Darius Boyd has scored 17 tries in 28 State of Origin games for Queensland.Former Queensland coach Mal Meninga has backed Darius Boyd to retain his State of Origin spot this year.
Boyd is under pressure to keep his Maroons jumper after an underwhelming start to the NRL season for a Brisbane side that has spent most of the opening nine weeks outside the top eight.
But with less than a month before teams for game one are selected, Meninga backed Boyd to re-unite with another stalwart in Greg Inglis to form a deadly left-edge combination.
“Darius has never let the Maroon jersey down,” Meninga told Macquarie Sports Radio’s Breakfast.
“I remember Darius, when he was playing for Newcastle, coming in to the Queensland side and not in good form and his personal life was affecting him but he came out and did the job.
“Him and Greg (Inglis) together, they’ve formed such a strong, formidable combination.”
The coach also watered down calls for Knights prodigy Kalyn Ponga to be fast-tracked into the Maroons side after his rapid rise this season.
Meninga instead suggested Ponga be brought into the Origin camp as an extra player.
“We’ve got Billy Slater so where do you pick him? I think he’s obviously a prodigious talent and as they keep on saying he’ll play for Queensland,” Meninga said.
“He may play for Queensland throughout this series but certainly not for game one.
“If you look at it our halves are pretty strong, Benny Hunt, Munster and Michael Morgan. One of those three will probably sit on the bench.
“Bring him into the squad and give him a taste of how our great players prepare for games.
“I think it’ll be an eye opener for him.”
Meninga had some advice for rookie NSW coach Brad Fittler, who is tasked with ending a Maroons dynasty that has claimed 11 of the past 12 series shields.
One of Fittler’s decisions is the hotly-contested fullback spot, with Manly ace Tom Trbojevic breathing down the neck of Sydney Roosters incumbent James Tedesco.
“I think Tom Trbojevic and James Tedesco need to be in the side, both of them really,” Meninga said.
“I picked Tommy in the World Cup squad last year and he made a real good fist of right centre, right wing.
“He can play both sides of the footy field.
“Latrell Mitchell has started to poke his head through.
“Such a fine array of young talent, you’ve got to bleed them at some stage.”
EXPERIENCED HAND: Renowned Hunter chef Lesley Taylor is at the helm.It’s a blustery, rainy night and we have to make a dash up Henderson Parade from our car to the sanctuary of the Merewether Surfhouse. I’ve always associated the Surfhouse with warm balmy days overlooking the ocean, but as we discover, it’s actually quite cosy on grey autumn evenings too.
We stop for a drink in the bar before dinner. It’s full of happy Friday punters. At our booking time, we head into the dining room. Despite being bordered by glass windows on two sides, the space is glowing with (real) candles and warmth and we are shown to our table in the corner overlooking the ocean. It’s been a while since I ate here, so I can’t remember if the room-length bench table running along the ocean front was always part of the space. Regardless, it’s a great idea and works perfectly for groups of two – private and picturesque. The sun has set and it’s black, but we can still see the angry sea lashing the beach below.
This is the setting in which renowned Hunter chef Lesley Taylor now finds herself. The celebrated chef has left landlubbing Lambton and headed for the coast. Her influence on the new menu is sophisticated and tasteful, without being pretentious. It’s food on par with the stunning surroundings.
BLUE BACKDROP: The dining space at Merewether Surfhouse is sophisticated and tasteful, like its menu. Photos: Max Mason-Hubers
The menu is seasonal and showcases Lesley’s French-influenced strengths, not on just the traditional dishes such as confit duck with sarladaise potato or a fatty piece of pork belly with cromesquis; there is a delicateness to everything, a finesse from the vegetables to the steaks.
Fittingly, there is ample seafood on the menu, but also plenty to pay homage to the dining room’s former grill-house focus.Seared scallops and pressed pork hock with watermelon kimchi takes the best flavours of summer and blends them with the earthiness of autumn; the kimchi encapsulating the lingering memories of dribbly melon eaten by the baths below.
In this weather, a bowl full of handmade gnocchi is creamy and comforting. The pillows have the perfect tooth feel – not floury, not tough, not soggy. They are sweet and starchy. Tossed with sautéed mushrooms and pumpkin, it manages to stay an oil-free zone so as not to overwhelm the elements. There are hits of heady truffle and freshness from microherbs. It’s so very good.
REIMAGINED: Surf and turf, featuring wood-grilled fish.
A king prawn entree also makes use of these perfect pillows. The prawns are firm and flavoursome and plentiful, and cut into bite-sized pieces. They sit among the gnocchi in a delicate savoury barely-there bisque that holds it all together and clings to each bite. I know entrees are coated in hunger sauce so they always seem to taste better than mains, but these were so yummy.
Choosing a main is difficult,but it’s hard to go past the surf and turf at a seaside eatery. But there’s no steak with prawns on top here. Chef Taylor-style is a piece of wood-grilled market fish (it’s swordfish tonight) sitting atop a rich oxtail ragout with mushrooms and a cheesy potato foam. The swordfish stays slightly crusty on the outside and moist on the inside and the turf is hearty and saucy.A roulade of chicken is full of flavour and soft, but with bite. Additional popcorn chicken is fun and textural and the slice of beetroot and sweet potato galette paired with confit carrot adds a root vegetable earthiness to the plate.
There’s room for a dessert to share…just. The deconstructed lemon meringue has tufts of not-too-sweet-not-too-sour curd alongside plumes of coconut cream. I couldn’t detect the zing of the jalapeño soaked pineapple, but the other flavours stood on their own. A berry coulis adds more tartness to the plate, while shortbread crumbs provide that wonderful buttery mouthfeel.
The wine list features predominantly n and New Zealand drops and there are plenty of other options in the form of beer and cocktails. Service is attentive and knowledgeable.
It’s full and jovial for a rainy Friday night. Conversations are relaxed and flow.The food is a joy to look at and even better to eat. It’s the new Lesley Taylor, but with all the maturity garnered from years in the kitchen.
Quick BiteWhat: Lesley Taylor and Merewether SurfhouseContact: surfhouse,com.au; 4918 0000Hours: Dinner Wed-Sat, lunch Sun. Head chef: Lesley TaylorTake note: Group menus for 12+ people.Bottom line: Entrees $19-26; mains $36-$42; dessert $15.Must try: Surf and turf; the gnocchi.
Katy Perry has sent Taylor Swift a real olive branch to fix past hurts between the two hit singers.Katy Perry has sent Taylor Swift a real olive branch, appearing to end a long-running feud between two of pop music’s biggest stars.
Swift, 28, posted a video of the package, which also included a letter from Perry, on her Instagram stories account with the caption “Thank You Katy” and a double heart emoji.
The fight, which started as a dispute over back up dancers, has dominated the personal and professional lives of the two singers for more than four years and played out in their songs.
Swift’s 2014 single “Bad Blood” was believed to be directed at Perry. Perry, 33, described her 2017 single, “Swish Swish,” as “a great anthem for people to use whenever somebody’s trying to hold you down or bully you.”
An attempt by Perry a year ago to bury the hatchet, when she apologised for past actions and called Swift a “fantastic singer” was met with silence from Swift.
On Tuesday however, the singer said in her Instagram story, “I just got to my dressing room and found this actual olive branch. This means so much to me.”
An olive branch is a traditional symbol of peace.
The olive branch, along with a letter beginning “Hey Old Friend, I’ve been doing some reflecting on past miscommunications and hurt feelings between us,” arrived on the first day of Swift’s worldwide “Reputation” tour, in Glendale, Arizona.
It also followed Perry’s headline grabbing appearance on Monday at the Met Gala in New York, where she dressed as an angel.
Swift and Perry’s make-up was among the top 10 trending items worldwide on Twitter on Tuesday.
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak votes in national elections in his hometown of Pekan.Malaysians have been voting in a cliffhanger election pitting Prime Minister Najib Razak’s coalition against a resurgent opposition led by 92-year-old former leader Mahathir Mohamad, but the government is expected to clinch a narrow win.
The long-ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition faces a far greater challenge than ever before in the Southeast Asian Muslim-majority nation, with public anger over rising prices and a multi-billion-dollar scandal that has dogged Najib since 2015.
Najib, 64, has been buffeted by the scandal over 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), a state fund from which billions of dollars were allegedly siphoned off.
An election-eve opinion poll suggested that the ruling coalition’s support was slipping and that Mahathir’s Pakatan Harapan (Alliance of Hope) would land more votes in peninsular Malaysia, home to 80 per cent of the population.
However, under Malaysia’s first-past-the-post system, the party or alliance with the majority of seats in the 222-member parliament wins. Most experts believe that is within Najib’s reach.
“I think right now, it looks more favourable to BN … however, the margin that we’re talking about is very small,” said Mohamed Nawab Mohamed Osman, a Malaysia scholar at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore.
The opposition has claimed the contest is skewed after the government redrew electoral boundaries and set a mid-week poll date that discouraged millions from voting, but the government and the Election Commission have dismissed the accusations.
The Election Commission said that 69 per cent of the roughly 15 million registered voters had cast their vote as of 0700 GMT on Wednesday, two hours before polls close.
Around 85 per cent voted at the last election in 2013.
Voters complained on social media groups of long queues outside polling centres, which resulted in a waiting time of up to three hours or more for some. Opposition leaders called for voting hours to be extended so that all voters are able to participate.
Most results are expected before midnight but the count may spill into the early hours of Thursday.
Malaysia’s majority ethnic Malay Muslims support BN for affirmative-action policies that give them government contracts, cheap housing and guaranteed university admissions.
Mahathir’s opposition alliance, which counts on urban votes and support from the minority ethnic Chinese and Indian communities, is hoping that with the long-ruling former leader as its standard bearer, it will draw in Malay voters traditionally loyal to BN.
Mahathir is a polarising figure and many voters are suspicious of him because of his attacks on independent institutions when he was prime minister between 1981 and 2003.
But Najib has another formidable opponent in former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim, who is currently serving a five-year prison sentence on a sodomy conviction that has been attacked by human rights groups as politically motivated.
Anwar led the opposition in the 2008 and 2013 polls. In an unlikely reconciliation, he has joined hands with Mahathir, who sacked him as his deputy in 1998.
PRIME POSITION: The Quarter Deck is one of the most sought-after streets in Merewether Heights. No.13 is on the market for the first time and goes under the hammer today.Ahome which is on the market for the first time since being built in 1980 could set a new sale record for The Quarter Deck on Saturday.
Century 21 Novocastrian’s Nick Stewart has been marketing No.13, which will go to auction at 11.15am today witha price guide of $940,000 to $990,000.
Mr Stewart said 43 groups had been through the three-bedroom home during the three-week campaign.
“It is not a home that has wow factor but it is perfect for someone who is looking for location and to build onto the home,” Mr Stewart said.
He described The Quarter Deck as “arguably the best street in Merewether Heights”.
The previous highest sale for the street, according to n Property Monitors data, was $900,000 last year.
At 12.45pm,Robinson Property’s Mike Flook will take 54 Edward Street, Merewether to auction with a price guide of $1.6 million. The renovated residence has ocean and city views.
RENOVATED: This dual-level home in Merewether’s Edward Street will go to auction with a price guide of $1.6 million.
At 3pm, a 1904 home that has been totally renovated at 45 Hudson Street, Hamilton is set to go under the hammer with a guide of $880,000. It has been marketed by Kate Rundle of Walkom Real Estate.
The Quarter Deck closing in on $1million HISTORIC HAMILTON: Renovated circa 1900s home in Hudson Street set to go under the hammer.
HISTORIC HAMILTON: Renovated circa 1900s home in Hudson Street set to go under the hammer.
HISTORIC HAMILTON: Renovated circa 1900s home in Hudson Street set to go under the hammer.
HISTORIC HAMILTON: Renovated circa 1900s home in Hudson Street set to go under the hammer.
TweetFacebook 45 Hudson Street, Hamilton set for auctionAt 10.30am, Dalton Partners’ Anthony Merlo will take 11 Lindus Street,Wickhamto auction with a guide of $640,000.
On May 5, there were 29 bids for a four-bedroom home inHarle Street, Hamilton South before it sold for $1.21 million.
SOLD: There were 29 bids for a four-bedroom home in Harle Street, Hamilton South before it was finally secured at auction for $1.21 million on May 5.
Scott MorrisonScott Morrison’s third budget failed todeliver critical investment in health, education and infrastructure to the Hunter region, according to federal Labor MPs criticising the document.
But a Turnbull government Hunter spokesman argues the budget guarantees essential services such asMedicare, medicine, hospitalsand mental health.
In a joint statement, Hunter MP Joel Fitzgibbon, Newcastle’s Sharon Claydon, Shortland’s Pat Conroy, Paterson MP Meryl Swanson and Dobell MP Emma McBride said the Hunter and Central Coast regions were again outside the treasurer’s radar.
With no mention of infrastructure projects from the MPs’ wish list in the budget – including the Glendale transport interchange, the M1 link to Raymond Terrace or a Cessnock ring road linking the town to the Hunter Expressway – Mr Fitzgibbon said the region’s needs had been “frustratingly ignored”.
“There is very little in the budget for the Hunter region unfortunately,” Mr Fitzgibbonsaid.
“They were talking about a big cash splash on infrastructure but we haven’t received our share. We have four projects desperately in need of funding that have been forgotten by this government.”
Thebudgetearmarked $55.2 million over five years for drinking water programs in PFAS-affected areas but Ms Swanson said she “wanted this government to take action and responsibility and yet again they failed to deliver for the people of Williamtown and surrounds”.
Ms Claydon said the modest tax cuts did not make upfor the loss of penalty rates, record low wage growth and job insecurity facingNewcastle workers.
Mr Conroy said the government had “locked in their $80 billion of tax cuts for the big end of town”.
But Senator Jim Molan rejected the Hunter MPs’comments in response to the budget, saying the government hadcommitted to an extra $30 billion for the nation’s hospitals overfive years.
“From 2020-21 to 2024-25, the new agreement will deliver a record $130.2 billion in public hospital funding,” he said.
“This represents a more than doubling of public hospital funding under the Coalition government, rising from $13.3 billion in 2012-13 to $28.7 billion in 2024-25.”
Outside of Labor’s expected criticism, response to the budget in the Hunter has been muted, with even business groups arguing that more could have been done for the region or their constituents.
Hunter Business Chamber chief executive Bob Hawes saidthat while the budget gave “a solid economic blueprint for the nation, more needs to be done to support business”.
“While some sections of business will gain a net benefit, more should be done to encourage the growth of small business across our region,” Mr Hawes said.
“The majority of benefit for the Hunter will be a consequence of continuation of existing programs and unfortunately, not from new initiatives.
“This includes extension of the $20,000 instant asset write-off for another 12 months to June 30, 2019, as well as the boost and maintenance of existing programs and initiatives around infrastructure, innovation and research and development.
“We welcome the news of a $200 million boost to Building Better Regions funding and hope the Hunter will see its fair share of this.”
Leading affordableand community housing provider, Newcastle-based Compass Housing, was disappointed there was nothing in the budget for housing.
Spokesperson Professor David Adamsonsaid the housing needs of ns hadbeen ignored despite widespread agreement and evidence that ’s housing system was broken.
Newcastle specialist health and elder care lawyer Catherine Henry saidthe budget had not tackled key issues for aged care residents.
Ms Henry, of Catherine Henry Lawyers, said the announcement of an extra14,000 high-level home care support packages over the next four years was welcome but did nothing to to ensure the 170,000-plus nsin aged care facilities receivedappropriate care.
Ms Henry said the government needed toincrease regulation of aged care accommodation. It should require mandatedstaff-to-patient ratios to tackle the “woefully inadequate staffing arrangements that operate in the sector”.
The Master Builders Association endorsed the budget, saying it would boostconfidence in the building and construction industry.
“Building and construction investment is a major driver of the improvement in the Budget position,” chief executive Denita Wawn said.
But industry think tank Infrastructure Partnerships took aim at the budget’s professed capital works program, saying that infrastructure funding had actually been reduced by $2 billion over the forward estimates, meaning less cash for projects and more congestion for commuters.
“It’s concerning to see that the Federal Budget has cut real infrastructure funding by $2 billion over the forward estimates,” IPA chief executive Adrian Dwyer said.
GLORIOUS: The 72 Sports Motor Yacht.RIVIERA has two world-first, red-carpet launches lined up for the 30th anniversary Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show starting May 24 – the gallant 395 SUV and glorious 72 Sports Motor Yacht.
Riviera owner Rodney Longhurst says the 395 provides a compelling new entree to the cruiser family, while the 72-footer represents the epitome of innovation, style and advanced technology.
“It’s our much-awaited sub-40-foot model, offering a generous cockpit, two spacious staterooms, a large bathroom and an open and comfortable saloon with aft galley,” Longhurst said of the handy-sized SUV.
“Our second world premiere is the 72 Sports Motor Yacht, which offers discerning owners the exhilaration of sports performance with the luxurious comforts for which Riviera is recognised.”
Every model in Riviera’s Sanctuary Cove showcase will feature innovations like Glass Cockpit navigation and systems monitoring as well as touch-screen CZone digital switching and joystick controls for low-speed manoeuvring.
Longhurst adds that a number of unique features were added to the new models, reflecting a commitment to continuous improvement.
GALLANT: An artist impression of the 395 SUV. Among other features, it has a new hull and deck design.
“The new 395 SUV features an entirely new hull and deck design and raised bulwarks on the side decks to provide an additional level of security when moving forward or aft.
“It combines the single-level entertaining that is in the DNA of our Sport Yacht collection with the wide, open cockpits and go-anywhere attributes of our classic blue-water flybridge collection.”
The cockpit looks well suited for entertaining as a comprehensive barbecue centre is set across the transom, facing forward and accessed from the swim platform.
Sun-lovers will also enjoy the foredeck that can take a large sun lounge.
Power for the 395 SUV comes from Volvo Penta D6 IPS 500 turbo-diesel engines providing 370hp apiece with IPS 10 drive units. These are covered by a five-year warranty to complement the Riviera five-year structural warranty.
As an extension of last season’s Riviera 68, the 72 Sports Motor Yacht was designed to blend whisper-quiet performance and super-smooth running at speed with luxurious cabin and flybridge comforts.
“From an expansive cockpit offering everything for the sports fisher and water sports enthusiast to a massive entertainer’s foredeck and alfresco dining opportunities with an elevated and covered mezzanine, this is a motor yacht that delivers the ultimate on-board experience,” Longhurst says.
In the main saloon, the U-shaped aft galley wouldn’t look out of place in My Kitchen Rules.
Further forward are a large lounge to port and a leather dinette to starboard.
The accommodation deck offers two stateroom options – the four-cabin Classic or three-cabin Presidential with full-beam master stateroom.
Power for the Riviera 72 Sports Motor Yacht is provided by twin MAN V12 turbo diesel engines delivering 1800hp as standard, or 1900hp optionally.
KEEPIT KOOL REGATTAIF you don’t mind travelling, the 50th Keepit Kool regatta is planned for next month’s long weekend (June 9-11) on the remote waterway between Tamworth and Gunnedah.
Racing is open to all off-the-beach dinghy classes, catamarans, sports boats and trailer yachts. There are also club boats available for visiting competitors – Lasers, Corsairs, Toppers and Manly Juniors among them.
Six races are planned over three days.
All meals are catered for by Lake Keepit Sailing Club and there are log fires, hot showers, and evening entertainment. The club itself was formed in 1960, not long after the dam was completed.
SCRIBE SADLY MISSEDIT’S with sadness I report that the boating industry has lost arguably its finest contemporary scribe with the shock passing of David Lockwood after a short illness.
Latch, as he was nicknamed, knew boats better than anyone, having plied his writing trade continuously for 30 years and owned various vessels throughout. He also knew better than anyone how to write about them, putting craftsmanship into the craft. Few matched his eloquence.
I worked with David at Modern Boating for many years before he embarked on roles at Trade-a-Boat, Sydney Morning Herald, Afloat magazine, and more recently the online news section for Boatsales.
Health goals: Luke McGrath and John Jones have taken over Shortland pharmacy, renaming it My Community Pharmacy. Picture: Simone De PeakWHEN you enter My Community Pharmacy in Shortland, there is a conspicuous absence from the shelves.
Pharmacists and co-owners John Jones and Luke McGrath don’t stock any confectionary beyond glucose jelly beans for those with hypoglycemia, and they’re off-limits to kids.
Sure, Mr Jones is also a dietician, but both are country-raised fathers who are passionate about good heath.
“A conflicting message comes out when you are telling people with diabetes to be healthy then selling chocolate at the counter – it’s an inconsistent message,” says Mr Jones, adding that by not stocking lollies he’s “sharing the love” with other nearby stores who do.
The business partners, who met when working for a previous employer, felt there was a gap in the market.
“Other pharmacies aren’t sticking up for what pharmacies represent, pharmacy traditionally is a healthcare service and a primary health care facility so that should be the priority first,” Mr McGrath says. “The business name that we have represents what we stand for – we areabout the community, helping peoplearound us and being a healthcare destination instead of a gift shop withaccess to medication.”
Mr Jones moved from his hometown of Taree to Newcastle as a teenager on a rugbyleague scholarship and playedreserves for the Knights. He obtained his dietician qualifications and practiced for a decade before deciding to complete a Master of Pharmacy.
“It’s a good marriage having dietician and pharmarcy,there’s not a day I don’t use both sets of skills,” he says.
“As a pharmacist I was seeing people far too late in their health journey, so in this position I get to see them straight up and have discussions early on from a nutrition and lifestyle pint of view.”
Mr McGrath said the pair decided to go into business after discovering how closely their values aligned: “We are verylikeminded and our wives laugh at the fact that wefinish each others sentences.”
The men say Shortland was “crying out for” a good pharmacy and they had undertaken renovations to reinvent the previous pharmacy site on Sandgate Road.Both are keen to respond to community feedback for healthcare services and said they’ve received overwhelming support since opening in March.
“We want people to have a great experience when they come here,” says Mr Jones.
The duo say their point of difference is preventative health and expert advice they give not only to parents but children: “Many pharmacists are stuck behind the counter but we have that influence and we should be using it,” says Mr Jones.
Parents whose children don’t meet immunisation requirements will have their welfare payments docked.Parents whose children don’t meet immunisation requirements will have their welfare payments docked $28 a fortnight after legislation cleared parliament.
Under the federal government’s tougher “no jab, no pay” policy, fortnightly Family Tax Benefit Part A payments will be reduced from July 1 for each child who has not been vaccinated.
The legislation, which passed the Senate on Wednesday, replaces the existing system under which end-of-year supplements are withheld for children whose immunisations are not up to date.
Government minister Concetta Fierravanti-Wells said the policy had already achieved significant increases in immunisation rates.
“The new measure will serve as an immediate incentive and constant reminder for non-compliant parents,” Senator Fierravanti-Wells told parliament.
Labor senator Louise Pratt said the more immediate penalties would help stop anti-vaccination beliefs from gaining a foothold in communities.
“We need to rely on strong herd immunity through vaccination and ensuring that people receive adequate vaccination,” she said.
The bill also makes changes to child support payments, some of which were opposed by Labor and the Greens.
Senator Pratt said changes to parents’ payments could be applied retrospectively, raising concerns people would be forced to pay back money they had already spent.
Greens senator Rachel Siewert warned parents, including single mothers, would have harsher debt recovery measures used against them even when administrative errors were made.
“If overpayment to payees is in fact such a significant issue, it should not be addressed through such a sledgehammer approach,” she said.
But Senator Fierravanti-Wells said the measures would not create new debt and allow over- and under-payments to be identified earlier.
“The debt already exists whether this measure passes or not,” she said.
The opposition’s attempt to have the debt recovery measure cut out of the bill failed.