used by Ange Postecoglou at two-time defending champions the Roar, he released players who did not have the physical attributes or the mindset to play his up-tempo, possession-based game.

    Crowd favourites Tarek Elrich and Ali Abbas, 2010-11 player of the year Nikolai Topor-Stanley, leading goal-scorer Jeremy Brockie, former Premier League star Francis Jeffers and former Socceroo Kasey Wehrman were among the 11 let go.

    In their place he recruited players light on years and heavy on pace and athleticism. James Brown, Scott Neville, Craig Goodwin, Adam Taggart and Josh Brillante have both in spades.

    Apart from Neville, who at 23 has 63 A-League appearances, what they lack is experience and a wealth of goals.

    The average age of the squad, excluding apprentices, is 23.

    New imports Dominik Ritter and Bernardo Ribeiro are 23 and 22 respectively.

    Of the strike force, Ryan Griffiths and veteran Englishman Michael Bridges are the only ones with a history of goal-scoring. Griffiths is coming off nine last season. Bridges was prolific early in his Premier League career but has scored three times in the past two seasons.

    Van Egmond is looking to the future rather than the past. Significantly, there is no marquee player.

    Eight of a maximum 23-man roster are products of Newcastle or Northern NSW.

    Clearly van Egmond is prepared to gamble on youth.

    The expected announcement tomorrow of an alliance between the Jets and Northern NSW Football from under-10s through to youth league will be another sign of that investment.

    ‘‘I see a bright future, for this season and for many years to come, in both the development of the players and in the total culture of the club,’’ van Egmond said in a statement issued by the club confirming his contract extension yesterday.

    “It is exciting times for the Newcastle Jets Football Club; we have a great representation of local talent in our senior group and near 100per cent in our youth team.’’

    Van Egmond encountered his first obstacle yesterday with scans confirming that Brown needs an operation to remove bone spurs from his ankle and will miss the start of the season.

    No doubt more challenges lie ahead.

    Van Egmond has always said he will be judged on results. Now he has another 12 months to get them.

    Gary van Egmond


  8. Fajkovic scores praise for loyal return 

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    September 12, 2019 by admin

    SOUTH Cardiff have lauded the loyalty of Dino Fajkovic after the now former Jets Youth speedster rejected richer offers from rival state league clubs to return to the Gunners next season.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Fajkovic, who is now too old for the National Youth League roster, is one of several players the Jets have released since the end of their youth side’s inaugural state league campaign.

    The Herald has been told captain Mason Campbell, Andrew Hoole, Kale Bradbery, Michael Finlayson and Luke Remington are among the players retained.

    South Cardiff secretary Brad Robb confirmed the signing of Fajkovic and his brother Denis Fajkovic, a former Hamilton and Valentine striker, yesterday.

    Robb said Dino had attracted money the Gunners could not match but he had come back to the club that gave him a chance in first grade in 2011.

    Fajkovic, who came from Hamilton, was a key player in South Cardiff’s State Cup victory and run to the grand final and was rewarded with a Jets NYL deal.

    ■ Lake Macquarie have pulled off a double goalkeeping coup, gaining the services of New Zealand national team keeping coach Clint Gosling and promising shot-stopper Nicholas Hartnett.

    Gosling, a former Jets keeping coach, played with Roosters coach Chris Turner at Wallsend and has agreed to coach Lake Macquarie’s shot-stoppers. Hartnett, from Belmont Christian College, was this year’s NSW All Schools goalkeeper.

    ■ Jet Ryan Griffiths will be guest speaker when Wallsend hold their 125th anniversary dinner at Wallsend Diggers on Saturday night.

    One of their former Socceroos, Jack O’Brien, will also speak at the function.

    Tickets are $65 and include a two-course meal.

    For bookings or further information contact Ross Hicks on 0488248369.

    ■ Hunter Sports High lost 2-1 to Westfields Sports High in the semi-finals of the Bill Turner Trophy girls’ competition at Jack McLaughlan Oval yesterday.

    Dino Fajkovic


  9. Kantarovski out of final after ref error

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    September 12, 2019 by admin

    BROADMEADOW Magic teenager Michael Kantarovski has sensationally been suspended for the Northern NSW State League grand final against Hamilton Olympic after a referee’s paperwork error from more than two weeks ago was discovered yesterday.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Kantarovski, 17, received a yellow card in the 2-1 preliminary final win over Edgeworth on Sunday, but Broadmeadow believed it was his first of the finals and he would be free to play in the decider.

    Two yellow cards in the finals lead to a one-game ban.

    Heading into the Eagles match, Magic asked for and received a print-out of yellow-card offenders from NNSWF.

    Broadmeadow believed Kantarovski, who wears number 15, had been booked in the 3-2 win over the Jets two weeks earlier, but centre back Jon Griffiths, who wears 14, was listed by referee Tim McGilchrist as the offender.

    Magic coach Damien Smith said the club had told NNSWF of the discrepancy before the match against Edgeworth but were told to ‘‘go off’’ the yellow-card sheet provided.

    After the match, Magic asked NNSWF to investigate their players’ yellow-card situation due to fears over Griffiths.

    During the investigation, McGilchrist said he had erred after the Jets-Magic match in marking Griffiths on the team sheet as having a yellow card instead of Kantarovski.

    Smith said Magic were upset a referee’s error had played a role in denying Kantarovski a grand final.

    ‘‘We went into the game last weekend altering our game plan knowing that Jonny Griffiths was on a yellow card and Kantarovski wasn’t,’’ Smith said. ‘‘It’s no error of ours.

    ‘‘We got the print-out and our players were aware of it going into the game. We told Griff to be careful and Michael that you’re not on a yellow, and if you need to make a challenge, you can make it.’’

    Kantarovski, the youngest brother of Jets midfielder Ben Kantarovski, has become a key starting player for Magic.

    Smith said losing Kantarovski was a blow for Magic, who have captain John Bennis (ankle) and Peter Haynes (shoulder) in doubt.

    ‘‘He’s been our most consistent performer the last two weeks,’’ Smith said

    NNSWF operations manager Alan Nisbet said there was no grounds to appeal against a yellow-card ban due to special circumstances.

    ‘‘Unfortunately the referee has erred, but the fact is Michael has received two yellow cards and he has to sit out the next game,’’ Nisbet said.

    He said Magic might have picked up the error immediately after the qualifying final against the Jets had their manager signed the team sheet.

    Michael Kantarovski


  10. Lessons of the last 2012 NRL round

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    September 12, 2019 by admin

    Six things we learnt from last weekend.
    Nanjing Night Net

    1.As expected the cut-off point for finals football was 28 points.

    But the big surprise was that only one team finished on the minimum and that our eight was not ultimately decided by differential for and against.

    For a number of clubs it was a case of missed opportunity, with Wests Tigers, Gold Coast and Newcastle all winning just one of their last four matches and St George Illawarra two of four to all fall short.

    This allowed Brisbane to hang on and Canberra to finish with a wet sail to somehow snare sixth spot.

    Only four clubs have been able to put finals qualification back-to-back: Melbourne, Manly, North Queensland and Brisbane.

    The Tigers, Dragons, Warriors and Knights were all unable to emulate their loftier finish in 2011.

    The biggest fall from grace goes to last season’s grand finalists, the Warriors, who after last year’s home-and-away matches finished in fifth position after 14 wins and 10 losses.

    Fast-forward 12 months and the New Zealanders rounded out this campaign 14th on the ladder with just eight victories and 16 defeats. They lost their last eight in a row.

    There is no doubt that a top-eight finals series keeps interest in the competition right up until round 26, but there does remain the argument that such a system rewards mediocrity.

    This season Brisbane qualify having lost as many games as they won.

    2.The Canterbury club have the distinction of finishing as minor premiers in all three grades, which is an outstanding reflection on their depth of talent, quality of coaching and recruitment. These days all three sides rarely train together, but the unified success is still something that players throughout first grade, Toyota Cup and NSW Cup will all draw from and give them enormous confidence going into the next month of football.

    The last time a club finished in top spot in each grade was the Canberra Raiders in 1990.

    They went on to take out both first grade and the under-21 President’s Cup titles that year.

    We have to go all the way back to 1963 for a club to have won all three premierships, and it is no surprise that it was the mighty St George who reigned supreme.

    3.South Sydney’s Michael Maguire became the third man in the past 10 years to steer a side into a top-four finish in his first season as a top-grade NRL coach.

    He joins Ricky Stuart and Anthony Griffin in achieving such a feat and has made a strong impression since taking over the Rabbitohs after a successful stint in the English Super League.

    There’s no doubt that Souths have had an abundance of talent in recent years but were too loose and lacked the grunt to grind out finals-type matches.

    This season they have looked mentally tougher under pressure.

    In fact over the past month they have almost played too conservatively, which is not the kind of statement I thought I would ever make about the Rabbits.

    I’ve a feeling that Maguire will still call for high completion rates, but from this weekend there will be a licence to be a little bit more adventurous with the football to fully take advantage of their obvious strike power.

    For the record, Stuart won the competition in 2002 with the Roosters. Griffin’s Broncos bowed out in last year’s grand final qualifier.

    4.Cronulla’s Ben Pomeroy could not have chosen a worse time to come up with a contentious shoulder charge after the ARL Commission released an edict that any such infringements would be referred straight to the judiciary.

    Radio commentator Terry Kennedy made a reasonable analogy in comparing it to a ‘‘double demerit’’ period when driving a car.

    I actually don’t mind the move and its timing by the Commission, as I see it as a general warning across the board concerning a tackle that has carried much controversy.

    It’s not saying don’t shoulder charge – just don’t get it wrong.

    That, to me, would be enough to tell my players not to tackle in such a fashion because the percentages are way too low and are now even lower.

    Yet I did think that there was some doubt as to whether Pomeroy made contact with the head of Johnathan Thurston, but the very timing of Ben’s appearance in front of tonight’s panel is going to make it difficult to get off.

    5.Those who argue that a side should be able to call on an 18th man if they lose a player due to foul play early in a contest were given more weight following the St George Illawarra-Parramatta clash on Sunday.

    The Dragons lost the services of prop Josh Miller in the opening minute after a high tackle by the Eels’ Reni Maitua. While the tackler was placed on report the red and whites were forced to continue on a player short for the duration of the match.

    This has occurred a couple of times this season.

    Ironically it was Parramatta who suffered a similar fate in round 19 when Fuifui Moimoi was taken out by the Bulldogs’ Sam Kasiano when returning the opening kick-off.

    Kasiano was also placed on report. Despite being found to have no case to answer on closer inspection by the judiciary, the tackle was still deemed to have been illegal on the night.

    I’m not quite sure how having a designated 18th man coming in to cover such a situation would work, but I have heard the suggestion that it could be a consideration up until the 20-minute mark.

    6.You will hear that the upcoming finals is something of a ‘‘new’’ competition but I can tell you that whatever has been good enough to get teams this far will go a long way towards achieving continued success.

    Sides are not about to introduce change to the way they approach their football, they’ll just want to be better at it. What they will try to do is come up with some slight variations to what they have produced during the regular rounds. We saw a perfect example from the Bulldogs against the Roosters.

    In the opposition 20 Canterbury have had plenty of joy with Michael Ennis passing from dummy-half and employing a runaround with his first receiver.

    After getting the ball back the hooker has kept it going the same way, with his outside attackers often benefiting from the overlap that the play has helped develop.

    Against the tri-colours, instead of giving the ball to Ennis after he had doubled around, the first receiver fired a pass to the blind side, which saw Josh Jackson cross for the first of his three tries on the night.

    It will be what all eight remaining sides are trying to achieve – to continue what has worked and then do it better.

    WINNERS AND LOSERS: Sterlo says there are six things we should take away from the final NRL round.