McKendry living his NRL dream

29/04/2018 // by admin

Slammin’ Sam: Young Panthers prop Sam McKendry is living his childhood dream but it hasn’t come without adversity. Picture: Gary Warrick.WHETHER he’s chasing down a dream, a jersey or a try-line, Sam McKendry won’t fall without a hardy fight.
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It’s the reason he cruised past four Sydney Roosters defenders to open the scoring with ease last weekend, it’s the brutal physicality that’s helped him become a distinguished Kiwi International and it’s the admirable strength of character that’s ensured he’s achieved a respectable NRL career.

And as the menacing prop begins his fifth first grade season with the Panthers, he’s just 22 years of age.

“Yeah, I’m living the dream,” he admits poolside at the team’s recovery session on Monday morning.

“I’ve had to work pretty hard but it was always the dream to play NRL, to play for my country — and now I’m living the dream.”

McKendry was born in Perth before jetting across to New Zealand as a youngster and quenching his appetite for footy as a Mount Albert junior.

He returned to Australia after being scouted for the Panthers SG Ball Cup side in 2007 — where his team went on to lose the grand final to the Parramatta Eels — before debuting for the club’s first grade side in round 10, 2008.

But as McKendry moved up the ranks, the future New Zealand Four Nations representative was being weighed down by an undesirable waistline. “I was about 125 kilos,” he recalls.

“It was a bit of weight I had to lose and it was pretty tough but I put in the hard yards and it’s paid off.

“Here I am now playing first grade and playing for my country.”

Currently stomping the field at 111 kilograms, McKendry says he doesn’t feel the need to take his game to a new level now influential team captain and Australian veteran Petero Civoniceva has departed the team’s shed.

“I’ve just got to be consistent with my game, go forward and do what’s good for the team,” he said.

And he says he couldn’t ask for a better line-up of stars to join him in the Panthers’ forward pack than its current cast: Tim Grant, Dayne Weston and Chris Armit.

“They’re all good blokes,” he said.

“We’ve got a forward pack that’ll beat any forward pack in the comp.”

Charging over to collect his first four-pointer for 2012 last Sunday, McKendry says he simply put his head down and ran for the try-line with unshakeable intent.

The effort ensures he’s spared the obligatory end-of-season nudie run for those Panthers who fail to pick up a try throughout the year and allows the 185cm tormentor to focus on his goal for the remainder of the season.

“To play consistent football, make it to the grand final and hopefully play in the Anzac Test,” he said.

Tigers to debut Marshall cub with more than a little Benji about him

29/04/2018 // by admin

In the frame … Jordan Marshall will make his Toyota Cup debut when he runs on as a utility back for Wests Tigers against St George Illawarra at Jubilee Oval tomorrow night.JORDAN MARSHALL, the younger brother of Wests Tigers five-eighth Benji Marshall, will debut for the club in Toyota Cup tomorrow night.
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In what will be one of the most anticipated debuts for the competition, the 19-year-old will start off the bench for the Tigers against St George Illawarra at Jubilee Oval.

While coach Todd Payten said he could not guarantee Marshall would play big minutes tomorrow, he said the youngster was ready to make his mark in the competition this season.

”He’ll play a big part for us this year,” Payten said. While the club has been keen to see Marshall tip-toe through his development, Payten said it was also impossible not to notice some similarities.

”I can see a lot of similarities in them,” he said. ”He’s got great skills with his hands and he can read and identify numbers. I’m excited for him. I guess he’s going to have this weight of expectations on him and that just comes with the territory. I don’t think he really enjoys that so much.”

While the eldest Marshall debuted while still at Gold Coast nursery Keebra Park High School, his middle brother has endured a bumpier ride. He also attended Keebra Park, but moved back to Sydney after just a year because he was homesick. He played rugby union and touch football, before signing with his brother’s club early last year.

At the time, he said: ”There’s a lot of similarities there between both of us. I’ve got the flick, I’ve got the step too, but when it comes down to it, that’s not everything in a game.

”People expected me, as Benji’s brother, to be exactly like him, but growing up and maturing more, I’ve found out that I’ve just got to be myself and play my own game.”

When he joined the club, he trained with the greater Toyota Cup squad, but could not force his way into the team. This year he was earmarked to start the season but, after scoring three tries in a trial against a touring Hull KR Academy side, he injured his achilles during the warm-up before the clash with the Roosters. But Payten said he would definitely play against the Dragons.

”He’ll be playing that utility role, anywhere in the backline,” said Payten. ”He understands that I can’t guarantee what sort of minutes he’ll play, but he’ll play some sort of role.”

That will be music to the ears of many Wests Tigers fans, who have been waiting for the arrival of the latest Marshall.

His best position appears to be fullback, although Payten’s squad also includes a highly rated No. 1 in Kurtis Rowe.

Payten said 74kg Marshall could play on the wing, at five-eighth or in the centres. ”He’s still pretty light – he’s quite tall though; he’s got a different frame to Benji,” Payten said.

”He enjoys playing fullback; he’s a very good broken-field runner. He’s very quick on his feet – that’s one of his similarities to Benji. He’s going to be playing that utility role for us this week but he’s got the potential to play anywhere in the backline.”

– Sydney Morning Herald

Eel Spiel: No pressure: Tonga faces former master

29/04/2018 // by admin

Return: Eels centre Willie Tonga will return to North Queensland to take on the Cowboys on Saturday night. Picture: Chris De Jong.IF THERE is one player who can testify with some authority that Johnathan Thurston is one of the best players in the world it is Willie Tonga.
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For three years he spent this time in North Queensland plying his trade beside the master.

His rise in status as one of the premier outside backs in the NRL can be directly attributed to the No.7’s swift passing and kicking game.

Now, he has the task of stopping one of the world’s best players this Saturday night.

Back in the blue-and-gold after stints with the Bulldogs and Cowboys, the 28-year-old was relieved to get through his first game on Monday night after an injury-plagued off-season.

“It was good to get the first game out of the way,” he said.

“We had a few defensive lapses against the Warriors and that’s something we need to work on.”

The unpredictable Cowboys will field an unchanged line-up from the team that defeated the Broncos last week.

For the Eels, Luke Burt returns to the top grade for the injured Jarryd Hayne and Ryan Morgan partners Tonga in the centres after Willie’s brother, Esi, was injured on Monday.

Blacktown’s Greek gods crashed and burnt

29/04/2018 // by admin

SOMETIMES, when you least expect it, common sense prevails.
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Rather than spend $150,000 on two five-by-eight-metre sculptures of gods from Greek mythology, the federal government redirected the money to the Mount Druitt Community Hub.

Readers might remember that the government planned to celebrate its Solar Cities project by building two steel sculptures, one of Icarus and one of Daedalus, to be placed in Blacktown and Mount Druitt CBDs.

They were to stand five metres tall, have wing spans of eight metres and be covered in light-emitting diodes.

The plan was mocked by Blacktown residents, many of whom had never heard of the mythological Greek characters.

But after development applications were lodged with Blacktown Council in mid-2010, the plan was never heard of again.

Solar Cities Blacktown project manager Miria Fernendez told the Sun last week that it was decided the money could be better spent.

‘‘It was decided we could make better use of the funds,’’ she said.

Ms Fernendez said the $150,000 was instead spent on a 28.8kW solar energy system for the Mount Druitt Community Hub.

On your bike and off to school

29/04/2018 // by admin

James Matzen, 9, assistant principal Cathy D’Chong, Nicholas Matzen, 11, and Patrick Bombala, 10, love riding to school.
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Students from as young as eight in Kings Langley have been encouraged to cycle to school next week.

Assistant principal Cathy D’Chong of Vardys Public School has put up posters to get them to join the National Ride2School Day on Friday, March 23, for the first time.

She said its benefits would include physical fitness, road safety skills, responsibility and enjoyment.

‘‘It’s also a lot safer than having students walk to school unaccompanied,’’ she said. Three students who are already riding to school are brothers Nicholas and James Matzen, and their friend Patrick Bombala.

The brothers say their mum, Karen, is happy with them riding to school and Patrick’s

mum, Eva, is supportive.

‘‘It only take us about five minutes by riding along pathways, lanes and side roads,’’ Nicholas said.

James said he had minor accidents caused by motorists who parked their cars irresponsibly.

Ms D’Chong said there would be fewer accidents once the students developed their road sense.

National Ride2School team manager, Kelly Pearson, said health authorities say children need 60 minutes of physical activity each day and riding, scooting, skating or walking to and from school is an easy way to achieve this.

All schools are encouraged to sign-up at ride2school南京夜网.au.

More buses, more wanted

29/04/2018 // by admin

SOME relief is on its way for many Blacktown commuters but public transport remains too convoluted for many others.
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The state government has added three bus services for Blacktown residents.

A peak-period 616X service from Kellyville Ridge to the city will stop in Parklea and Glenwood before going down the M2 on it’s way to Railway Square by Central Station.

A 616 bus will take workers between Blacktown interchange and the commercial hub at Macquarie Park.

A T63 bus from Rouse Hill will stop in Parklea and Glenwood on its way to and from Westmead and Parramatta.

Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian said the new buses were needed to serve the growing population in Sydney’s north west.

“Customers who live in these growing parts of Sydney from Rouse Hill to Blacktown have been asking for more frequent services to the city and Parramatta,” she said.

“The new services will mean less crowding and a more comfortable journey during peak periods.”

The new buses and services will start operating from Monday, March 19.

The routes are good news for residents travelling to work outside the Blacktown area but for those who work closer to home, public transport is still a problem.

A peak-hour trip from Quakers Hill or Doonside to Huntingwood — where major employers such as Sony, Cadbury Schweppes and Arnott’s are based — can easily take an hour and involves walks of a kilometre.

A Quakers Hill resident who starts work in Huntingwood at 7am would need to catch a train from Quakers Hill to Blacktown and then a bus; a 70-minute trip to cover 12 kilometres.

Blacktown councillor Stephen Bali, a union official, said the public transport situation was a barrier to employment for many residents.

$280m promised to fix Blacktown Hospital

29/04/2018 // by admin

An artists impression of the hospital once redeveloped. Image: NSW Health.THE state government has admitted it underestimated the extent of work needed to bring Blacktown Hospital up to community standards and pledged $280 million to upgrade it along with $20m for Mount Druitt Hospital.
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The funding was announced today by Premier Barry O’Farrell and Health Minister Jillian Skinner in a crowded conference room at the hospital.

It is more than double the $125m that the Liberal Party promised to Blacktown and Mount Druitt hospitals during the election.

It is still well short of the $550m two-stage redevelopment that the hospital’s board had pinned its hopes on but Ms Skinner believed the money allocated would be adequate.

The upgrade, she said, would amount to ‘‘an almost total rebuild’’.

Since being in office Ms Skinner said she had realised ‘‘more work needed to be done’’.

‘‘It was plain that this was a hospital desperately in need and that the need had been identified many times in previous years,’’ she said.

The minister said the redevelopment would include and additional 170 beds and upgraded facilities in the intensive care, mental health and emergency departments as well as a new cancer unit.

Blacktown Hospital will also receive $27m for a new 600-space multi-level carpark.

‘‘It didn’t take much to convince me that this is what one of our priorities should be,’’ Ms Skinner said.

Just $500,000 was allocated for initial works in the 2011/12 state budget and Ms Skinner could not confirm how much would be allocated from future budgets.

But she said funding for the upgrade was long overdue and now locked in.

Although the minister could not provide a breakdown of the funding, she said Mount Druitt Hospital would receive money to provide elective surgery and to upgrade its rehabilitation centre.

Work is expected to start at both hospitals this year and be be completed at Blacktown by 2016 and Mount Druitt in 2014

The hospitals, Ms Skinner said, would be important services not only for the immediate communities but the entire western Sydney region.

Read the Sun newspaper on Tuesday for more about the hospital upgrades and what it means for residents.

Twitter @NewsBlacktown

Email: [email protected]南京夜网.au

Community forum on transport corridors in North West

29/04/2018 // by admin

RESIDENTS in Blacktown can give their views on two potential transport corridors to be established in the booming North West Growth Centre area in a public forum on March 31.
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The corridor options are Cudgegong Rd to Riverstone; from the end of the North West Rail Link heading northwest to the Richmond Line south of Riverstone Station and Cudgegong Rd to Schofields and Marsden Park; from the end of the North West Rail Link heading west to Schofields Station then further on to Marsden Park.

The options will be on public exhibition until May 18 and a public forum will be held at Rouse Hill Town Centre on March 31.

Submissions can be made online and the corridor study is also available online at www.northwestoptions南京夜网.au.

Premier Barry O’Farrell who announced this at Rouse Hill Regional Park on Monday said the Government was determined to future-proof North West Sydney’s public transport options.

He said an additional public transport corridor through Sydney’s booming North West Growth Centre would meet its public transport needs in the future.

Mr O’Farrell said setting aside land now means families in Sydney’s North West will have room for the public transport infrastructure they’ll need in the future.

“More than 200,000 people will move into the North West Growth Centre over the next 25 to 30 years – that’s around 70,000 new houses in the Riverstone, Schofields and Marsden Park areas,’’ he said.

Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian said the government was planning ahead so there would be a dedicated corridor to deliver public transport infrastructure to this booming part of Sydney.

She said no land would be acquired at this stage and that the land would be zoned for public infrastructure purposes and only acquired when a specific project has been approved in the future.

Riverstone MP Kevin Conolly called on the community, local businesses, councils, transport groups and service providers to have their say on the proposal.

“I encourage everyone to have their say and make a submissions on this vital planning decision. It’s the first step to securing an important infrastructure for the community,” he said.

Residents angered by second mobile station plan for Quakers Hill

29/04/2018 // by admin

QUAKERS HILL residents fighting Telstra’s plan to build a mobile base station tower were more than a little disappointed to learn that Optus now plans to build a second tower.
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The 73-member residents group believe the mobile base station proposed for the Aldi carpark on Hambledon Road will be unsafe, emitting low-level radiation that could harm people in the long-term.

Telstra recently lodged an appeal in the Land and Environment Court against Blacktown Council’s deemed refusal to process the development application.

The council was deferring a decision on the development, while staff report on the safety concerns.

Late last month, residents received mail from the council saying Optus had also lodged an application to build a tower.

On the Quakers Hill Anti-mobile Base Station Facebook site, Leanne Bennett said: ‘‘I have just opened my mail and can’t believe what I am reading.”

A letter from Blacktown Council saying that Optus is planning to build a tower next door to our house in Michelson Reserve . . . I am sickened by this.

My family and many others will be exposed to two lots of radiation from two towers. Unbelievable. We are in shock.’’

The council’s report is expected to be tabled at the March 28 meeting

Motorsport Thunder: five-second, side-by-side top fuel racing

29/04/2018 // by admin

At the Scott Darley $50,000 Sprintcar Challenge this weekend, there will be free monster truck rides for the kids. Photo: Jo Richards.Well look at that, a fine weekend and lots of bright sunshine which meant that both Tyrepower Sydney Speedway and Sydney Dragway had events on with no interruption by that wet stuff.
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Let’s go straight to Sydney Dragway first off with two days of retro drag racing that featured hot rods, muscle cars and a whole bunch of nitro being burned Sunday.

Some of the highlights included Australia’s first side-by-side five-second nitro nostalgia funny car race.

Daniel Schultz drove the Nitro Express 57 Chev and ran a 5.861 at 245.27mph, while Shane Olive ran a 5.959 at 248.71mph the Plymouth Satellite.

Norm Longfield in his front-engined top fuel dragster also wowed the crowd with a 6.16 pass. And AA Dave Armstrong looked to be getting on top of his tune up; his dragster recorded a 6.63 pass at 222mph.

The Blake family, Geoff and Graham also put on a great show with some mid 6.60 passes from Geoff, although a parachute failure on one pass put the beautiful supercharged Chev front engined dragster into the sand trap. It wasn’t damage but there was plenty of cleaning to be done before the next pass.

There is plenty more excitement coming up in the next couple of weeks at Sydney Dragway. This Wednesday evening will feature the ever-popular Street Meets event, where you can race your mates in your street car in absolute safety.

Then on Saturday, a test ‘n’ tune session for competition vehicles racing in the Top Doorslammer and Pro Stock ANDRA Championship round and a round of the Rocket Allstars Racing Series for the sportsman racers.

For more information go to www.sydneydragway南京夜网.au.

Meanwhile, over at Sydney Speedway all is in readiness for this weekend’s huge two day sprintcar spectacular, the Scott Darley Sprintcar Challenge.

The two-day race weekend will have not just a little, but heaps, for everybody as it will be the biggest single weekend of speedway in Sydney – the Scott Darley $50,000 Sprintcar Challenge on March 16-17.

For the Sprintcar purists, you name them, they will be there. Everyone from American Shane Stewart to World Series favourites such as Max Dumesny and Robbie Farr will vie for the ultimate Sprintcar Challenge.

Start from pole and race for $10,000 or elect to go to position nineteen (the racing number of the late Scott Darley) and race for $50,000 over forty laps with the added advantage of double-file restarts on all restarts.

Is it achievable? Well, back in January, World of Outlaws Champion Jason Meyers not only came from the B-Main to win the Maxibon Rough Nut Sprintcar Rumble – but he drove from position 21 to the lead by lap 18.

Then, for the families, it will also be the ultimate night out for the kids. Free monster truck rides will be available on both Friday and Saturday night and for those metal-munching fans the Kings of Collision will culminate Saturday night with a demolition derby.

So if that sounds like your thing this weekend go to www.sydneyspeedway南京夜网.au for more details.

Stay safe, enjoy your motorsport and we will see you next week.