What’s Selling: New suburb record set in Lambton with historic home

SOLD, AGAIN: This Federation home is one of the most well-known in Lambton. It was built in 1919 and has just been bought by its fourth owner. It has been sold three times now, and Scott Purnell has done every deal.
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Lambton’s most significant residence ‘Cartrefle’, at 79 Howe Street, sold for $1.54 million on November 23, setting a new residential sale record for the suburb according to n Property Monitors.

The four-bedroom 1919 residence set on a large corner block was marketed by Dalton Partners’ Mr Purnelland Joanna Cook.

Mr Purnell also sold the propertyin 1997 for $250,000 and in2007 for $525,000.

The previous suburb record for a house sale in Lambton was$1.201 million in 2013.

The pair alsosold 4 Walter Parade, Black Hill, on 2.5 acres last month for $1.7 million to the previous owners of Cartrefle.

McGrath Estate Agents’ Neil Fry sold 7 Sea Cliff Place during the week for aCaves Beach residential record of $2.75 million.

Heath Baird, of Baird Real Estate, described the $700,000 sale of a four-bedroom home at 4 Chapman Street as “unheard of in Cessnock”.

He said the market was moving well in the city with plenty of buyers coming from Newcastle, Sydney and the Central Coast.

First National’s George Rafty sold a four-bedroom home on over 1000 square metres in Charles Street, Cardiff for $660,000.

Meeks Real Estate’s Paul Meeks sold a four-bedroom dual level home in Forest Hill Estate, Garden Suburb for $785,000.

First National Altitude’s Bridgette Audetsold 17 Hillview Crescent, Macquarie Hills for $535,750.

Walkom’s Thomas Hook sold a three-bedroom home in Bernice Crescent, Waratah West for $470,000.

Ray White’s Stephen Dorman sold6B Bonarius Street,Edgeworthfor$470,000 and Dalton Partners’ Anthony Merlo sold a home in Palisade Street, Edgeworth for $580,000.

Nest Realty’s Michael Barber sold 63 Delasala Drive, Macquarie Hills for $480,000.

PRDnationwide’s Joel Soldado sold 79 Fleming Street, Wickham for $740,000, a renovated three-bedroom, two-bathroom home on 207 square metres.

Dalton Partners’ John Kerr sold 6 Hope Street, Jesmond for $615,000. a three-bedroom home on 468 square metres.

McGrath Estate Agents’ Todd Mason sold 140 St James Road, New Lambton, which was marketed with a price guide of $1.25 million to $1.375 million,for an undisclosed sum prior to auction.

A brand new home at 4 Milne Street in Shortland was sold by Street Property Group’s Damon Sellis for $568,000.

Villager Property’s Allyson Little sold 80 Lonus Street, Whitebridge, a four-bedroom home plus studio for $975,000.

Two games out: Marrone receives leniency after ball-boy incident

Adelaide United defender Michael Marrone was last night hit with a four-game ban for knocking down a ball boy during the FFA Cup final but could be free to play next weekend after his near impeccable record was taken into account.
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A Football Federation disciplinary committee found Marrone guilty of serious unsporting conduct for his red-card offence last week but decided to suspend two matches of his sentence on the account of his honest mistake and immediate steps to make amends.

It means Marrone will miss Friday night’s A-League game against Sydney FC but having missed last weekend’s 2-0 win over Western Sydney Wanderers, he will be free to play against Melbourne Victory on December 8. A two-game suspended ban will hang over his head for the duration of the A-League season and will come into effect in the event of a similar offence, with details of that penalty to be confirmed on Wednesday.

Represented by interim club chief executive Nathan Kosmina, Marrone suggested he had no intention of colliding with the ball boy during extra time of the FFA Cup final. He apologised for the incident once again and did not contest his mistake, suggesting it was an error of judgment.

“I just wanted to take a throw-in. I was motioning for the ball,” Marrone said. “I thought he was going to just give it to me.”

Marrone’s disciplinary record was taken into account and viewed favourably, having received just one red card in 188 professional games in previously and that was for an unrelated offence. Marrone apologised immediately after the incident and attempted to speak to the boy after the game, but respected the family’s wishes for that to take place later in the week. Marrone did not complain when he received a red card from referee Kris Griffiths-Jones.

Marrone presented an email he sent to the ball boy’s father the day after the game, apologising for the incident. He also made a public statement reiterating his remorse, presented testaments from his teammates, coaches, news articles in his defence as well as character references from a former Adelaide United official.

“He has a very good record for a defender. He also – by all accounts – has a very good reputation as a player,” disciplinary committee chair John Marshall SC said.

However, the disciplinary committee ruled that the incident was worthy of the mandatory ban of one game, plus an additional three, two of which were suspended due to Marrone’s good character and the sincerity of his apologies.

Adelaide United accepted the ban.

“Marrone and the Club are happy with the fair and reasonable result and are looking forward to moving on and to focus on Friday night’s match against Sydney FC at Coopers Stadium,” a club statement read.

Suburb Profile: Wickham

An inner-city suburb undergoing change DEVELOPMENT: An artist’s impression of the view from new complex Eaton on Union, which will comprise 114 apartments.
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HARBOUR LIVING: Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club and the Commercial Fisherman’s Co-operative Limited are in Wickham.

NEW HUB: The brand new Newcastle Interchange in Wickham was officially unveiled to the public in October. Picture: Marina Neil

TweetFacebookSUBURB SNAPSHOTEnjoying a harbourside location, this inner city suburb is on the move.

It is bordered by Newcastle harbour, Tighes Hill, Hamilton and Newcastle West and is hometo around 1100 people.

That figure is set to grow rapidlywith several apartment complexes under construction and more to come.

Historical fact –the first mayor of Wickham was James Hannell.

LIFESTYLENewcastle City Council has identified the suburbas key to the city’s development with a Wickham Master Plan in place.

It is proving a popular place to live for first home buyers, young families, investors and downsizers due to its accessibility to the harbour as well as proximity to cosmopolitan Beaumont Street, Honeysuckle precinct and Newcastle’s cultural centre.

FROM THE EXPERTWickhamis a main beneficiary of the $650 milliongovernment revitalisation projects in Newcastle.

Projects such as the new transport interchange andthe light railare transforming the city centre by strengthening connections between the city and waterfront, creating job opportunities, providing new housing and public spaces connected to better transport.

This has combined with the University City Campus NeW Space and the new law courts to create a vibrant inner city.

Making Wickham an urban villageis one of the aims of the council’s master plan, whichhas enabled the area’s transformation from old industrial sheds to modern state-of-the-art residential apartments.

Improvements in the area have assisted property sales price growth of over 27 per centin the past 18 months.

Buyers are seeing the long-term benefits of living in this inner city hub.

– Presented by Scott Walkom, Walkom Real Estate

Craig Ransley cleared over charges laid following ICAC inquiry into Doyles Creek deal at Jerrys Plains

NOT GUILTY: Newcastle businessman Craig Ransley, right, has been cleared over charges that arose from an ICAC inquiry into a mining deal at Jerrys Plains in the Upper Hunter. Newcastle businessman and mining entrepreneur Craig Ransley has been cleared of wrongdoing, over charges stemming from a corruption probe into the grantingof a lucrative coal exploration licence in the Hunter Valley.
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The same inquiry by the Independent Commission against Corruption (ICAC) led to the high profile jailing of former NSW Labor Minister Ian Macdonald and union boss John Maitland earlier this year.

But District Court Judge Peter Zahra has exonerated Mr Ransley for his role in the deal, throwing out three charges against him of making a false statement to obtain money.

The charges were laid by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions after the ICAC hit Mr Ransley with a corrupt conduct finding in 2013.

The Newcastle Heraldwas unable to reach Mr Ransley for comment on Tuesday.

Macdonald was found guilty of misconduct in public office, after he corruptly awarded the exploration licence to Doyles Creek Mining Pty Ltd in 2008, without a competitive tender process.

The licence was granted to his political ally John Maitland, who was spruiking plans for a ‘training mine’ at Jerrys Plains.

Read more:

Deal signed over suckling pig dinnerFormer union boss John Maitland escapes third trial on ICAC chargesIan Macdonald found corrupt by ICAC again‘You’ve made my day’: former Labor minister convictedMaitland – who has been convicted of being an accessory to public misconduct – went on to secure a $15 million windfall when Doyles Creek Mining was sold to listed company Nucoal Resources.

Mr Ransley was a business associate of Maitland’s and a director of Doyles Creek Mining.

During the judge-alone trial, Crown prosecutors alleged Mr Ransley allowed false statements to be published in the company’s two applications to the NSW Department of Primary Industries for the exploration licence in 2008.

In the applications, Doyles Creek Mining claimed it had signed a number of Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) with community and business partners, which demonstrated broad support for the training mine proposal.

However it has emerged that one of the MOUs – with a Hunter organisation known as Coal Services – never existed at the time either application was made in 2008.

Coal Services is an industry-owned organisation which provides health insurance and training services to the mining industry.

There is also doubt over the existence of an MOU between Doyles Creek Mining and the Hunter Region SLSA Helicopter Rescue Service, better known as the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service.

Although the organisation’s board voted in favour of entering into the MOU, a signed copy of the document has never been located.

But in a verdict handed down on Monday, Judge Zahra found that it had not been proved beyond reasonable doubt that Mr Ransley was at fault for any reference in either of the applications to documents that did not exist.

He said that “in assessing the criminal culpability” of Mr Ransley, it was importantthat the charges only related to “limited alleged criminal conduct” in the context of the broader coal deal.

“It must be kept in mind that the accused is not charged with the offences for which the former Minister Mr Macdonald and Mr Maitland were tried and convicted,” he said.

“The evidence may support a conclusion that the accused was aware that Mr Maitland was acting with the Minister Mr Macdonald to circumvent the proper processes in the application for an exploration licence … and he may have been aware that Mr Maitland and Mr Macdonald were acting corruptly.”

But Judge Zahra found that while Mr Ransley had a “strong motive to act dishonestly” due to the financial returns that could be achieved through the coal mine, that did not prove that he knew any of the statements published in the applications were false.

The first application – for consent to apply for a mining exploration licence – was made in March, 2008.

Doyles Creek Mining was then given the green light to lodge its formal application with the department, which it did seven months later in October.

Just before the first application was lodged, the reference to an MOU with Coal Services was removed from a cover letter at the request of Mr Maitland.

However subsequent references in the body of the application were never deleted. They remained in an identical submission lodged in October.

Mr Ransley was on business overseas at the time the first application was lodged, and his lawyers argued he was unable to review the final version of the document on his Blackberry.

Judge Zahra could not determine whythe reference to the Coal Services MOU ended up in the application, but said the evidence did not show that Mr Ransley had any hand in it.

The judge found the negotiations over and signing of both MOUs appeared to be the domain of Mr Maitland.

This was although Mr Ransley was heavily involved in putting together the applications, Judge Zahra found.

“Please ensure you go over this with a fine tooth comb,” Mr Ransley wrote in one email to his colleagues.

“Remember, the department will pull the submission to pieces and try and test our assumptions and operation validity. Otherwise bloody good job by all.”

The general manager of the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service, Richard Jones, was responsible for signing the MOU on his organisation’s behalf.

He told the court if the document hadn’t been signed it was an “oversight” andit was “very likely” he communicated to Mr Maitland the MOU was in place.

“The management of the helicopter acted in such a way that represented to others that such a signed MOU existed,” Judge Zahra found.

It was found the time lapse from when the mine deal occurred to when the charges were laidaffected the quality of evidence from witnesses.

“Had the allegations been brought to light and the prosecution commenced much sooner, it would be expected that the memory of witnesses for details of events would have been clearer,” Judge Zahrasaid.

Appeal against one-year sentence for two ‘stale’ rape offences

A one-year non-parole sentence for a man who twice raped a sex worker at knife point was “manifestly inadequate”, the Crown has argued on appeal.
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But his defence lawyers said the offences were “stale” and the sentence reflected the constructive, law-abiding life he had lived since committing the crimes in 1990.

Robert John Hall was 32 when he called a 23-year-old escort worker to his motel room in Kiama on the NSW south coast. There he taped bandages over her eyes and sexually assaulted her twice while holding a large knife near her body.

“If you do that again I’ll f—ing kill you,” he warned when she tried to turn around.

Police closed the investigation the same year but in 2007 Hall submitted to a DNA swab after he drove off from a Queensland service station without paying for petrol.

The DNA sample linked him to one taken from the woman at Wollongong Hospital and stored on a national police database, leading to a renewed investigation.

After a jury found him guilty last year, he was sentenced in September to a five-year head sentence with a minimum of one year in jail.

District Court Judge Peter Whitford said the case was “highly exceptional”: since the offending Hall had shown “exemplary devotion to his family”, integrity in business and a willingness to volunteer.

“Mr Hall has already established that he can rehabilitate himself, and indeed has,” Judge Whitford found.

“He has become a fully participating, productive member of society.”

Hall, 59, sat slumped in a chair in prison on Tuesday, appearing via video link before the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal as the Crown argued his sentence was far too lenient.

“Both the non-parole term and the head sentence are manifestly inadequate,” a barrister, who did not wish to be named, said.

The Crown said while Judge Whitford had found Hall committed “objectively quite terrible criminal conduct”, other remarks in his judgment showed he had not treated the crimes seriously enough. For example, Judge Whitford had said the sexual assaults took place over a “relatively short” period of time, about 15 to 30 minutes.

The Crown also said Hall, who had claimed the sex was consensual, “has not in any way acknowledged his guilt” and that his sentence failed to reflect his lack of remorse.

But Hall’s barrister, Richard Wilson, said his client should not face a longer prison term, partly because of the “staleness” of the offences committed in 1990.

“It’s so far in the past of the offender that his situation is entirely different,” Mr Wilson said, pointing to Hall’s family ties, age and lack of reoffending.

“His plea of not guilty, and therefore his lack of remorse, say nothing about his prospects of rehabilitation,” Mr Wilson said.

He told the judges that Hall’s giving, positive behaviour “eclipsed” the lack of contrition and that there was less need to deter others from criminal activity where the crimes dated back decades.

Justices Carolyn Simpson, Robert Allan Hulme and Helen Wilson retired to consider their decision. Hall would be first eligible for release next August.

ANZ sacks bankers for drugs, sexual harassment

ANZ Bank has sacked a “small” group of its bankers for taking illegal drugs at a work-related event and recently let another staff member go for sexually harassing a woman from a rival banking organisation at a separate outing.
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ANZ revealed the sackings in an all staff email sent on Monday by the bank’s group executive talent and culture Kathryn van der Merwe that also detailed a massive surge in whistleblower cases at the bank.

Ms van der Merwe described the behaviour in her email to staff as “unacceptable”.

“Earlier this year Shayne (Elliott, chief executive of ANZ) shared with line managers a true story where a small number of ANZ people used illegal drugs at an out-of-hours work-related event,” Ms van der Merwe wrote.

“We took swift action and the people involved are no longer employed by ANZ.”

The action came as banking culture is in the spotlight with the federal government under pressure to establish an inquiry into the entire financial services sector.

Ms van der Merwe said that another recent case involved an ANZ employee who attended an industry event that was not put on by the ANZ.

At the event the employee made “unwelcomed sexual comments and advances towards a female from another bank”, she said.

“The conduct occurred at a bar in the evening. Make no mistake – even though the conduct did not occur during work hours or at an ANZ event – his conduct was found to be work-related and he was dismissed.”

The email also revealed that whistleblower cases were up a staggering 80 per cent in the past 12 months.

Ms van der Merwe encouraged staff to speak up and report behaviour that was outside of the bank’s standards.

“As you have seen recently in the media, speaking up about unacceptable behaviour can have a powerful impact and help generate important change.”

A spokesman for ANZ declined to comment on the email saying it spoke for itself.

He said the increase in whistleblower cases was the result of ANZ making its whistleblower process more transparent to ensure staff were aware of the safeguards and process.

Ms van der Merwe indicated in her email that other staff had been dismissed for behaviour that fell outside of the bank’s policies.

“Sometimes you might see or hear about unacceptable behaviour in the ANZ workplace – and if you don’t hear about the consequence, it’s easy to think there wasn’t one,” Ms van der Merwe said.

“This year, some of our people have been dismissed, others have received verbal and written warnings and we have reduced remuneration for senior leader who were rated inconsistent.”

In 2015 ANZ trader Etienne Alexiou sued the bank for breach of contract under unfair dismissal laws claiming he had been a victim of the bank’s bawdy, drug-fuelled culture which included taking drugs at work events, drinking to excess, boasting of sexual exploits and frequent visits to strip clubs.

He later dropped the suit citing high costs and personal pressure associated with the case.

ANZ at the time denied it had a culture issue.

‘A massive handbrake’: $40 billion industry readies for expanded banking inquiry

‘s $40 billion insurance industry is preparing to face fresh public scrutiny, as an increasingly confident group of Nationals MPs move to push a powerful commission of inquiry into the financial services sector through Parliament before Christmas.
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Much of the focus of the past week has been on banking misconduct, but the spotlight was thrown on insurers on Tuesday after Nationals MP Llew O’Brien said he would cross the floor and support the bill in defiance of government policy on the condition any probe investigates how the industry had treated customers with mental health conditions.

Nationals senator Barry O’Sullivan, who will introduce the legislation on Wednesday, is negotiating with the Greens on amendments but both parties are confident the inquiry will pass the Senate and then House of Representatives.

However the momentum has spooked the business community. The former head of the government’s 2014 Financial System Inquiry, David Murray, rounded on the suggestion of a royal commission or inquiry.

“What are the self interests driving this?” Mr Murray told Fairfax Media. “It just begs the question.”

“I think it would be a very bad look for , with the fundamentals of the financial system being so sound, and with the rest of the world being our net creditor.”

His comments reflect the sentiments of many within the business and financial community who worry a royal commission would convey to international markets the impressioin of a banking system beset with faults and vulnerabilities.

The financial services sector contributes 10 per cent of gross domestic product and has already been through 18 government reviews and inquiries.

Financial Services Council chief executive Sally Loane said a commission of inquiry would be a “massive handbrake” on a industry that is now bigger than mining.

“It would put all ongoing reforms on hold and little would be done outside of it.”

The push for an expansive probe followed Fairfax Media reports last year that doctors at the Commonwealth Bank’s insurance arm, Comminsure, had been pressured to change assessments of customers to avoid payout and delayed insurance payouts to terminally ill customers.

Maurice Blackburn principal lawyer Josh Mennen said his firm had thousands of clients that could give evidence of being pushed into an insurance product recommended by a financial advisor only to have their claim later denied.

“As it comes closer to reality we are starting to advise our clients and we will be encouraging any who want to and feel strong enough to tell their stories,” he said.

He said he was encouraged by the expansion of the bill to include subsiduaries, which would help capture offshoots of financial services firms.

“What we don’t want is a situation where the inquiry orders a notice to produce, and the banks say that is held by a subsiduary company that is not covered,” he said.

“They have very complicated corporate structures and we need to make sure there aren’t any locked doors so we can uncover all the skeletons.”

The Greens, who the rebel Nationals MPs will rely on to get the bill through Parliament, have raised concerns that the terms of reference are too narrow, but are prepared to work with Senator O’Sullivan to get the bill passed.

Senator Peter Whish-Wilson told the Greens party room on Tuesday he would push for a broader bill to capture systemic issues including executive remuneration, political donations and lobbying.

He said the inquiry, which will have all the rights of a royal commission including the power to compel witnesses to give evidence under oath, and make it an offence to fail to attend, was necessary to bring financial executives to account beyond the power of conventional Senate hearings.

Out of 21 Nationals, only two MPs and two members of cabinet have stated their outright opposition to the proposal.

Queensland MP Ken O’Dowd said any inquiry would need to guarantee a super-powered banking watchdog to police the sector.

“I need to be assured that we are going to have a watchdog to pull them into line,” he said.

But Mr O’Dowd said he was concerned about the impact of an inquiry on shareholders, many of whom are his constituents.

“Hurting shareholders should be considered by Senator O’Sullivan and I will be putting that case in the party room on Monday,” he said.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull categorically ruled out an inquiry again on Tuesday.

“We have made it clear we are not going to establish a royal commission because we want to get on with the job now,” Mr Turnbull said.

Council begins cleaning out illegal boarding houses

Thomas Foods in Tamworth, NSW. 22nd November 2017 Photo: Janie Barrett The foyer of 10 Ebony Close, Hillvue, one of many properties rented by Frank Lin and turned into illegal boarding houses for Taiwanese nationals who are working at the nearby Thomas Foods meat processing plant. 22nd November 2017 Photo: Janie Barrett
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11a Banks St, Westdale near Tamworth, one of many properties rented by Frank Lin and turned into illegal boarding houses for Taiwanese nationals who are working at the nearby Thomas Foods meat processing plant. 21st November 2017 Photo: Janie Barrett

Dozens of migrant workers face losing their homes as authorities move to shut down suspected illegal boarding houses operating in Tamworth.

Tamworth Regional Council said it had begun cleaning out the boarding houses, sending “notices of intention” to the owners of 12 premises “where investigations have led us to conclude they are illegally being operated”.

The notices were sent less than 24 hours after a Fairfax Media investigation revealed a network of potentially illegal boarding houses, the residents of which worked at the local meat processing plant run by Thomas Foods International. Thomas Foods does not operate the boarding houses.

Thomas Foods is Tamworth’s largest employer, supplying lamb and mutton to household names including Woolworths, Aldi, Coles and McDonald’s.

Until Tuesday, the council had acted to close down one illegal boarding house in the past year, but were aware of a further eight, reported in August.

The council’s general manager Paul Bennett said it could be difficult for officers to gather evidence.

“One of problems we have been facing is that, when council officers visit the properties, no one answers the door,” he said.

Owners of the homes will now have 30 days to prove their property is not being used illegally, or apply for the house to be approved as a boarding house.

Thomas Foods profits from using migrant workers. Often starting at entry-level pay rates, many workers must leave after six months and never advance to higher levels of pay. Pay rates start at $17.58 an hour under an agreement signed in September, 2015. A spokesman from the company said pay packets had increased since 2015 and the current rate was “much higher”.

Thomas Foods had previously said in response to questions many of its employees progressed to higher remuneration levels in a short period of time.

The surrounding New England region suffers from high youth unemployment, which is at 19.6 per cent, well above the national average of 12.4 per cent.

Tamworth mayor Col Murray said he would like to see local businesses, including Thomas Foods, “consider local residents when they are looking to employ new staff”.

“However, this is not always practical and council knows first hand it is not always possible to find someone who already lives locally and is the right fit for a specific role with the necessary skill set,” he said.

Many of the workers travel to Tamworth from Korea and Taiwan but, once they arrive, they say they feel trapped.

“If you want to get a job, you have to live in his house … if you didn’t live in his house, you never get into Thomas Foods. You have no choice,” one former worker said.

Fairfax Media has spoken to tenants of boarding houses controlled by local “house master” En-Ting Ling, known locally as Frank. He had previously denied his houses were overcrowded but admitted to possibly “six or eight” being housed in a single dwelling. The legal limit is five.

The council has been supportive of Thomas Foods. Earlier this month it waived four months’ worth of waste water charges and non-compliance fees. At the time Cr Murray said “Thomas Foods had been a really good corporate citizen” and the “largest private employer” in town.

Australasian Meat Industry Employees Union said a “black market labour network” was operating in Tamworth and described it as a national disgrace.

“Thomas Foods is turning a blind eye to local youth who desperately want a job, replacing them with an endless churn of backpacker workers who are exploited,” secretary Grant Courtney said.

Thomas Foods said on Monday the safety and wellbeing of all its staff was its “utmost priority” and that, if allegations about unlawful residential arrangements were proven to be true, it would “immediately terminate its arrangement with the labour hire agency”.

“TFI does not, and will not, condone any unlawful practices by a labour hire agency and will not engage an agency found to be operating illegally in any way,” the company said in a statement.

Woods prepared to ‘get needle’ for England showdown

Kangaroos prop Aaron Woods will need a painkilling injection to play in the World Cup final as brushed off a fitness doubt over Josh McGuire before Saturday night’s decider in Brisbane.
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The Bulldogs-bound Woods, who will butt heads with former Canterbury captain and English firebrand James Graham, is craving a six-week rest arguably more than any other player after aggravating a shoulder injury in the semi-final romp over Fiji.

But he insisted there will be no excuses against Wayne Bennett’s rugged England pack, which will need to bully their opponents to have any chance of engineering a boilover in the final.

“Before the game I’ll probably get a needle and see how it feels,” Woods said.

“I thought I had popped my shoulder out [against Fiji] and I did my AC when I was younger. At the moment I’ve got a separated AC and it just made it a little more separated.

“It can become a bit uncomfortable, but if you have a few painkillers before the game you can’t feel it. A lot of blokes have it and it’s a common rugby league injury. It just needs rest.

“I’ll just get through this game and then I’ve got six weeks off.”

It means Woods will arrive at Belmore fit and firing for a truncated pre-season under new Bulldogs coach Dean Pay, who is already putting the club’s other marquee recruit Kieran Foran through his paces.

McGuire trained in isolation away from the main Kangaroos group on Tuesday morning as he battles an ankle complaint, while Will Chambers is overcoming a toe issue.

Yet most concern rests with McGuire.

“He was off his feet [on Tuesday] morning and I’m sure he’ll be right to train [on Wednesday] and the team run as well,” McGuire’s Brisbane and Kangaroos teammate Matt Gillett said.

Meninga named an unchanged 17 for the final.

Kangaroos skipper Cameron Smith has been the biggest advocate of the one-referee system employed throughout the World Cup, but members of his forward pack have warned it won’t add to a great spectacle in international rugby league’s showpiece.

Smith’s praise came after the Kangaroos’ gritty 18-4 win against England in the tournament opener, but Woods and Gillett are expecting a grinding clash against Bennett’s side.

“It probably won’t be as an exciting football game as everyone wants to see … open and the ball passed around,” Woods said.

“But I suppose whoever gives in one bit, the other team has got to take the opportunity with open hands. It will be like the first time we played each other.”

Added Gillett: “Obviously with the one ref it slows things down a lot. As everyone has seen it makes the ruck pretty slow and it gives you a bit more time to pin them down.”

Gillett laughed at suggestions his Broncos coach, Wayne Bennett, doesn’t think England can beat after comments he made in the wake of the heart-stopping semi-final win over Tonga.

Bennett was an assistant to Stephen Kearney in New Zealand’s 2008 stunner at Suncorp Stadium.

“He said that, but I’m sure everyone realises he doesn’t mean it,” Gillett said. “He’s taking the pressure off them and helps them prepare and do all the right things. Coming here on Saturday night they’ll think they can win.

“I don’t think he would have kept anything up his sleeve. He’s all about training to the way you play and doing it on the training paddock before you go out and perform. For him to throw something in there out of left-field wouldn’t be like Wayne.”

One kilogram of ice found in BMW after crash, police allege

A BMW X5 that caused a multi-vehicle crash in Dundas contained a kilogram of the drug ice, which had exchanged hands at a south-west Sydney hotel on Monday, police allege.
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The vehicle was the subject of a targeted stop, as part of an interstate investigation into the supply of ice.

A man and two women were arrested when investigators from the Middle Eastern Organised Crime Squad attempted to stop the car on Silverwater Road, Dundas, shortly after 2pm on Monday.

The attempt led to a multiple-vehicle collision when the BMW failed to stop near an intersection.

Shortly after police located and seized a kilogram of ice inside the vehicle.

Both women were later released, pending further inquiries.

The 49-year-old man in the car, from Queensland, was taken to Westmead Hospital, before he was later charged with large commercial drug supply and using a weapon (a car) to avoid apprehension.

He was refused bail to appear at Parramatta Local Court on Tuesday.

Another man, Mohamed Ghanem, 34, was also arrested on Monday afternoon, after police searched his vehicle and his home in Greenacre, seizing mobile phones and almost $2000 in cash.

He was later charged with large commercial drug supply.

Police will allege Ghanem supplied the ice to the Queensland man at a hotel in Greenacre earlier on Monday.

On Tuesday Ghanem did not apply for bail at Bankstown Local Court and bail was formally refused. He will appear via audio-visual link at Burwood Local Court on February 7.

The arrests follow the establishment of a joint investigation by the NSW Police MEOCS and Queensland Police Service’s Major and Organised Crime Squad into the cross-border supply of ice.

As part of the investigation search warrants were also executed at a Queensland home and an automotive repair business on Monday, by Major and Organised Crime Squad investigators.

During the search investigators seized 285 grams of ice and documentation and two people were arrested.

MEOCS commander, Detective Superintendent Peter McErlain, said collaboration between law enforcement investigations was key to targeting organised crime.

“NSW Police Force has strong relationships with our law enforcement partners both here in and abroad, which allows us to track criminal networks across borders,” he said.

“By sharing information and working together, we can better understand how illicit businesses are connected, and ensure we intercept their illegal trades and cut deep into their profits.”