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Austin Powers actor Verne Troyer dead at 49

Verne Troyer and Mike Myers as Mini-Me and Dr Evil in the 1999 film Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me. Picture: AP Photo/New Line CinemaVerne Troyer, best known for his role as Mini Me in the Austin Powersfranchise, has died at 49.
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The sombreannouncement of his passing came via the American actor and stuntman’s official Facebook page on Sunday morning.

“It is with great sadness and incredibly heavy hearts to write that Verne passed away today,” the post read.

“Verne was an extremely caring individual. He wanted to make everyonesmile, be happy, and laugh. Anybody in need, he would help to anyextent possible. Verne hoped he made a positive change with the platform he had and worked towards spreading that message everyday.

Verne Troyer signs autographs at Supanova in Melbourne in 2014. Picture: The Age

“He inspired people around the world with his drive, determination, andattitude. On film & television sets, commercial shoots, at comic-con’s& personal appearances, to his own YouTube videos, he was there toshow everyone what he was capable of doing.”

While best known for his role as Dr Evil’s protege Mini-Me in the Austin Powers series, Troyer has a long list of appearances in film and television, including Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,Boston Legal andMen In Black.

READ MORE:Mike Myers leads tributes to Verne TroyerHis short stature –Troyer stood just 2 foot 8 inches, or 81 centimetres–was a result of achondroplasia dwarfism.

I’m 27 donuts tall. #NationalDonutDaypic.twitter苏州夜总会招聘/EGNatbiHKH

— Verne Troyer (@VerneTroyer) June 2, 2017

“Even though his staturewas small and his parents often wondered if he’d be able to reach upand open doors on his own in his life, he went on to open more doors for himself and others than anyone could have imagined. He alsotouched more peoples hearts than he will ever know,” the official statement said.

“Verne was also a fighter when it came to his own battles. Over theyears he’s struggled and won, struggled and won, struggled and foughtsome more, but unfortunately this time was too much.

“During this recent time of adversity he was baptized while surroundedby his family. The family appreciates that they have this time togrieve privately.”

Verne Troyer with Mike Myers and other Austin Powers in Goldmember principals Quincy Jones, Robert Wagner, Beyonce, Michael Caine, director Jay Roach and producer John Lyons at the film’s premiere in Los Angeles in 2002. Picture: AP

Lifeline: 13 11 14.

Cowboys find NRL form to beat Gold Coast

Jason Taumalolo has scored one of four North Queensland tries in a 26-14 NRL win over Gold Coast.Last year’s grand finalists North Queensland have snapped a five-game losing streak with a convincing 26-14 victory over Gold Coast in Townsville.
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Ben Hampton, Kyle Feldt, Jason Taumalolo and Coen Hess scored tries for the Cowboys, giving coach Paul Green exactly the boost he wanted after signing a new three-year contract.

Johnathan Thurston, helped by better play from his forwards, returned to form and was involved in each try, as well as being on hand to help deny Titans’ scoring chances on several of occasions.

After an opening half-hour, littered by penalties and handling errors from both sides, Hampton scored his third try of the season five minutes before the interval after a neat combination between Hess and John Asiata.

With five seconds remaining in the half, Feldt added to the score, this time Hampton providing the last pass before the winger dived over in the right corner for a 16-2 halftime lead.

The Titans started the second half brightly but could not apply scoreboard pressure. Taumalolo made them pay, taking an inside pass from Thurston 25 metres out and jinking inside a tackle before racing between the uprights.

Hess powered through three attempted tackles to extend the lead. The Titans’ scoreline was flattered by late tries to Ashley Taylor and Jarrod Wallace.

The only downside for the Cowboys, who move to just two wins out of the top eight, is a shoulder injury to Asiata.

The defeat is the Titans’ fourth of the season and their defence stands as the worst in the NRL, having conceded 197 points.

Thurston believed an improvement in discipline was key to the Cowboys ending their losing run.

“We had our backs against the wall but we’ll take a win any way we can get it,” Thurston told Fox Sports.

“I thought we started with a lot of energy. We were probably a bit over enthusiastic early with our ball control. It was scrappy – we had to fight for everything tonight.

“Our discipline’s put us under the pump (during the bad run). It was a lot better. It’s a step in the right direction.”

Titans coach Garth Brennan was angry his team did not play their best football until the game was lost.

“There’s some positives the way we came together at the end,” Brennan said.

“When we started to do things we’ve worked on, we looked like a football team. At other times, we looked rudderless.

“We’re better than that. We will be better than that. We need to learn from that, feel the hurt we’re hurting at the moment and turn up at home next week and put on a good performance for our fans.”

The Titans host Cronulla next Saturday, while the Cowboys are at home later that evening to Canberra.

Queen marks 92 years at star-studded show

The Queen and the royal family have attended a star-studded concert to mark her 92nd birthday.n singer Kylie Minogue has performed at a star-studded special concert before Britain’s Queen Elizabeth, as the world’s oldest and longest-reigning living monarch celebrated her 92nd birthday.
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Welsh singer Tom Jones kicked off the show on Saturday with his hit It’s Not Unusual shortly before Elizabeth appeared in the royal box of London’s Albert Hall, flanked by her family.

Minogue, Sting, Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Shaggy were among those on the bill, along with stars of the stage and screen.

At the end of the night Elizabeth joined the stage with her son, Prince Charles.

He joked that she could not have predicted in 1948, when Charles was born, decades later a 92-year-old queen would be sharing a stage with her 70-year-old son.

Charles then led a round of cheers from members of the audience. The queen acknowledged them with a smile and her trademark royal wave.

The event is a break in tradition for the queen who usually spends her birthday privately with little public celebration, although there were nationwide events to mark her 90th.

The concert comes at the end of a week in which leaders and dignitaries from 53 countries came to London for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, and featured performers from the network of mostly former British colonies.

The queen is head of the Commonwealth. The major beneficiary of Saturday’s event, televised live on BBC TV and radio, will be the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust youth charity, of which her grandson Prince Harry was appointed president this week.

Elizabeth was born on April 21, 1926, and became queen in 1952 at the age of 25, meaning she has now reigned for more than 66 years.

She still carries out official engagements but her husband Prince Philip, who spent 10 days in hospital this month for a hip replacement, retired from public life last year.

As is customary with monarch’s birthdays, soldiers from the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery and the Honourable Artillery Company fired gun salutes in London’s Hyde Park and the Tower of London earlier on Saturday.

Elizabeth also has an “official” birthday in June, which is marked with a large parade of soldiers through central London, known as Trooping the Colour.

McLaughlin takes Supercars Island double

Ford’s Scott McLaughlin has won both races of the Phillip Island 500, a rare Supercars double.Ford’s Scott McLaughlin has proved untouchable in his Falcon at the Phillip Island 500, with the Shell V-Power ace claiming a rare Supercars double.
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The New Zealand driver has backed up his winning efforts from race one a day earlier by taking out the second 250km event on Sunday.

The 24-year-old started from pole in both races and again proved too strong in race 10 of the season to shoot ahead in the championship standings.

Veteran Nissan driver Rick Kelly looked to be a chance of edging McLaughlin for the first half of the 57-lap race but slipped up in his second pit stop.

It was left to Erebus Motorsport’s David Reynolds, in his ZB Commodore, to put pressure on McLaughlin and he briefly held the lead.

But McLaughlin snatched back the advantage on lap 31 by overtaking Reynolds in almost identical fashion to his race-winning move against Red Bull Holden rival Jamie Whincup on Saturday.

He was comfortable from there as Reynolds and Kelly joined the Kiwi gun on the podium.

It was McLaughlin’s sixth victory at the Victorian circuit, taking him to fourth on the all-time list at the venue behind Craig Lowndes, Mark Skaife and Glenn Seton.

His repeat success comes two years after he claimed both races at Phillip Island, taking his consecutive poles at the track to an extraordinary six.

McLaughlin’s terrific results, combined with a costly error from Whincup on Saturday, have shot him into a commanding lead after the fourth event of the year.

Mobil 1 Boost Mobile’s James Courtney was the only driver not to finish, bombing out on lap five.

Rounding out the top-five was McLaughlin’s Shell V-Power teammate Fabian Coulthard and Nissan’s Michael Caruso, while Whincup finished a disappointing ninth.

Newcastle Rugby League: Cessnock Goannas recruit Paul Carter back in the bad booksphotos, video

Cessnock Goanna’s Paul Carter faces suspension plus on-field scuffle Cessnock’s Paul Carter Picture: Michael Hartshorn
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POWER: Western Suburbs prop Tama Koopu takes the ball up in the Rosellas’ 20-6 win over Central Newcastle at Harker Oval on Sunday. Wests led 12-6 at the main break and kept the Butcher Boys scoreless in the second half. Ryan Walker, James Elias and Brad Tighe all crossed the stripe for the hosts. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

ON THE RUN: Western Suburbs captain Ryan Walker makes a break during the Rosellas’ 20-6 win against Central Newcastle at Harker Oval in Sunday’s season opener. The reigning player of the year scored the first try in the 21st minute. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

TweetFacebookPaul Carter (1:02:00 to 1:04:00) – video by BarTV SportsThe five-eighth makes a tackle in the 46thminute. He isthe sole defender about 20 metres out from the opposition tryline and his arm makes contact high on Maitland’sJarrod Smith. Referee John Taylor opts to put Carter on report rather than send him off. The Pickers were leading 30-0.

Less than 60 secondslater in the game, during the ensuing set of six, Carter and rival half Ryan Walsh throw punches at one another following a tackle.

Both were given 10 minutes in the sin-bin.

It was less than the ideal comeback for Carter, who was chasing redemption and a fresh start but instead found more trouble.

The 25-year-oldjoined the Goannas in 2018 following a controversial exit from the Sydney Roosters last season, a stint in a drug rehabilitation clinic in Thailand andbeing placed on a two-year good-behaviour bond by the courts in January for cocaine supply.

Over the last few months there had also beenissues with gaining a financial clearance from his most recent club at Coffs Harbour.

Maitland captain-coach Luke Dorn, his first game in the new role, saidthe Pickers’ “great attitude” was most impressive in that performance.

Elsewhere on Saturday and title holders Macquarie defeated Lakes 28-12 at Lyall Peacock Field while South Newcastle were beaten 26-10by Kurri Kurri.

Decent turn out for @Newcastle_RL season opener at Harker Oval #[email protected]@newcastleheraldpic.twitter苏州夜总会招聘/x5Ke7fI1cC

— Josh Callinan (@joshuacallinan) April 22, 2018

Sunday’s sole fixture saw Western Suburbs silence a few critics and Central Newcastle leave Harker Oval with more questions than they answered.

The Rosellas accounted for the Butcher Boys 20-6.

“It’s nice to get the monkey off the back a bit because a number of people, both internally and externally, questioned the pathway that we’ve taken in relation to who we let go and who we recruited,” Wests coach Matt Lantry said.

In the other dressing room, Central coach Craig Miller wasn’t impressed.

“That wasn’t good enough,” he said. “We were out-enthused,dropped too much ball and weren’t fit enough. I think we would have been beaten by most sides today.”

ROUND 2: Cessnock v Kurri; Central v Macquarie; Lakes v Wests; Souths v Maitland.

Turnbull urged to help fund veterans’ care

Soldier On chief executive John Bale says is lagging on veterans’ mental health care.The federal government has been urged to help fund a mental health centre for army veterans in Sydney, with a study revealing three out of four ex-soldiers report an issue.
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The study, published in early April, found around 46 per cent of people who left the defence force struggled with a mental health condition within the first year, and around half of them had multiple conditions.

Soldier On, a charity group providing support for soldiers and their families, says the Centre of Excellence being developed at the Concord Repatriation General Hospital would be the first world-class facility in to care for those veterans with mental health issues.

” is behind other nations when it comes to the holistic care of service personnel and families. This facility will change that,” Soldier On chief executive John Bale said.

With the public focus on ANZAC Day, Mr Bale said it was important to remember the men and women struggling as a result of their time in the military.

“It’s time to put the people (ex-armed forces) first. They need and deserve it”.

Mr Bale said the government was spending $200 billion over the next ten years on defence, and called on Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to allocate a portion of that to the Centre of Excellence.

“There is no doubt this facility will save lives,” he said.

Speaking at a wreath-laying ceremony at the n war memorial in London on Saturday night, Mr Turnbull pledged support for the members of the armed forces.

“We best honour the Anzacs of 1918 by supporting you, the service men and women of today,” he said.

Mr Bale said Mr Turnbull and Veterans Affairs Minster Darren Chester had offered positive feedback about the centre and was hopeful they would announce funding in this year’s budget.

Who will captain the Newcastle Knights in Mitchell Pearce’s absence?

IT is perhapsthe least of his concerns, but Knights coach Nathan Brown islikely to need anew captain –as well as a primary playmaker – inthe long-term absence ofMitchell Pearce.
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Pearce’s pectoral injury, sustained late in Newcastle’s 22-20 win against the Tigers in Tamworth, leaves Brown without an official skipper in his starting line-up.

Pearce was named as co-captain with Jamie Buhrer at the start of the season, but the latteris yet to feature in Brown’s first 13 this year.

Instead he has been used in six games as a bench utility, largely because his versatility covers so many options.

EXPERIENCED: Aidan Guerra could be a candidate to captain Newcastle in Mitchell Pearce’s absence.

Unless Buhreris promoted to the run-on team for Friday’s clash with Manly at Brookvale, Newcastle will need a new man to lead them out.

Back-rower Aidan Guerra, a Queensland Origin and n Test representative, would seem a logical candidate.

If so, he would become the seventh captain ofBrown’s three seasons at Newcastle’s helm.

The other possibility is that Brown might consider reinstatingcentre Sione Mata’utia, who spent much of last season as co-captain before the coach decided he would be better served focusing on his owngame.

BODY BLOW: Mitchell Pearce

Buhrer’s hopes of starting a game in his preferred back-row role would appear slim, given that Guerra, Lachlan Fitzgibbon and Mitch Barnett are established in those positions.

He spent several minutes at five-eighth against the Tigers, and conjured up the matchwinning try with a precise kick for Shaun Kenny-Dowall, and filled in as pivot on a handful of occasions at his former club, Manly.

Brown is hopeful his first-choice five-eighth, Connor Watson, will be cleared to return this week, after missing four games with a shoulder injury. If fit, Watson isexpected to partner another Central Coast product, Jack Cogger, who impressed Brown against the Tigers.

VERSATILE: Jamie Buhrer

“He had a terrific little game, Jack …he had some nice subtle touches, which he’s really worked hard on the last two or three years in his game,” Brown said. “He’s certainly put his hand in the window to deserve another shot next week.”

Aged-care homes must offer staff flu jab

The government is making it mandatory for all aged-care homes to offer the flu jab to all staff.All aged-care facilities will be required to offer the flu jab to all staff to prevent a recurrence of last year’s horror outbreak.
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More than 1100 people died of influenza-related illnesses in 2017, the majority of them aged 65 or older.

Health Minister Greg Hunt and Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt announced on Sunday the government will make it mandatory for “every aged-care provider to offer the flu vaccine to every single worker”.

Mr Wyatt said he was not concerned about those who refused to get the flu jab.

“There will be some individuals who will take a stand, but then again, that is up to the provider to make a decision in respect to that individual … they can move staff to other locations,” he told reporters in Perth.

Asked what right the government had to tell workers they must get the vaccine, Mr Wyatt replied: “What right does a senior, frail n have to be protected from someone who chooses not to (get the vaccine) and then ends up with a virulent flu that then causes their death?”

A national review has found a correlation between low vaccination rates among staff and a higher incidence of the flu in aged-care homes.

Hall & Prior Health and Aged Care Group corporate services manager Daniel Hitchcock said staff at the Tuohy facility in suburban Perth had been educated about the importance of getting the vaccine for almost 20 years.

“If they don’t have the vaccine, they’ll have to stand down from work if there is an outbreak,” he told reporters.

“We are outbreak-free at Tuohy since the program commenced.”

Mr Hunt said the government had made two new flu vaccines available free of charge to more than three million ns aged 65 years and over.

“Today we are taking further steps to ensure those seniors are protected even more, ahead of this year’s flu season,” he said.

FINDINGS OF NATIONAL SURVEY OF 2609 HOMES:

* Only 3.5 per cent had the recommended staff coverage of 95 per cent or higher to gain herd immunity

* 35.9 per cent had the recommended resident coverage of 95 per cent or higher

* 43 per cent reported at least one influenza outbreak in the previous year

* Those providing in-house staff vaccination programs had higher coverage than those who only encouraged staff to go to an external immunisation provider.

China back in the Fed Cup World Group

Ashleigh Barty has given a 2-1 Fed Cup lead over the Netherlands.Ashleigh Barty believes can break a 45-year Fed Cup title drought after piloting the one-time tennis superpower back into the World Group for the first time since 2015.
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Barty’s back-to-back singles wins over Quirine Lemoine and Lesley Kerkhove led to a 4-1 victory over the Netherlands in their World Group playoff in Wollongong.

Daria Gavrilova sealed ‘s return to the eight-nation elite with a 6-3 6-2 defeat of Lemoine that gave the hosts an unbeatable 3-1 lead after Barty outclassed Kerkhove 6-4 6-2 in Sunday’s first reverse singles match.

Gavrilova and Destanee Aiava added the icing on the cake with a 6-3 6-2 win over Kerkhove and Demi Schuurs in the dead doubles rubber.

Barty, though, was the star for .

Living up to her status as the indoor hardcourt tie’s highest-ranked player, the 21-year-old improved her impressive record in the competition to 11-2 – and 6-1 in singles – with her eighth straight Fed Cup win.

Now the world No.19 craves a crack at the title that has eluded since 1974.

“It’s been a bit of a tricky spot for us the last couple of years, when we’ve been in World Group II,” Barty said.

“Yes, we’re doing our best to win every single tie and every rubber but there’s no title at the end.

“So it’s a bit of a different feeling. We’ve known it’s been a work in progress to get back into the World Group and now we’re in a perfect position to put ourselves in with a chance for a shot at the title next year.”

With Barty and Gavrilova entrenched in the world’s top 25 and grand slam champion Samantha Stosur – who”s also a former world No.1 doubles exponent – another singles option for captain Alicia Molik. can “absolutely” lift the trophy in 2019 according to their spearhead.

“You look at the nations who have dominated in the last 10 years or so, one of the most dominant teams is the Czech Republic,” Barty said.

“They have quality singles players and a quality doubles combination and that’s what we have.”

After replacing Stosur on Sunday, Gavrilova buried the demons of her horror showing in February – when the world No.24 suffered shock losses in both her matches in ‘s 3-2 escape against the Ukraine in Canberra.

“It feels amazing,” said the Russian-born 23-year-old after draping herself in the n flag and completing a lap of honour following her tie-sealing win.

“I was super nervous. Just playing for your country is so much harder than just playing any other tournament.”

The draw for next year’s eight-team World Group competition will be held after the 2018 final in November.

faces a quarter-final showdown with one of the top four seeds, likely to be the Czech Republic, defending champions the United States, France and Germany.

If draw the Czechs or Germany, they will host the tie.

But a clash with the USA would be away, while a coin toss would be needed to determine who hosted any tie between and France.

Newcastle trainer Ben Smith looks to spring riches with El Dorado Dreaming after luckless third

THE LATE SHOW: The Ben Smith-trained El Dorado Dreaming, centre, finishes strongly for third in the Champagne Stakes on Saturday behind winner Seabrook and Bondi. Picture: AAP Newcastle trainer Ben Smith was wondering what could have been but was excited about what’s to come for El Dorado Dreaming after her luckless third in the Champagne Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on Saturday.
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Backing up from her fairytale win at 100-1 in the group 1 Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) two weeks earlier, El Dorado Dreaming ($7.50) finished 1.3 lengths third in the $500,000 final leg of the Sydney autumn two-year-old triple crown.

The Mick Price-trained Seabrook($9), which is part-owned by Newcastle’s Tony Price,came from second-last to beat Bondi ($7.50) by a half length.

Jason Collettwas reprimanded for careless riding and questioned about his decisions on El Dorado Dreaming, which did not gain clear running until approaching the 200mmark.

Smith eyes spring run TweetFacebook Hunter hopes at RandwickAAPSmith was pleased with the effort from his filly but disappointed she didn’tfinish closer.

“She was really unlucky and probably should have figured in the finish a lot more than she did,” Smith said.“But she’s proven she’s up to them. She’s finished the last two legs of the triple crown with a win and an unlucky third.

“We’ll target the Sydney-Melbourne spring carnival with her and keep her in those three-year-old fillies races.

“You’ve got the Flight Stakes in Sydney, then we might look at a 1000 Guineas in Melbourne, or see if she can run an Oaks trip.

“We’ll just be guided by the horse. We’ll keep stepping her up and set her for those things, but just see how far she gets.

“She’s pulled up really well. She got knocked around a bit in the run but she’s a tough little bugger.”

As for the ride from Collett, who was aboard El Dorado Dreaming for the first time, he said: “You’ve got to have bit of luck but I still thought he could have peeled to the outside a bit earlier than that but he elected to stick on the inside of those runners. But I’m not out there, he is. If he’d have won the race, he’d be a genius.”

Newcastle trainer Kris Lees’ Le Romain went even closer in the other group 1 feature at Randwick, the All Aged Stakes.

The three-time group 1 winner, a close second in the race last year, hit the lead in the straight but wasbeaten a head by$2.30 favourite Trapeze Artist to finish second again

Le Romain ($11) was third run back from a six-month break followingcolic surgery.

Newcastle trainer Paul Perry’s stable, meanwhile, said The Mission would head to the Brisbane winter carnival after an encouraging two-lengths fifth in the race.

AAP reports:Nic’s Vendetta graduated from the Highway Handicap series with a victory that edgedapprentice Mikayla Weir to outrideher country claim.

The five-year-old gelding gave Weir her first city winner in a Highway Handicap at Warwick Farm last July, and theycombined again at Randwick over 1200m to upset favourite Ori On Fire.

Weir, 24, produced an astute rails run for Muswellbrook trainer Todd Howlett to win by a long neck.

“He’s one of a kind that horse. He’s truly been the horse that’s got my career to where it needs to be,” she said.

“One more win and the claim is gone. I needed that at this point in my career to be able to keep kicking along.”

Weir, a former barrel racer and rodeo rider, is apprenticed to Howlett.

“The run panned out exactly how I wanted,” she said.

“To be on Hugh’s back was a big advantage. I knew he would take me a long way into the race and when he rolled off the fence it gave me every hope in the world to be able to get by him.

“At the top of the rise I was struggling a little bit but he just kept fighting. After the rise I knew I had him.”

Nic’s Vendetta ($6) preserved his perfect second-up record leading Howlett to joke about his immediate future.

“Maybe I should be putting him back out,” he said.

Howlett thought a midweek race would now be on the agenda and possibly an off season Saturday race as Nic’s Vendetta seeks a fifth career win.

Northern River ($11) filled out the minor placings a length further back.

Newcastle Federal Circuit Court delays will blow out if judge not replaced: legal experts

Hunter families court ‘stranded’ as judge heads for Qld Attorney-General Christian Porter is being called upon to make ‘timely appointments’. Picture: Dominic Lorrimer
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COURT SHORT: Federal MP Sharon Claydon with (from left) Newcastle Bar Association president Michael Graham and Hunter Valley Family Law Practitioners Association president Chris White. The trio say delays at the Newcastle Federal Circuit Court are ‘intolerable’ and could get worse if an outgoing judge isn’t replaced.

TweetFacebookNEWCASTLE’S legal community and federal MP Sharon Claydon have warned of “dangerous” and “completely intolerable”delays in the Federal Circuit Court if the Turnbull Government fails to replace an outgoing judge.

Broken families are staring down legal limbo after Acting Attorney-General Greg Hunt confirmed Judge Steve Middletonwill be transferred to Townsville.

A failure to replace Judge Middletonwill put the busyNewcastle registry in the same situation as last year when the court was left with two sitting judges, down from three, after the government waited eight months to make a new appointment.

That delay contributed to a workload that was more than double the national average, with the Attorney-General Department’s own figures revealing Newcastle judges dealt with 770 matters last financial year, compared with the national average of 376.

Legal experts said on Sunday they were launching a “pre-emptive strike”, a warning to Attorney-General Christian Porter that he needed to “act swiftly”.

“The delays that are experienced at the moment are unacceptable – between eightand 12 months until you get a hearing,” Newcastle Bar Association president Michael Graham said.

“You can expect 18 months to two years before justice can come your way.That is completely intolerable.”

MrGraham predicted further delays would leave families “stranded” in “dire circumstances”.

The court mainly deals with family law matters, including divorce and custody battles.

“We’ve seen circumstances where people snatch children, where children are mistreated,” Mr Graham said. “It definitely has a long-term affect on the most vulnerable in our community.”

Ms Claydon said“dangerous delays” and staff who were “almost drowning” under the caseload were a result of the government’s“abysmal”succession planning record.

She urged Mr Porter to “do his job and make timely judicial appointments”, lamenting that she was “standing here for the third time in nearly as many years” dealing with the same issue.

Hunter Valley Family Law Practitioners Association president Chris White added the Bolton Streetcourt was also physically restrained in that there was not enough room for a fourth judge, which the association has requested.

Acting Attorney-General Greg Hunt said the transfer of Judge Middleton was prompted by the departure of a judge in Queensland who left at “very short notice, and left the Townsville Registry of the Federal Circuit Court without a judge”.

“This has been resolved by the transfer of Judge Middleton from Newcastle to Townsville, with two judges remaining in the Newcastle Registry,” he said in a statement.“A replacement for Judge Middleton is currently under active consideration.”

Mr Porter is on paternity leave.

Sam Burgess facing up to three-game ban

Souths Sydney’s Sam Burgess faces another suspension over a high shot on Canberra’s Aidan Sezer.Sam Burgess is facing at least another two weeks on the sideline after the South Sydney enforcer was charged for his high hit on Canberra’s Aidan Sezer.
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In his first game back from a two-week suspension, Burgess was charged with a grade-two careless high tackle in Saturday’s 42-22 rout of the Raiders on the Central Coast.

Burgess will miss games against Brisbane and Newcastle if he accepts the charge, but will miss an additional clash with St George Illawarra if he takes it to the judiciary and is found guilty.

If he does fight it, it will be Burgess’s second visit to the panel this month, after a one-game ban for contact on Canterbury’s Josh Morris became a two-week suspension when he failed to overturn that charge on April 3.

The hit on Sezer’s chin sparked an all-in melee on Saturday.

The Raiders were miffed after their skipper Jarrod Croker was sin-binned for holding back Angus Crichton while Burgess stayed on the field.

Croker subsequently compared Burgess’s shot to an incident for which teammate Sia Soliola was suspended for collaring Billy Slater last year.

“It wasn’t pretty was it,” Croker said.

“Sia Soliola got six weeks for something like that last year.

“I’m not here to talk about how Sam Burgess plays the game. I’m worried about the result.

“He plays the game hard and he slipped up on that one. It was a bad one. It was pretty ordinary.”

Burgess declined to talk to waiting media after the game but told Fox Sports: “I don’t think there was anything in it.”

Meanwhile his brother George has been sanctioned with a high shot on Luke Bateman, although he can accept a $1500 fine given it is only a grade-one charge.

Canberra back-rower Elliot Whitehead can also escape suspension for his dangerous contact on Tom Burgess with an early guilty plea in the only other charge stemming from the match.

NRLNewcastle Knights in bitter-sweet 22-20 win over Wests Tigers in Tamworth

It may well be remembered as the most bitter-sweet four minutes of the season for the Newcastle Knights.
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In those desperate final minutes against the Wests Tigers in an absolute thriller at Tamworth on Saturday night, the Knightslost their inspirational leader Mitchell Pearce to serious injury but somehow managed to stay composed to conjure up a dramatic come-from-behind 22-20 victory without him.

The type of win that can shape a season.

Interchange utility Jamie Buhrer and winger Shaun Kenny-Dowall proved to be the unlikely heroes, with Buhrer, playingin his 150thNRL game, finding his rangy winger with a perfectly placed cross-field kick for the match-winner with less than two minutes left.

Kenny-Dowall was one of the Knights’ best with his running game outstanding but an earlysecond half clanger where he spilt a towering bomb to gift the Tigers a try threatened to over-shadow his performance before he more than redeemed himself late.

“We knew if we could mount some pressure down there,we were saying we’ll get them in the last minute and that’s what happened,” Kenny-Dowall said.

‘It was an outstanding kick by JB [Buhrer] to put it on a platter for me and it was really good for me to come away with a try at the end. To come up with a play like that in his 150thwas pretty special.”

Asked had he ever caught a Buhrer kick previously, Kenny-Dowall joked: “Never. I don’t think anyone has.”

The Knights winger wasn’t keen to talk about his error butcoach Nathan Brown said hispositives far out-weighed the negative.

“I’d rather focus on his good points because I thought he was the best player on the field in the first half,”Brown said.

“Sure he came up with a drop but he came up with a winning play at the death so we’ll give Skidsy [Kenny-Dowall] a big tick.”

For his part, Buhrer was happy his spur-of-the-moment kick found its mark after he slotted in for Pearce.

“I reckon maybe when I kicked it, Browny may have been looking to pullsome of his hair out if he had any left but I was confident of making the play otherwise I wouldn’t have kicked it,” he said.

“Kicking to someone like SKD on the wing, you don’t really have to get it too perfect because he can out-leap the best of them.”

The Knights dominated the first half to lead 10-0 at halftimeafter tries to Ken Sio and Pearce but in the space of 10 minutes after the break, found themselves down 18-10 and battling to stay in the contest after conceding three quick tries.

But two further tries to Sio to complete his hat-trick narrowed the gap to 20-18 late in the game before Kenny-Dowall clinched it.

The Knights cause wasn’t aided by a couple of dodgy calls and the fact they missed five of six shots at goal but theyshowed enormous resolve and fighting spirit to find a way to win.

“We led 10-0 at halftime on our merits and at the end of the day, we were five tries to three and we scored some really good tries,” Brown said.

“I thought we certainly deserved the win.”

“I think that’s an area we have struggled in –fighting back when things go against us. They showed a lot of character to be able to grind back into the game and get the win in the last minute.

Brown

“We had that 10 minute period at the start of the second half and that was the period the Tigers dominated but apart from that, we led 10-0 at halftime on our merits and at the end of the day, we were five tries to three and we scored some really good tries.

“I thought we certainly deserved the win.

Pearce:

“You could tell he was very devastated after the game. It was bitter-sweet for him.

“He was really happy we got the win but we’ll have to see what the full extent of it is during the week.

“The show goes on you know. We can’t be sad about that because we’ve still got a lot of the season and we have taken a lot of steps forward and we should be confident of where we are sitting.

Matchwinner: Knights winger Shaun Kenny-Dowall plants the ball over the try-line to win the game for his side after leaping high above Tigers winger Malakai Watene-Zelezniak to pull down a Jamie Buhrer cross-field bomb. Picture: AAP

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