Daily Archives: December 13, 2015

Monster shark hauled from Hastings River


THE two words uttered by fisherman Denis Rivers when he hauled in this massive beast will be left to your imagination but there is nothing fake about the bull shark in this story.

The Port Macquarie fisho, who true to the sport refuses to give away his favourite spot to drop a line, was left cut and bleeding after a one hour struggle with the monster.

With nothing between him and the prize catch but his rod and a sturdy line, Denis fought for what felt like hours from the banks of the Hastings River before he got his first glimpse of what he had actually landed.

When the three metre bull shark emerged into the shallows, Denis could do nothing more than call out for help.

“There was a fellow up the road in a campervan. When I got it onto the bank I had to yell out and wake him up to come down and help me,” Denis said.

“When he first saw it he said ‘holy f*#k’ and we tried to move it but couldn’t.

“I called my mate Howie Griffin who drove down to where we were and we pulled it out of the river with his car.”

Denis said there are plenty of large bull sharks in the river with his average catch between 1.5 and 1.8 metres. But he says this is not the biggest he has caught.

“It’s not uncommon, I’ve caught heaps of sharks in the river – I have hooked fish bigger than this one.”

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The shark is estimated to have weighed an impressive 250 kilograms and by the size of its girth, Denis believes it may well be pregnant.

“They often come in from the ocean and swim up the river to drop their pups and then go again,” he said.

Yesterday, Denis was still recovering from the physical struggle with his prize catch, which was released soon after being caught.

“She put up a bit of a fight. I’m still sore now. All my hands are cut up,” he said.

While he remains coy about just where on the Hastings River he caught the ‘big one’, Denis is happy to share his bait of choice.

“I just use a bit of eel – they love it,” he said.

Bull sharks are not uncommon in local rivers.

The Department of Primary Industries says bull sharks penetrate far into river systems for extended periods where they sometimes breed. Females normally give birth in estuaries and river mouths and the young can remain in the river for up to five years. Bull sharks by nature are aggressive and prefer to swim in shallow, murky inshore waters. According to the DPI, they’ll eat ‘almost anything’.


Melbourne City hammer Newcastle Jets 4-0


A SEASON that started brightly for Newcastle Jets is rapidly approaching crisis point after a 4-0 hammering from Melbourne City at Hunter Stadium on Sunday.

Adding to the sense of alarm are reports that defender Lee ki-Je will be returning to his native Korea in the January transfer window to join Ulsan Hyundai. A Newcastle spokesman said no deal had been struck but Jets officials were aware of “interest” in the 24-year-old.

Lee’s possible departure, combined with speculation that midfielder David Carney is considering a move to Qatar, cast a further cloud over a dark day for the Jets.

Trailing 1-0 at half-time, Newcastle produced their most disappointing defensive display of this campaign after the interval, conceding three goals in the space of six minutes.

“That is a challenging thing to take at the time, but if I allude to last week against Sydney [a 1-0 loss] it could have been 3-0 at half-time,’’ Jets coach Scott Miller said afterwards. “We got our just desserts today, in a sense, because that could have happened away to Sydney.’’

​Socceroos midfielder Aaron Mooy and Uruguayan striker Bruno Fornaroli each scored twice for the visitors, who have now racked up 14 goals in their past three games.

Since Newcastle’s memorable 3-2 comeback win against City in round four, the fortunes of the two teams could hardly have experienced a more startling turnaround. At that point, the Jets were flying high and growing in self-belief after winning three of their first four games under Miller.

They have not won since, after losing two and drawing three of their ensuing games before Sunday’s rout.

City, meanwhile, have taken their game to a new level, posting four wins, a draw and a loss from their past six outings.

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In the process, City have climbed rapidly to third on the points table, while Newcastle have slipped to two points behind the top six.

“The playing group, although it was a challenging day, they worked right until the end . . . I can’t fault their commitment,’’ Miller said.

The loss continued Newcastle’s home-ground hoodoo of the past two years.

Since the start of last season, the Jets have won only two of 19 games at Hunter Stadium. Yet the magnitude of the scoreline came as a surprise, considering how competitive Newcastle have been in every other game this season. It was the first time in 2015-16 that last season’s wooden spooners have lost by more than a goal.

Newcastle’s cause was not helped by the belated withdrawal of skipper Nigel Boogaard, who missed his third straight game with an ankle injury.

Mooy struck a psychological blow when he drew first blood in the 43rd minute, beating Jets goalkeeper Mark Birighitti from close range.

With nonchalant ease, Fornaroli (56th minute), Mooy (59th) and Fornaroli again (62nd) found the net with ruthless precision.

City coach John van’t Schip said his players were in no mood to allow Newcastle back into the game, as they did in round four. “We had that in the back of our minds, that we had to put something right here,’’ he said.


TAFE NSW funding to be cut to half as more dollars pushed to private colleges


The NSW government will push ahead with controversial vocational training reforms, forcing TAFE to compete with the scandal-ridden private sector for half of its funding next year.

A document seen by The Sun-Herald shows direct NSW government funding will be reduced to half of TAFE’s income in 2016, according to formal estimates prepared by the department.

To fill the gap, the 10 TAFE NSW institutes will have to compete with private colleges to attract state government funding based on enrolment numbers, strike private training deals with companies, and earn revenue from full-fee paying international students.

The acceleration of the Smart and Skilled reforms by NSW Skills Minister John Barilaro comes despite the alleged rorting of billions of dollars in Commonwealth subsidies by training colleges, recently exposed by the consumer watchdog.

The Turnbull government has frozen the level of student loans, known as VET FEE HELP, that can be pocketed by private training colleges next year, after it was revealed the colleges paid recruiters thousands of dollars to sign up disadvantaged students who weren’t capable of completing courses.

The NSW Greens and Labor claim that reducing TAFE’s guaranteed funding from three-quarters of its income in 2014, to half next year, risks repeating the TAFE collapses seen in Victoria.

“At the exact time that Australians are discovering that unrestrained public funding of private providers leads to large-scale rorting and exploitation, Skills Minister John Barilaro is throwing TAFE into competition with non-government providers for a rapidly growing share of its income,” said Greens MP John Kaye.

“The Baird government is handing almost half of the public system’s budget to a market that will attract the same dodgy private providers who have comprehensively rorted the federal scheme.”

“TAFE can’t operate without secure funding,” said Labor’s skills spokesman David Harris.

He compared the increase in government funding for private training colleges to the Rudd government’s discredited “pink batts” scheme.

“You have the good, the bad and the ugly turning up. The good guys get driven out,” he said.

Multiple private colleges are facing court action by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission for collecting Commonwealth subsidies based on thousands of enrolments, despite only 5 per cent of students graduating in some cases.

A spokesperson for Mr Barilaro said: “The NSW Budget for 2015/16 commits a $1.99 billion investment into TAFE NSW. Decisions regarding future budget allocations will be made as part of the regular government budget process.”

A NSW parliamentary inquiry into vocational training will report its findings next week.

Mr Barilaro has refused to tell to the inquiry how much of the vocational training budget will be “contestable” between TAFE and private trainers next year, citing “commercial in confidence contracts” with the training organisations.

But the former TAFE managing director, Pam Christie, told the inquiry “the expectation of the government is that we reduce our reliance on operational base funding”.

Ms Christie said the funding TAFE received under Smart and Skilled “puts pressure on our budget and the amount of time we can allocate to delivery”.

To compete with private colleges, TAFE NSW has reduced its class hours, increased class sizes and slashed fulltime teacher numbers by a third, said Mr Harris.

“Some head teachers have been in tears because they have been asked to sign off that a student has completed competencies that they haven’t. I am hearing about 40-minute videos being shown in plumbing classes.”

Mr Barilaro’s spokesman said that unlike the reforms made in Victoria, NSW regulates training prices and won’t allow private colleges to undercut TAFE fees.

Around 400 private colleges have been vetted by the NSW government for inclusion in Smart and Skilled.

The NSW government deregistered eight private colleges from the funding scheme in 2015, including one with links to Careers Australia, which was the second-biggest recipient of VET FEE HELP loans worth $146 million.

The NSW department of industry and skills has identified 61 colleges receiving Smart and Skilled funding that also received the Commonwealth subsidies, and will audit them to assess their financial stability in light of the recent restrictions placed on the Commonwealth scheme.


Bournemouth sting Manchester Utd 2-1


Joshua King stunned his former club Manchester United as his second-half goal earned AFC Bournemouth a famous 2-1 Barclays Premier League win.

After a 3-2 defeat at Wolfsburg that eliminated United from the UEFA Champions League, there was no respite for the 13-times Barclays Premier League champions at the Vitality Stadium on Saturday. King, who came through the youth ranks at Old Trafford, turned home Matt Ritchie’s corner to earn the hosts another notable scalp after their shock 1-0 victory at champions Chelsea last time out.

AFC Bournemouth had taken an early lead when Junior Stanislas scored direct from a corner. United responded well and Anthony Martial missed a great chance before Marouane Fellaini made it 1-1 by half-time with a scrappy equaliser.

But after falling behind for a second time to King’s effort, United struggled to get level for a second time and Glenn Murray, a substitute, missed two gilt-edged chances to put the match beyond doubt.

It mattered little as a jubilant home crowd celebrated three valuable points, while United suffered a fifth successive match without a win in all competitions.

With Chris Smalling and Matteo Darmian joining a growing United injury list, Cameron Borthwick-Jackson and Guillermo Varela made their first Barclays Premier League starts in a makeshift defence.

AFC Bournemouth made life difficult for the visitors from the off, but the opener came in unusual circumstances as Stanislas’s whipped corner from the left sailed over David de Gea into the far corner.

United’s riposte was impressive and Artur Boruc made a fine double save to keep out Fellaini’s point-blank volley before tipping Paddy McNair’s follow-up header wide.

Martial side-footed wide after pouncing on Stanislas’ backpass, but United were level in the 24th minute. Michael Carrick’s excellent pass over the top was prodded against Boruc by Memphis Depay and Fellaini was on hand to bundle in the rebound.

Van Gaal was forced into a change just past the half-hour when Jesse Lingard limped off to be replaced by Andreas Pereira.

The second half burst into life in the 53rd minute when Simon Francis ghosted through the United defence to force De Gea into a near-post save.

From the resulting corner Ritchie kept his delivery low and King moved into space to steer home from close range, with no visiting defender close enough to stop him.

United struggled to muster a response and Murray could have made it 3-1 when he jinked inside McNair, only to blaze a half-volley over. The striker was similarly wayward with another close-range effort soon after.

Those misses did not prove costly as AFC Bournemouth saw out the remaining minutes with little cause for alarm, moving above champions Chelsea and into 14th.