New-look Melbourne take early lead

Hakim Warrick dunks against the Hawks on Sunday.HIGH-SCORING Melbourne United emerged as the only team with a 2-0 record after the first week of the NBL season.

Melbourne followed up their 99-84 away win over Townsville on Friday with a 93-81 home victory over Illawarra on Sunday.

Of the other five teams to play twice in round one, Adelaide, Cairns and New Zealand all split their matches, while Townsville and Illawarra both suffered two losses.

Perth and Sydney each won their only game.

Melbourne posted the two biggest team scores of the round and justified the pre-season buzz, suggesting their revamped roster under new coach Dean Demopoulos could be the one to beat.

Former NBA player Hakim Warrick did well off the bench, scoring 21 points on eight-of-11 shooting against Townsville.

He scored 14 points in 21 minutes against the Hawks, who were missing the injured Rhys Martin and Kevin Lisch.

Another off-season recruit, Todd Blanchfield, scored 29 points against his former club Townsville, nailing seven of nine three-pointers, and backed up with 15 points and 15 boards against Illawarra, for whom AJ Ogilvy tallied 20 points, 15 boards and three blocks.

Chris Goulding, who has returned to Melbourne this season, torched the Hawks for 26 points, although he missed nine of 13 long-range attempts.

“We’ve had some stretches that aren’t pretty,” Goulding told Fox Sports. “Myself, I’ve been a bit rusty. Some of the other guys would probably say the same thing, so we’ve got a lot of work to do. But to start 2-0, you obviously couldn’t ask for anything better.”

Reigning champions New Zealand Breakers started their bid for a fifth title in six seasons with a 90-71 away loss to Adelaide.

Back home on Sunday, they notched a 89-81 victory over Townsville despite being without captain Mika Vukona, whose run of 311 consecutive appearances was ended by a hamstring injury.

Last season’s losing grand finalists, Cairns, followed up a 79-74 home win over Illawarra with a 87-63 loss at Sydney.

Sparked by 22 points, nine rebounds and five blocks from returning centre Julian Khazzouh, the Kings overcame the late withdrawal of former NBA player Josh Childress with a foot injury and the bad vibes caused by their form at the pre-season tournament.

“Our backs were against the wall as far as the perception of no Childress, no win,” Kings coach Damian Cotter said.

“I give these blokes a lot of credit for the way they’ve conducted themselves the last two weeks since the Blitz.”

New import guard Markel Starks struggled in both of the Taipans’ first-round games, but Cairns coach Aaron Fearne was unhappy with the team effort against Sydney.

Perth produced a 15-0 run in the last five minutes to win 79-66 in Adelaide.

Trainers concerned about the firm Caulfield track as star fail to perform

Feeling the effects: Kermedec ridden earlier by Glyn Schofield (blue cap) to win the George Main Stakes. Photo: bradleyphotos杭州龙凤论坛m.auTrainers had real concerns about the firmness of the Caulfield track on Saturday. Several horses failed to find anything extra in the straight because they were feeling the effects of the hard ground, including Kermadec, Contributer and Fawkner in the Caulfield Stakes. Mick Price felt Lankan Rupee’s failure in the Schillaci Stakes was because of bone soreness, which was exacerbated by the firm ground.

Godolphin trainer John O’Shea said he would not not risk Complacent, which has a history of leg problems, on a track such as Saturday’s if he was to get a run in the Caulfield Cup. Premier trainer Chris Waller made a lot of sense, saying trainers simply wanted a true guide as to what the ground might be. He suggested stewards should take control of the track at 3pm on the day before raceday to help get a consistency of ratings. Trainers understand hot weather means firm tracks but they want to know their horses will return home without jarring up. It is not just that they might underperform  on the hard track but that subsequent runs are also put in jeopardy.

Schofield ‘double’

It was a big day for the Schofield family at Randwick on Saturday. Just before Glyn won the Spring Champion Stakes on Vanbrugh, his daughter Whitney took out fashions on the field.

“[ATC media man] Brett Devine came in and told me I had the pressure on me to match her,” Schofield said. “Nathan [Berry, Whitney’s late husband] always said she should go in the fashions and that was the first one she has. It was great for her and the prizes were unbelievable. She got more than $30,000 of flights and other stuff for winning and I only got $16,000 for winning the Spring Champion. I still paid for dinner at the Cubby House on Saturday night, though.” The win on Vanbrugh took Schofield to the equal leading group 1 jockey in the country for the season on three wins with Hugh Bowman. Schofield has  had only eight group 1 rides, but  he has also had two placings and a fourth to go with the wins on Boban, Kermadec and Vanbrugh.

Randwick success

The second Saturday in October has become the runaway success of the spring in the 21st century. The strong Caulfield Guineas attracted more than 20,000 in Melbourne,  but the revelation has been Spring Champion Stakes day at Randwick. In the three years since it became a group 1 day it has built a tradition of its own. There were 18,250 on course on Saturday and it was a young, vibrant crowd enjoying some great racing and some of the sponsor’s product, Moet & Chandon.

Quaddie clean-up

One punter was on target with the Melbourne quaddie on Saturday, cleaning up Ladbrokes for more than $133,000 as he found the winners of the last four races at Caulfield. He had $250 on the quaddie, but  it could have been worse for the bookmaker. After finding Lucky Hussler among three selections in the first leg, he one-outed Stay With Me and Press Statement, before banking on  favourite Politeness and Wawail in the last leg. The pair hit the line together with favourite Politeness getting the nod.

Big statement pays off

Chris Waller is a great judge and a tip to friend Tony Muollo proved  very wise with Press Statement’s Caulfield Guineas win on Saturday. “When we had Pressday [also a group 1 winner], Chris said before he raced he goes all right. He said we should look at getting another one from the mare. I went out and brought the mare privately and got her cheap, I won’t say how much,” Muollo said. “I didn’t think I would get a horse like this from her, though.” Muollo sold 50per cent of Press Statement before this preparation. “I got a good price and for him to do that is great for everyone.”

Five minutes with QT forager Georgie Neal

QT forager Georgie Neal. Photo: Daniel SpellmanIn the City Issue 23: full edition

​QT Hotels & Resorts is changing the face of its food supply chain to bring some seasonal and specialised produce straight from the producer to the plate.

It is excited to announce the appointment of Georgie Neal to the newly-created role of forager, which will see her establish a close working relationship with farmers and growers nationwide to source fresh, seasonal produce for QT’s award-winning restaurants including Canberra’s own Capitol Bar & Grill.

Which is an average day on the job like for you?

There is no such thing as an average day, every day is different. I’m usually on the road trying to see as many growers as I can because that face-to-face interaction with them is so important and I don’t think you can build the sorts of relationships I have with them from talking over the phone. Its old-school and there’s also lots of research.

Which growers and farmers have you found for Capitol Bar & Grill?

When I first came on board, I visited the Capital Region Farmers Market at EPIC and discovered some really stand-out producers there. The king of heritage apples is only 20 minutes from here, they’re called Loriendale Orchard, there’s also a great potato and garlic grower towards Cooma, and Braidwood is also really amazing. Once you speak to one person they will tell you about someone else and so on. It’s really exciting.

Why is it so important for restaurants to be supporting local growers?

Food is such a fundamental part of life, it’s not just an economic thing. I think we all really need to eat predominately what is grown in the region and what is grown seasonally. Why buy something that is not grown here when you can? I think it’s really the foundation of what dining should be all about. People are so caught up in being able to buy everything year round by walking into a supermarket, but produce doesn’t come in plastic bags and cling-wrapped, they come from the ground, it’s picked fresh and when you eat it straight away it has so much flavour, it hasn’t been gassed or cold-stored – it’s just so fresh. We’re not doing anything ground-breaking but Capitol Bar & Grill is really progressive in the way it wants to celebrate growers’ stories. It’s a genuine desire to support what people are doing and the extraordinary work that goes into making our food. As we change the menu we are really trying to work in reverse to how most restaurants work. We want to know what’s about to be in season and work with growers to use those ingredients – a more holistic vision of sustainability. The thing I love is that there is no limit to what we can do.

Where did your passion for food derive from?

I grew up in a food-mad family. We got together for all those special occasions, Christmas and birthdays, and that was what brought us all together and really instilled that love of food, culture and simple life into me. I’ve always been passionate about food, I’ve always read cookbooks instead of novels in bed and I absolutely love cooking. Entertaining and cooking for the people you love is the richest part of life. It’s such an instant pleasure and it’s very rewarding. Being a city girl there’s also that other side of my life that is enriched by seeing the origins of food and it’s really humbling being able to look at food differently.

What do you love most about your job?

Growers taking you into their heart and you become like their family. It’s so much more than just business for me, those relationships are everything and mean the world to me. I get really emotional about it because people are so generous with their time and knowledge and I just feel really, really lucky to be a part of it.

Capitol Bar & Grill A: 1 London Circuit, Canberra City W: qtcanberra杭州龙凤论坛

Lowndes on Brock’s pace after sixth Bathurst 1000 win

Craig Lowndes salutes the crowd after winning at Bathurst on Sunday. Picture: Getty ImagesCOMPARISONS with touring car legend Peter Brock still make Craig Lowndes uneasy.

But they will not be going away any time soon after the Holden veteran stormed to a remarkable sixth Bathurst 1000 crown at Mount Panorama on Sunday.

Any doubts over Lowndes’ V8 Supercars greatness were lost in the remarkable roar that greeted the popular 41-year-old on top of the podium beside co-driver Steven Richards. They finished the epic 161-lap enduro less than one second ahead of Ford’s Mark Winterbottom and Steve Owen.

Holden’s Garth Tander and Warren Luff were third.

Incredibly, it marked a record 13th Bathurst podium for Lowndes, leapfrogging Brock, Richards’ father, Jim, and Larry Perkins.

Lowndes has now won five of the past 10 Bathurst titles.

But he shifted uncomfortably when talk inevitably turned to equalling Brock’s once untouchable record of nine Bathurst wins.

“I said it was doubtful. Nine times is a lot of wins,” he said after his victory, which marked Holden’s record 30th on the mountain. “He was instrumental in helping me when I first came to the place.

“It’s an honour to have our names on that trophy.”

The victory ushered in another awkward topic for Lowndes: will he win his first championship since 1999?

His 101st career win helped Lowndes jump from fourth to second in the standings, just 399 points behind series leader Winterbottom with four rounds left.

“It’s a possibility, but I will need a DNF or two from Frosty to have a chance,” Lowndes said.

Next is the double-points Gold Coast 600 enduro from October 23, where Lowndes will again partner Richards.

Three-time V8 series champ Lowndes started from 15th on the grid, his worst Bathurst qualifying.

Yet he emerged with the lead in the pit-lane frenzy that followed the fourth and final safety car after Ford driver Scott Pye’s crash, setting up a final 20 lap sprint finish.

By the final lap Lowndes had established a three-second lead over Winterbottom, who had overcome two black flag penalties for electrical gremlins that affected his brake lights.

It gave Lowndes the chance to slow down and savour his final lap in front of his adoring fans on the mountain.

It made up for last year’s Bathurst debacle. Lowndes blamed sun glare for late-race contact on Winterbottom that ended both their Bathurst 1000 hopes with eight laps left.

Defending V8 series champion Jamie Whincup again left Mount Panorama a frustrated man.

Whincup was second when he was sensationally dropped to the back of the field with 20 laps left after ignoring team orders and being penalised for overtaking a safety car. AAP


9 Peter Brock

7 Jim Richards

6 Craig Lowndes, Larry Perkins, Mark Skaife

4 Steven Richards, Allan Moffat, Greg Murphy, Jamie Whincup

3 Dick Johnson, Garth Tander


13 Craig Lowndes

12 Peter Brock, Jim Richards, Larry Perkins

10 Mark Skaife

8 Greg Murphy


30 Holden

19 Ford

2 Nissan

1 Morris, Jaguar, BMW, Volvo

THEY were considered ‘‘a million to one’’ to finish their first Bathurst 1000.

And the first all-female team to contest the epic enduro since 1998 probably would have taken those odds after finding the Mount Panorama wall early on Sunday.

But before the cynics could say ‘‘I told you so’’, the wildcard entry were back on track well within the lap-55 deadline after somehow repairing their severely damaged Ford.

Applause erupted amid high fives throughout their garage after IndyCar driver Simona de Silvestro finally got a chance to get behind the wheel with 108 laps left in the Great Race.

The mood could not have been more different barely an hour earlier.

Co-driver Renee Gracie fought back tears after sliding on fluid from David Wall’s Volvo and slamming into the wall at Forrest’s Elbow on just the 15th of the 161-lap Great Race.

De Silvestro could not hide her disappointment in the garage as Gracie somehow reversed out of the wall and nursed her severely damaged Ford back to the pits.

‘‘There was bloody fluid on the road and I’m in the wall. I’m so sorry,’’ Gracie told race engineer Paul Ceprnich on the team radio.

‘‘I’m coming back to the pits now. The steering’s stuffed.’’

The team finished the race 21st, a distant 40 laps down on the leaders and 35 laps down on 20th-placed Todd Kelly.

The all-female team had arrived at Mount Panorama with plenty to prove after old school V8 great Dick Johnson claimed they were ‘‘a million to one’’ to finish.

Gracie fired back with: ‘‘Dick Johnson hasn’t finished heaps of races so he can’t talk’’.

PNG chiefs talk of civil unrest over unpopular Chinan bank deal

How Oil Search deal found trouble in Papua New GuineaLawyers: how to launder PNG money in PNG: the near neighbour that forgot

Until now, the tribal chiefs in Papua New Guinea have been happy to host a hugely profitable natural gas project on the slopes of their mountainous land.

It might have disrupted hunting grounds, ruined waterways and uprooted fruit and vegetables, but the money flowing from it also promised progress and development for the people.

So they stuck with a 2009 agreement to provide access and security to a $US19 billion ExxonMobil PNG liquid natural gas project, which has given ‘s nearest neighbour one of the highest GDP growth rates on earth.

All that, though, could change. They are threatening to “turn off the taps” after the PNG government barred their n lawyers from entering the country.

It was the final straw for the deal that has turned increasingly sour for local tribesmen in the mountainous Hela province, where the majority of the gas is sourced.

ExxonMobil, n company Oil Search, and the PNG governments have all received profits ahead of schedule, but the local people say they are missing out.

Under the deal struck in 2009 to allow the gas project to go ahead, the tribesmen and women are entitled to exercise an option to buy a 4.2 per cent equity share, which could deliver upwards of US$6 billion over the project lifespan. .

But a Fairfax Media investigation can now reveal that a complex and unlikely deal inked in March last year between n bankers at Swiss firm UBS and close advisers of Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has unnerved tribal leaders.

They say the deal effectively “mortgaged” their equity to plug a widening fiscal hole in the government’s own finances. It’s clear that trust between these land owners, the PNG government and the bank has been obliterated.

Prime Minister O’Neill has moved quickly to attack the “politicised” leak of documents, as a Fairfax report on Friday dominated social media in the country over the weekend.

He pointed blame at the previous Somare government, skirted revelations that the PNG government had “surrendered” most of the potential upside to UBS, and promised that ongoing court proceedings would provide clarity.

Fairfax can now reveal that tribal chiefs are seeking a court injunction to prevent Mr O’Neill and UBS from having further dealings with their promised equity without their full consent.

And they are incensed that the PNG government has obstructed those court processes by banning their Queensland lawyer, Greg Egan, from entering the country.

Last week n diplomats dismissed the blacklisting of Mr Egan as a “private” matter. But matters such as this have a history in PNG of blowing up into much more than that.

The landowners cite the precedent of the civil war in Bougainville, which followed the failure of mining company Rio Tinto and governments in PNG and to adequately negotiate with local people.

“We fear that when the government runs out of money, they may touch our money and spend it elsewhere,” says Dickson Ango, a chief of the Buta people, who own much of the land beneath the Hapono Block near Hides gas field in the Southern Highlands Province.

“If they are stopping us from expressing our rights to the courts of the land, then our own people will ask the government to come and talk to us by way of other means, like sit-in protests.

“It may cost the project.”


Dickson Ango is old enough to remember how his elders used to carry around the bones of their ancestors before the missionaries came. They decorated those bones, and spoke with them. These days, bones are buried in the ground and traditional animist beliefs have been supplanted by Christianity.

But there are astonishing continuities between the old world and new.

“When the white-legged man came to this mountain, Gigira, they found one of the world’s highest quality natural gas fields – enough to bring light to hundreds of thousands of people,” says Ango, recalling the “prophesy” of his forefathers.

“We can see now that everything is happening according to that prophesy,” Ango says. “So I want to tell the future generation that we must live in appreciation of what God has done.”

Ango believes his people have been “chosen” to be custodians.

“God in his divine plan put all those resources on our land, where our forefathers lived, because he knew that we – these people of Hela – we are people who are able to share, people who can laugh with others, and able to share those benefits with the rest of PNG and are able to agree with the government and welcome the developers.”

But such agreements are not without cost.


Wandigo Kau is a clan leader from the area known as PDL 1, which supplies 57 per cent of the gas to the PNG LNG project. When he was born in 1982 there were no schools, no shops and certainly no doctors to help a mother giving birth.

Life was short. Like most of his contemporaries, chronic malaria had given him a hugely swollen spleen. His own baby child, however, has been born into a world of previously unimaginable possibilities.

“My child will have a modern standard,” Kau says. “Not like my life. My life was too hard.”

For all that’s been gained, though, much has also been lost. Kau can no longer go on long hunting treks through lush jungle, crossing the tumbling streams of Mount Gigira with bow and arrows strapped across his shoulder.

Now the cassowaries, hornbills and protein-laden pythons that Wandigo Kau used to hunt have been chased away by three well-pads, three quarries, a waste dump, a huge gas conditioning plant, nine kilometres of pipeline and a main road.

Kau’s home in Tugu Tapira is the most intensely impacted in the PDL-1 area, where the majority of gas is sourced.  But all his neighbours have similar stories.

“We have given up our land, our water, our hunting grounds, our food gardens, we have given everything,” says Hamule Ngiame.

A 2009 meeting of the PNG landowners before the deal was struck.


Ngiame, like Wandigo Kau and Dickson Ango, was one of the tribal leaders who travelled to Kokopo, in far-away East New Britain, to negotiate the 2009 agreement that got the project off the ground.

That meeting was an anthropological and logistical feat to rival the engineering that has followed. Thousands of clan leaders were flown to Kokopo and stayed for months of rolling talks, camping in Oil Search-issued tents, arm wrestling government leaders to work out how compensation should be apportioned and spoils divided.

Oil Search managing director Peter Botton says the scale of the discussion was unprecedented. “Where else would you get 5000 people to sit down and discuss the size of the pie, and thousands more to talk about how to divide it?”

The negotiating motto of the tribal chiefs was straightforward: “No equity, no gas.” 

Thousands of clan leaders attended the meeting.

Many wanted a 10 per cent share. In the end, they were happy to settle for 7 per cent, plus royalties and grants – 2.8 per cent would be paid up front and the remaining 4.2 per cent when the gas was flowing.

“It was a huge task to mobilise all the people because most of the people were illiterate,” says Andy Hamaga, a leader of the Jula and Aya clans. “It took us six solid weeks to negotiate.”

The corporations had already conducted a complex social mapping exercise to work out the entitlements of 60,000 people. They had to do it an area where traditional land ownership is relatively fluid, and partly contingent upon continual occupation. Meanwhile tens of thousands of migrants were arriving in search of work.

In the end: “We were satisfied.”

Hamaga says his people trusted then prime minister Sir Michael Somare, often referred to as the founding father of the nation, his son Arthur, then a cabinet minister, and the provincial governor, Anderson Agiru.

“They asked us to provide security to the project, which we did.”

Adding political intrigue, the land owner claims are being supported by Arthur Somare, who led the 2009 negotiations, and who is the son of Sir Michael Somare, who recently referred Mr O’Neill to a leadership misconduct tribunal.


Every three or four days a tanker leaves the Gulf of Papua for terminals in Japan, China and Taiwan, filled with tens of millions of dollars worth of gas, condensed at temperatures of minus-160 degrees into liquid form. Already, the $US19 billion investment in the highlands has expanded the GDP of ‘s closest neighbour by a staggering 25 per cent in just two years.

ExxonMobil, the US oil giant, delivered the project ahead of schedule. It has buoyed the share prices of n gas majors Oil Search and Santos, and it has poured hundreds of millions of dollars into PNG government coffers.

Port Moresby’s Grand Papua hotel is filled to bursting and the rents on expatriate apartments have gone through the roof.

But for the country’s 8 million citizens, the boom times never came. A World Bank report released lastweek declares that welfare standards might actually be going backwards.

The report also said PNG had breached its legislated debt level of 35 per cent of GDP by a considerable margin. More worrying, a mid-year Treasury update said the budget deficit for this year could blow out to 9 per cent of GDP without corrective action. Government services are not being delivered and bills are going unpaid.

Partly, PNG is suffering from a king-sized version of the resources bust also affecting . But mismanagement and cronyism are also to blame.

On the figures, the government might want to extract every kina of profit that it can from the “benefits-sharing” arrangement to give land owners their 4.2 per cent equity stake, which they are due to receive in the first half of next year.

And this is where Hela landowners, n investment bankers, and n and PNG politicians could all find themselves in the kind of serious conflict that, in the past, has led to civil war.


The fight is over the honouring of the old “gas for equity” deal.

Last May, the money started flowing. Exxon Mobil got its share, n company Oil Search got another, as did the PNG government. But what should have been a stream of revenue from royalties and grants to the local landowners has been nothing more than a trickle.

The PNG government says it has not yet finished the “vetting” process to ascertain who is entitled to a share of the money.

Landowners, however, say the government is deliberately dragging its feet. Exxon Mobil, with an eye to its biggest risk, cannot afford any further delay.

It recently offered 7 million kina ($3.5 million) worth of Land Rovers, hotel rooms and helicopter rides to make the journey of officials from Port Moresby to Hela easier.

A respected judge has been called in to accelerate the vetting process.

Some tribal chiefs are still showing patience. Last week the court intervened by overturning the ban on lawyer Mr Egan from entering the country.

But those who are taking the court action say time is running out for a negotiated solution. And the first thing they want is their own choice of financier and a chance to negotiate a reasonable price for their 4.2 per cent equity option.

“We don’t trust UBS … because they failed us in the first place,” says tribal leader Andy Hamaga. The government, he says, has “mortgaged our equity to get the UBS loan”.

And if they don’t get their way? “We will turn the tap off,” says Hamaga. “No choice.”

On Sunday, a UBS spokeswoman said the land owner’s 4.2 per cent equity option had been “carved out” of last year’s loan security terms, and that the bank was not doing the ongoing financing work that land owners feared. “We have not been mandated by anyone in PNG to raise the finance for the landowner call option,” said the spokeswoman.

The tribespeople have tried to talk to the politicians. Then they tried the courts. Options are running out.

Another leader, Hamule Ngiame, whose Pii and Komen clans live on the PDL-1 land, responsible for more than half of the PNG LNG’s gas supplies, says “Coming to the media is the second [last] option.”

“The last option is to disturb the project. We know that in 1989 we had the Bougainville crisis, over a similar issue of government failure in meeting its part to deliver landowner benefits.

“We will do the same.”

Batting dynamo Glenn Maxwell encouraged to show greater patience

There is no denying Glenn Maxwell’s talent but Victorian coach David Saker says the man with all the shots “needs the penny to drop pretty quickly” if he is to forge a consistent international career.

Saker sat Maxwell down on Saturday and stressed the need to show greater patience when the situation warrants this after Maxwell was dismissed for four in the Bushrangers’ failed run-chase against Queensland on Friday.

The Bushrangers had already ceded two wickets when Maxwell, batting at No. 4, unnecessarily lofted a shot off Mark Steketee and was caught, leaving his team limping at 3-26.

The dismissal also caught the eye of n coach and selector Darren Lehmann, who made his feelings clear in a radio interview in Perth over the weekend.

“He’s exciting but we have to see him be really hungry to make big runs. Take the example of his performance on Friday. He was out caught at deep third man, where the wicket was low and slow,” Lehmann said.

“He really could have played a technical innings, which we know he can do. We want to see him perform on all types of wickets. He’s got the whole game to play all the shots but it’s a case of him staying in.”

Maxwell, 26, has battled his natural tendency to attempt audacious shots with the need to show the discipline required when conditions don’t suit or the bowlers are enjoying a probing spell.

He hopes to add to his three Tests but will face a major fight to do so unless he can consistently contribute big innings. He averages 40 in first-class cricket at a strike rate of 76.5 (Steve Smith has a strike rate of 57.20), with five centuries.

Ahead of the Bushrangers’ one-day clash against Western at Blacktown Oval on Monday, Saker said the man dubbed “The Big Show” needed to better assess the moment he found himself in.

“Glenn Maxwell is a ridiculous talent. I think he can play all levels of cricket and be very successful but the real great players  have been able to adapt and change their game according to the conditions,” Saker said.

“He just needs to take 10 or 20 balls more on occasions to make sure he was aware of what the pitch is doing, what the bowlers are trying to do.

“He has made his name for being The Big Show, I suppose. It has been put in front of him that he has to entertain but, the best at the top level in some conditions, you have to change.

“The great players do, the very good players do a little bit and the ‘joe average’ players don’t. He has got that ridiculous talent, I think he will get there but I think he needs that penny to drop pretty quickly.”

Saker said Maxwell handled their chat on Saturday “really well”, with Saker, the former Victorian quick and England bowling coach, adding that “I just said I am not doing by job if I don’t tell you my opinion of what you need to be to be great”.

“He was quite adamant he probably wasn’t giving himself enough time but I am sure he will get a chance [on Monday] and do exactly that,” he said.

Former England batting maverick Kevin Pietersen offered Maxwell advice when they played together for the Melbourne Stars in last summer’s Big Bash League.

While Pietersen’s desire to be aggressive, and even a showman, could land him in trouble, he would be England’s leading runscorer in all forms of international cricket by the time his career was over.

“I didn’t bring KP’s name up but I bring up names who have done it [scored runs], day in, day out,” Saker said.

“I suppose KP is a poignant point with him  because it’s very similar. You would really like him to be a consistent performer every time he steps out.

“KP is a good one in a sense. Darren Lehmann himself was a player who always tried to be aggressive but found a way to adapt in all conditions.”

Competition does have its drawbacks

Competition is billed by economists as a wonderful thing, the invisible restrainer of a capitalist economy and essential to ensuring consumers get a good deal.

However, many economists aren’t as conscious as they should be that competition has costs as well as benefits.

It’s true, of course, that monopoly is usually a terrible thing, allowing arrogant, inflexible behaviour on the part of producers, with little pressure on them to keep prices down or to provide much choice. Dealing with government departments shows you what monopolies are like.

Economists tend to assume the more competition the better and that customers can never get too much choice. However, this shows how – despite their loud protestations to the contrary – their thinking is excessively influenced by their most basic, least realistic model of “perfect competition”.

Psychological experiments show that when shoppers face too much choice, they tend to avoid making a decision. That’s because the information they need to make informed choices isn’t freely available and because the human mind hasn’t evolved to be good at choosing between more than two items with differing characteristics.

Many real-world markets are characterised by oligopoly: a few large firms accounting for most of the sales. Oligopolies make economic sense because they’re needed to fully exploit economies of scale (which are assumed away under perfect competition). So, in reality, competition and scale economies are in conflict.

In oligopolies and even in markets with a relatively large number of producers, competition is blunted by product differentiation, much of which is cosmetic. As with most advertising, product differentiation is intended to induce consumers to make decisions on an emotional rather than rational basis.

Phoney differentiation is also intended to frustrate rational comparison. It’s not by chance that it’s almost impossible to compare mobile phone contracts.

When economists speak of competition, they’re usually thinking of competition on price. However, though oligopolists watch their competitors like hawks, they much prefer to avoid price competition, competing rather via advertising, marketing, packaging and other differentiation.

Mackay’s Law of competition states that the key to competition is to focus on the customer, not your competitor. However, this is what oligopolists don’t do.

In the real world – including the media – competitor-oriented competition is rife. This robs customers of genuine choice. It’s a form of risk aversion: if I do the same as my competitor, I minimise the risk of him beating me.

It’s what, in Harold Hotelling’s classic example, prompts two ice-cream sellers to be back-to-back in the middle of the beach, regardless of whether some other positioning would serve customers better. It explains why business economists’ forecasts tend to cluster, usually around the official forecast.

In his book The Darwin Economy, Robert Frank, of Cornell University, argues that lefties tend to see inadequate competition as the most prevalent form of market failure, whereas it’s actually “collective action problems”.

A collective action problem arises when the players in a market realise they’re doing something mutually destructive, but no one’s game to stop doing it for fear of being creamed by their competitors.

Usually in commercial markets the only answer is for the government to intervene and impose a solution on all players; for which they’re grateful.

However, that’s no help to our political parties, which have got themselves locked in a game of ever-declining standards of behaviour they don’t know how to escape from. It’s collective action problems that make it so easy for the politicians to manipulate the media.

The advocates of federalism believe it’s good to have the states free to be different and competing against each other. In reality, the competition is mainly negative. The states compete to attract foreign investors with special tax concessions and the foreigners play them off against each other.

In the early 1970s, the McMahon government transferred its payroll tax to the states to give them the “growth tax” they needed to cover their growing spending. In the decades since then, they’ve done little but compete with the others by raising their tax-free thresholds and cutting their rates.

The huge increase in federal grants to private schools over recent decades was justified as increasing parents’ choice and imposing competitive pressure on public schools. There’s little evidence it’s worked, nor much even that it’s held down private school fees.

Similarly, Julia Gillard’s My School website, with all its information about the academic performance of particular schools, intended to increase competition between them, has failed to produce any increase in the proportion of students achieving national minimum standards in reading, writing and numeracy over the five years to 2014.

Depending on circumstances, competition can make things better or worse – or little different.

Twitter: @1RossGittins.

Simon Moore century saves day for Merewether

Michael Hogan bowling for Merewether on Saturday. Picture: Jonathan CarrollMEREWETHER coach Brad Bannister said his side’s middle order had work to do after skipper Simon Moore and returning first-class quick Michael Hogan came to the rescue to keep the Newcastle district cricket premiers unbeaten.

Western and Glamorgan paceman Hogan was the headline act on Saturday as he started a cameo return to Merewether against Stockton-Raymond Terrace at Townson Oval in round two on Saturday.

However, the towering quick became the supporting act as brother-in-law Moore carried his bat with 144 not out off 142 balls to inspire Merewether to 9-237 off their 50 overs.

Moore hit 20 fours and a six as he helped the side recover from 5-55, the time when Hogan joined him at the crease.

Hogan was next best with the bat with 28 then took 3-34 off 9.5 overs as Stockton fell for 223 in 49.5 overs. Dan Upward (61) top-scored for Stockton and Nick Foster took 4-47 for the visitors.

In the absence of Troy Goodwin, Mark Cameron and Sam Gilmour, Bannister was thankful to have the experience and composure of Moore, who also filled in as wicketkeeper.

“We were in a bit of trouble at 5-55 and we have got a little bit of work to do with our middle order, but just having someone like Moorey there to do what he does and to carry his bat was amazing,” Bannister said.

“He doesn’t get rattled and he can slow the game down. Then at the end he helped us score 35 off the last three overs, and that’s exactly what we needed because Stockton ended up only 14 runs short.

“Simon and I agreed we dodged a bullet against Charlestown the week before.

“They should have won that game, but our experience got us home in the end, and it was the same on the weekend.”

Goodwin, who is recovering from a stroke, played second grade on Saturday, and Bannister was hopeful the former NSW Country batsman could bolster the middle order this season.

The result and a six-run win over Charlestown leave Merewether second after two rounds on 12 points.

A five-wicket haul, including a hat-trick from Grant Stewart, inspired University to top spot with a bonus-point win over Hamilton-Wickham at Uni Oval.

Michael Radnidge scored 52 not out as Uni made 178 in 46.3 overs. Sam Webber finished with 3-23 for Hamwicks.

Stewart then ripped through Hamwicks with 5-34, including bowling Josh Trappel and Rhys Hanlon for ducks as the visitors fell for 109. Luke Bird took 3-13.

n under-17 batsman Jason Sangha was the star for Wallsend with 118 against Waratah-Mayfield in his return from representative duties.

Sangha hit 14 fours and two sixes in his 131-ball knock as Wallsend made 9-255 then dismissed Waratah for 113 in just 20 overs at Farley Oval to secure two bonus points.

It came just two days after Sangha was the only Cricket XI under-16 player picked in the under-17 team after the national titles in Brisbane.

Michael Redpath made 53 and Ben Pomplun took 3-47 for Waratah. Jared Forbes claimed 3-13 for Wallsend.

Aaron Payne took 3-52 to help Charlestown secure a bonus-point win over Newcastle City at Learmonth Park.

Openers James Rushford (57) and Colby Gallagher (47) laid the platform for Charlestown’s 8-252. Bryce Garrett (42) was City’s best with the bat as they fell for 199 in reply.

Skipper Mark Littlewood scored 126 not out to lead Belmont to victory and a bonus point against Cardiff-Boolaroo at Cahill Oval.

Belmont made 8-252 then knocked over Cardiff for 154 in 44.4 overs as part-timer Craig Slavek took 4-18. Matt Everett top-scored with 48 in his second game for Cardiff, while Johnathon Maloney took 3-69.

Andrew Nicolai led the way with bat and ball for Toronto in their double bonus-point win over Wests at Harker Oval. Nicolai top-scored with 63 in Toronto’s 7-221 and took 3-15 as Wests were bundled out for 106 in 38 overs. Brin Osland took 3-13 and Nathan Hudson 3-2.

Jason Day can expect hero’s welcome in Melbourne at golf World Cup

Golf’s World Cup in Melbourne next year will provide a fitting stage for Jason Day to experience the hero’s homecoming similar to the one Adam Scott relished after winning the US Masters.

Officials expect world No.2 Day to return to next summer to defend the World Cup title he and Adam Scott won in 2013 and believe his presence could have strong flow-on effects for the country’s other domestic events.

It is hoped Day will factor in to his schedule appearances at the n Open event and the European Tour co-sanctioned n PGA Championship next summer, the World Cup team’s event.

Officials are hoping Day’s story as a first-time major winner this year will create the same rise in galleries and TV ratings that Scott’s green jacket tour and quest for the “Scotty Slam” did in 2013.

“Jason has said he is really excited about the prospect of the World Cup being played in again,” PGA chief executive Brian Thorburn said on Sunday.

“He has also showed a desire to come back to recently and he has always said that the n Open and the PGA Championship are two trophies he would love to put his name on,” he said.

“So if he comes back to defend the World Cup crown he won with Adam Scott last time, then it could all work into a great homecoming for him and a chance for the fans to celebrate the success he has had.

“The reason it would be fitting is that Day’s victory in front of his home fans at Royal Melbourne in the 2013 World Cup – both in the individual event and the team’s event – was his first big-league win.”

Victoria will host both the World Cup in 2016 and the Presidents Cup in 2019 after major announcements made over the weekend in Korea, the host country for this year’s Presidents Cup won by the US on Sunday.

The World Cup will provide n fans with a taste of the teams event drama that makes the Presidents Cup and the Ryder Cup such captivating viewing. Last time the format of the World Cup at Royal Melbourne  was changed so that it could be used as a prototype for golf at the Olympics.

It had a “teams element”, which was won by Team , but the major focus was on the individual event won by Day, which offered a $7 million prize pool and official world ranking points. However the format will revert to its traditional team focus next year, with the highest-ranked player on the world golf rankings from each participating country given the chance to hand pick a partner to play with.

There will be no individual event, only two-man teams from each country playing four stroke-play rounds of “best ball” and “alternate shot” – the modes used in the Presidents Cup.

A survey of players after the 2013 World Cup revealed the appeal of the event was playing in the same group as their partner for the whole tournament and attacking the event as a country playing for pride. In 2013, players were paired based on their position in the individual event. Day and Scott, after winning, were two players who called for the format to be changed.

Matt Lister wins W.E. Alexander Tournament 2015 after entering at last minute

Former n PGA Championship winner Col Johnson, left, with Matt Lister on Sunday. Picture: Jonathan CarrollMEREWETHER golfer Matt Lister was not going to compete in his first W.E. Alexander tournament until the day before the event.

Now the 28-year-old is excited about the prospect of competing against some of the best up-and-coming players in the world in the Lake Macquarie Amateur in January after winning the Waratah Golf Club’s Vardon marquee event on Sunday.

Lister showed composure to par the closing holes and earn a one-shot win over 36 holes with a one-under 141.

He shot 71 on Saturday and 70 on Sunday to beat Charlestown’s Izzy Melia and Dubbo’s Matt Egan, who both carded 142. Waratah’s Ben Hillard had 144, along with David Cook.

Playing off a minus-one handicap, Lister made a late decision to try his luck in the W.E. Alexander as he builds back into regular competition golf after a period of playing sparingly because of work and other commitments.

“I only decided to play on Friday,” Lister said.

“I’ve just started getting back into it, and I wanted to start playing these types of events.

“I tried once before at the Moss Vale and Long Reef amateurs.

“It rained and I had no wet-weather gear and I shot hundreds, so I thought it was time to give it a go again.

“It just happened to work well. I hit it well and I’m really happy with it.”

Traditionally, the W.E. Alexander winner gains exemption into the Lake Macquarie Amateur, which attracts aspiring professionals from all over the world each year.

“It will be good to play in that for the first time,” Lister said.

“But other than that we’ve got our club championships in November, and that’s why I’ve been getting back into it.

“The last month I’ve been playing every Saturday, which has helped to get some consistency back.”