Reynolds comes good in Dogs’ NRL thriller

Canterbury star Josh Reynolds overcame a horror final 20 minutes against Gold Coast to nail the match-winning field goal in his side’s golden point NRL win.

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The Bulldogs pivot had earlier appeared to wrap up the match after he set up his second try of the afternoon to give his side a commanding 12-point lead midway through the second half.

In wet conditions at ANZ Stadium, it should’ve been enough.

But Reynolds was then partly responsible for consecutive Titans tries in the space of seven minutes that not only sent the game to extra time, but almost cost his team victory.

The former NSW State of Origin pivot was first marched for backchat in the lead-up to David Mead’s try, then his tapback off a Moses Mbye bomb led to Josh Hoffman racing 80 metres to level the game.

However, in a typical Jekyll-and-Hyde performance, Reynolds stood up to the plate and delivered a clutch 35-metre field goal in the extra period to consolidate Canterbury’s spot in the top eight.

“That was a gutsy play,” coach Des Hasler said post-game.

“He would’ve been very lonely out there at one stage, but he held it together and came up with the big play when he had to. Josh’s last three weeks, he’s been really strong with his footy.”

But Hasler refused to allow his team to glow in the aftermath of their thrilling win, expressing his disappointment at almost blowing another halftime lead.

Just as they did a week prior, the Bulldogs held the advantage after a dominant first half, only to again clock off midway through the second and allow their opposition back into the game.

Twice the Titans were in position to steal the win, but couldn’t land the killer punch.

“We didn’t manage it as good as we should have at 20-8,” Hasler said.

“You go on with the game from there and that’s what we need to get better at. We didn’t close the game out last week and we very nearly paid a heavy penalty for not closing the game out this week.

“That’s something we have to be mindful of and something we can’t let happen again. Our lapses are totally self-inflicted.”

After a bright start to the year, the Titans have now lost four straight and are hanging onto eighth spot.

Not for the first time this year, Titans coach Neil Henry was rapt with his team’s effort but bemoaned a poor first half.

“We’ve had a few this year where we were in games or coming back. I suppose 20-8 down again, we’re chasing points,” he said.

171 states signing landmark Paris deal

Leaders from 171 countries are signing the Paris Agreement on climate change as the landmark deal took a key step forward, potentially entering into force years ahead of schedule.

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US Secretary of State John Kerry, holding his young granddaughter, on Friday joined dozens of world leaders for a signing ceremony that sets a record for international diplomacy: Never have so many countries signed an agreement on the first available day. States that don’t sign Friday have a year to do so.

“We are in a race against time,” UN secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the gathering. “The era of consumption without consequences is over.”

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Many now expect the climate agreement to enter into force long before the original deadline of 2020. Some say it could happen this year.

After signing, countries must formally approve the Paris Agreement through their domestic procedures.

The United Nations says 15 countries, several of them small island states under threat from rising seas, were doing that Friday by depositing their instruments of ratification.

China, the world’s top carbon emitter, announced it will “finalise domestic procedures” to ratify the Paris Agreement before the G-20 summit in China in September. Ban immediately welcomed the pledge.

The United States also has said it intends to join the agreement this year. The world is watching anxiously: Analysts say that if the agreement enters into force before President Barack Obama leaves office in January, it would be more complicated for his successor to withdraw from the deal because it would take four years to do so under the agreement’s rules.

The United States put the deal into economic terms. “The power of this agreement is what it is going to do to unleash the private sector,” Kerry told the gathering, noting that this year is again shaping up to be the hottest year on record.

The agreement will enter into force once 55 countries representing at least 55 per cent of global emissions have formally joined it.

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Maros Sefcovic, the energy chief for another top emitter, the 28-nation European Union, has said the EU wants to be in the “first wave” of ratifying countries.

French President Francois Hollande, the first to sign the agreement, said on Friday he would ask parliament to ratify it by this summer. France’s environment minister is in charge of global climate negotiations.

“There is no turning back now,” Hollande told the gathering.

Countries that had not yet indicated they would sign the agreement on Friday include some of the world’s largest oil producers, including Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Nigeria and Kazakhstan, the World Resources Institute said Thursday.

The Paris Agreement, the world’s response to hotter temperatures, rising seas and other impacts of climate change, was reached in December as a major breakthrough in UN climate negotiations, which for years were slowed by disputes between rich and poor countries over who should do what.

Under the agreement, countries set their own targets for reducing emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

The targets are not legally binding, but countries must update them every five years.

Swans beat Eagles by 39 points in AFL

Sydney fullback Ted Richards kicked his first SCG goal in almost seven years, as the Swans veterans stood tall in a 39-point home win over West Coast on Saturday.

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The Swans moved to 4-1 for the season, kicking the last six goals to run out 12.16 (88) to 7.7 (49) winners

The Eagles, now 3-2, were outscored 7.10 to 3.4 after halftime and mustered just four behinds in the final quarter.

They have failed to win any of their past five away matches stretching back to last season.

Richards, the oldest player on the Swans list at 33, kicked a morale boosting 51 metre goal, took 10 marks and tallied 22 touches in a best on ground performance.

The Swans next two oldest players, co-captain Jarrad McVeigh 31 and Ben McGlynn 30, were both prominent in Sydney’s decisive third quarter surge.

Like Richards, they started the season late due to injury, but on Saturday they kicked three straight goals between them, as Sydney regained the lead which they never subsequently relinquished.

Swans coach John Longmire was thrilled with his team’s effort especially after losing defender Jeremy Laidler to concussion in the first half.

“A combination of our older, experienced, leader players were fantastic and our younger kids really stood up as well,” Longmire said.

Opposing coach Adam Simpson acknowledged the influence of those Swans players on the outcome.

“We did leave it up to too few today and I thought Sydney’s leaders stood up when it really mattered and we probably could learn some lessons from that,” Simpson said.

Richards hadn’t kicked a goal since an Anzac round game three years ago in New Zealand and his last major on Australian soil was at the MCG in 2010.

“When I walked out the door I said to my son, it was his first game, he was four months old, I said I’d kick a goal for him,” Richards said.

“My wife laughed and it turns out I did.

“Deep down I knew there may not be another one.”

Richards, Heath Grundy, Dane Rampe and Callum Mills were all good as the Swans quelled the usually free-scoring Eagles.

The Eagles couldn’t capitalise on a promising start. Matt Priddis racked up 12 touches as the visitors eked out a six-point lead by the first break.

As the heavens opened in the second quarter, Sydney warmed to their task in pouring rain.

They led by nine at halftime and a Lance Franklin goal early in the third term blew their lead out to 16.

Three goals in four minutes wrested the lead back for the Eagles, but that was their last flurry.

Sydney’s relentless pressure forced turnovers, as the home team opened up a 21-point buffer at the last change.

Midfielders Dan Hannebery, Luke Parker and Josh Kennedy excelled for Sydney, while defender Jeremy McGovern was outstanding for the Eagles.

In an unfortunate incident before the game, a parachutist from the Navy’s Red Berets was taken to hospital with a suspected broken pelvis after landing awkwardly in the centre square at the SCG.

White House defends Trump invitation to Duterte despite human rights criticism

Trump issued the invitation on Saturday night in what the White House said was a “very friendly” phone conversation with Duterte, who is accused by international human rights groups of supporting a campaign of extrajudicial killings of drug suspects in the Philippines.

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“There is nothing right now facing this country and facing the region that is a bigger threat than what’s happening in North Korea,” White House chief of staff Reince Priebus told ABC’s “This Week” during a weekend in which Trump sought to firm up support in Southeast Asia to help rein in North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs.

Priebus insisted the outreach to Duterte “doesn’t mean that human rights don’t matter, but what it does mean is that the issues facing us developing out of North Korea are so serious that we need cooperation at some level with as many partners in the area as we can get to make sure we have our ducks in a row.”

WATCH: Trump calls North Korean leader a “smart cookie” 

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The invitation for Duterte to the visit White House at an unspecified date appeared to be the latest example of the affinity Trump has shown for some foreign leaders with shaky human rights or autocratic reputations.

For instance, he expressed admiration for Russian President Vladimir Putin during the 2016 presidential campaign, hosted Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi at the White House and has had warm words for Chinese President Xi Jinping, who Trump is pressing to do more to rein in its ally and neighbor North Korea.

WATCH: Duterte to Trump: ‘Everybody is worried’ about North Korea 

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On Sunday, Trump also extended a White House invitation to Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, a former general who heads a military government that took power in a 2014 coup. Prayuth’s administration had strained relations with Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama.

“Celebrating a man who boasts of killing his own citizens and inviting him to the White House, while remaining silent on his disgusting human rights record, sends a terrifying message,” said John Sifton, the Asia director of Human Rights Watch.

“By effectively endorsing Duterte’s murderous ‘war on drugs’, Trump has made himself morally complicit in future killings,” he said.

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A Trump administration official insisted, however, that the invitation was not a reward to Duterte or an endorsement of his policies but a decision that engagement with the Philippines, an important longtime U.S. ally, was better than withdrawal which could “intensify bad behavior” by Duterte.

“It’s not a ‘thank you’,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. “It’s a meeting.”

The official denied a New York Times report citing administration officials saying the State Department and the National Security Council were caught off-guard by the invitation to Duterte and were expected to object internally. “We were not surprised. The guys who prepared for the call were unified on this,” the official said.

‘On the same page’ on North Korea

Priebus made clear that North Korea was the top priority.

“If we don’t have all of our folks together — whether they’re good folks, bad folks, people we wish would do better in their country, doesn’t matter, we’ve got to be on the same page” on North Korea, Priebus said.

But taking a swipe at Trump for his invitation to Duterte, Democratic U.S. Senator Chris Murphy tweeted: “We are watching in real time as the American human rights bully pulpit disintegrates into ash.”

Thousands of Filipinos have been killed since Duterte unleashed his fierce anti-drugs campaign nearly 10 months ago. Police say they have killed only in self-defense, and the deaths of other drug dealers and users was down to vigilantes or narcotics gangs silencing potential witnesses.

Human rights groups say official accounts are implausible and accuse Duterte of backing campaign of systematic extrajudicial killings by police. The government denies that.

Duterte was infuriated by the Obama administration’s expressions of concern about extrajudicial killings after he took office last year and threatened to sever the long-standing U.S. defense alliance.

Duterte spoke positively about Trump, a fellow populist, after the U.S. presidential election in November, and the new administration has sought ways to mend the alliance.

In a summary of Saturday’s phone call between the two leaders, the White House said the two discussed “the fact that the Philippine government is fighting very hard to rid its country of drugs, a scourge that affects many countries throughout the world.” The White House statement included no criticism of Duterte’s methods.

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Macron a tactical choice for jaded France?

A poll published last week showed that 41 percent of the voters who backed him in the April 23 first round did so out of tactical considerations rather than real conviction, believing he has the best chance of defeating 48-year-old Le Pen in Sunday’s run-off.

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But the boyish-looking ex-banker also attracts true followers, who see his youth, pragmatism and optimism as the best remedy for a country mired in economic decline and crippling self-doubt.

“A strong turnaround, that’s what I’m hoping for from Macron,” said Isabelle Babin, a 55-year-old executive who joined dozens of campaigners from the candidate’s “En Marche” (On The Move) movement for a symbolic march on Saturday in the city of Lyon.

The former banker aiming to become France’s youngest ever president may be “smooth, preppy and a little bit of a teacher’s pet”, she admits.

But for Babin, his private sector experience is a breath of fresh air in a jaded political system, whose two main parties crashed out of the election in the first round.

“They cannot understand society because they are outside of it,” she said of his rivals.

‘Only one choice’

Macron’s meteoric rise from presidential advisor in 2012 to economy minister in Francois Hollande’s Socialist government from 2014 to 2016 to presidential frontrunner has been attributed to a mix of talent, opportunism and sheer good luck.

His top spot in the first round triggered rejoicing among members of his year-old “En Marche” movement, which he has positioned as “neither of the left nor the right.”

And yet while he still enjoys a double-digit lead over Le Pen in second-round polls, the gap is narrowing, forcing his troops to re-mobilise.

On Saturday, around 300 En Marche campaigners fanned out along the banks of the River Saone in Lyon to try to woo voters tempted to abstain in the run-off.

“There is only one choice, that of the republic and Emmanuel Macron,” France’s deputy sports minister Thierry Braillard said as he led the supporters.

In the first round, Macron polled 30.31 percent in the bourgeois southeastern city — six points above his national average.

Related reading’Trust younger generation’

Campaigners there are confident of victory over the anti-immigration, anti-EU Le Pen, who has cast her rival as a puppet of the “oligarchy”.

But they admit that their champion’s mix of pro-business reforms and measures to boost take-home pay and integrate minorities has failed to garner much enthusiasm.

“He’s too capitalist for people on the left and too tainted by Hollande’s presidency for people on the right,” said Emmanuelle Vignaud, a 43-year-old employee of a multi-national company.

Vignaud admitted that Macron had “messed up” the start of his second-round campaign, appearing “quite arrogant at a time when, given he is facing Le Pen, he needs to show gravitas.”

“But he will be a very good president,” she said, praising the intellect of the high-flying former philosophy student who attended France’s top school for public servants.

Jean Visconte, a 64-year-old salesman, said he was seduced by Macron’s youth.

“If we don’t trust the younger generation, we’re old fools who are beyond redemption!” he declared.

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Others praised his attempt to transcend France’s entrenched left-right divide, which has seen some accuse him of trying to be all things to all voters.

“Macron chose the only possible alternative in taking the best of both sides,” said Alain Jacquard, a 75-year-old doctor, accusing the Socialists and right-wing Republicans whose candidates were eliminated in the first round of “spending their time demolishing what the other side did.”

“Macron is a politician who believes in redistributing wealth on condition that we can generate the wealth,” he said, summarising the candidate’s programme.

That pragmatism has proven a hard sell among the 19.6 percent of voters who backed hard left radical Jean-Luc Melenchon in the first round, many of whom have announced plans to “go fishing” – French slang for abstentionism – on Sunday.

But on the centre-left, it has found fertile ground.

For Pierre, a 26-year-old civil servant and Socialist Party member who was among the campaigners in Lyon, Macron is the choice of the “realistic left”.

“He can unite society,” said the farmer’s son.

WATCH: Macron warns politicians to unite against Le Pen

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Suns to wear red against Port in China

Gold Coast have come out on top in the bitter jumper spat with Port Adelaide after the AFL ruled the Suns can wear their home guernsey in China.

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The clubs were at loggerheads over Gold Coast’s intention to wear their home jumper – that matches the red and yellow of the Chinese flag – when they meet in Shanghai in round eight.

The Power paid $500,000 for the rights to the Suns’ home game so they could host the historic clash for premiership points.

But in an oversight, that agreement doesn’t cover who wears what jumper, with the Power concerned the locals will throw their support behind the team that wears their national colours.

Port are hoping the game will be the start of a lucrative push into the Chinese market and outspoken president David Koch accused the Suns on Adelaide radio fiveAA of playing silly buggers over the issue.

Koch previously threatened to exclude Gold Coast from future matches in China and called on the AFL to make a ruling.

AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan held out hope the clubs would sort it out between themselves when he addressed the issue in March, but ultimately the league sided with the Suns.

The Power put a brave face on the setback on Monday.

“It’s not ideal but this is only a one-year agreement with the Gold Coast,” Port chief executive Keith Thomas said.

“We thought within the spirit of the commercial arrangement we had a strong case for the Gold Coast to wear their white clash guernsey but we accept the AFL’s decision and move on.

“The guernsey issue is a just a small component of a far bigger picture for Port Adelaide. This historic game is sold out, Jiangwan Stadium is going to be packed with our supporters wearing black, white and teal and we are at the forefront of the AFL in taking our game to China.

“This is going to be a truly great day in the history of the Port Adelaide Football Club and this decision on the Gold Coast guernsey will not change that.”

Port Adelaide will wear their predominantly black home jumper with white number panel.

Federal budget to push generic drugs

A push for Australians to use generic pharmaceuticals is among budget measures that will reportedly save the federal government $1.

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8 billion over five years.

Under the plan, prescribing software will be altered so scripts name the active ingredient of the drugs rather than the brand name, the ABC’s 7.30 program reported on Monday evening.

The aim is to lift Australia’s generic drug use to American and British levels.

Health Minister Greg Hunt said he was committed to allowing doctors to retain “100 per cent” control over their prescriptions.

“Our commitment is give patients the best access and the lowest cost,” he told the program.

“Generics are one way of doing that, but it has to be – as it always has been – under the control of the doctors.”

Mr Hunt said savings through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) would be reinvested.

“This means more drugs at lower costs – better healthcare for all Australians.”

The Australian Medical Association voiced concern over the changes, saying it holds independent clinical decision-making close to its heart.

“It certainly interferes with our autotomy and independence when it comes to choosing what’s best for the patients,” vice president Tony Barton told the ABC.

“It is about understanding our patients and making a decision that’s in the patient’s best interests, as well as one that’s guided by years of clinical expertise and experience.”

Savings will reportedly be achieved through a deal with Medicines Australia to progressively cut the price of PBS medicines still on patent every five years, before a further 25 per cent reduction when they go off patent.

Japan sends warship to escort US supply vessel in Pacific

The helicopter carrier Izumo will leave the mother port of Yokosuka, south of Tokyo, on Monday and join the US supply ship to escort it further into the western Pacific, the leading Asahi Shimbun daily and Jiji Press reported citing unnamed government sources.

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It will be the first deployment — outside of troop exercises –to protect the US fleet after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expanded the country’s military capabilities in 2015, though they remain restricted under Japan’s pacifist constitution.

The US supply ship is expected to support America’s naval fleet in the Pacific, possibly including the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, which remains on high alert over North Korea’s ballistic missile firings, the reports said.

Japanese naval officials declined to comment on the reports.

Earlier this week, the US carrier had joint drills with Japan’s naval forces.

North Korea disrespected the wishes of China & its highly respected President when it launched, though unsuccessfully, a missile today. Bad!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 28, 2017

The Carl Vinson arrived in the Sea of Japan and kicked off a joint drill with the South Korean navy on Saturday, hours after North Korea launched a ballistic missile in apparent defiance of the US.

North Korea’s state media has said the North’s military is capable of sinking the US aircraft carrier with a single strike.

The latest missile launch, which South Korea said was a failure, ratchets up tensions on the Korean peninsula, with Washington and Pyongyang locked in an ever-tighter spiral of threat, counter-threat and escalating military preparedness.

US President Donald Trump, who has warned of a “major conflict” with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un’s regime, said the latest test was a pointed snub to China — the North’s main ally and economic lifeline.

“North Korea disrespected the wishes of China & its highly respected President when it launched, though unsuccessfully, a missile today. Bad!” Trump tweeted.

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Reynolds suffers suspected jaw break

In scenes reminiscent of John Sattler, South Sydney coach Michael Maguire has revealed Adam Reynolds returned to the field with a suspected broken jaw in their 30-8 NRL loss to Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium.

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NSW Origin hopeful Reynolds will undergo scans and know by Monday whether he has suffered a jaw fracture for the second time this season.

Reynolds left the field after copping a 56th-minute high shot from Brisbane prop Adam Blair that went on report on Friday night.

The Rabbitohs playmaker was in just his second game back from a jaw injury suffered in round one.

Yet remarkably Reynolds demanded to return in the second half despite nursing a suspected fracture after South Sydney fought back to trail 14-8 before Brisbane found another gear.

“They (medical staff) do their assessments but players make those courage calls and he felt he wanted to get back out there for the team,” Maguire said of Reynolds.

Asked about Reynolds’ injury, Maguire said: “It’s not looking great”.

Maguire admitted he had to be tight-lipped about Blair’s tackle in order not to influence the match review committee.

But he added: “If he has another broken jaw he collected him in the head, simple as that.”

Another broken jaw would be a cruel blow to Reynolds just as he had hoped to stake a NSW Origin No.7 claim ahead of June’s series opener in Sydney.

Rabbitohs centre and former Queensland flyer Dane Nielsen dipped his hat to Reynolds after word filtered out about the halfback’s second half heroics.

“He is a tough fella. He punches above his weight,” he said.

“He is the smallest bloke on our team and plays tough week in, week out and that was his 100th game.

“Hopefully he hasn’t done anything more with his jaw.”

Reynolds was not the only casualty of a spiteful NRL clash.

South Sydney centre Hymel Hunt was inconsolable in the dressing sheds after suffering a suspected pectoral tear in the seventh minute.

Paul Carter came off the field for treatment after copping a 55th-minute high shot from Joe Ofahengaue that was placed on report but later returned.

Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett was not concerned about his players being booked.

“There was nothing serious, nothing that put the game into disrepute, nothing to spend three of four weeks out of the game for which is important,” he said.

Meanwhile, Maguire hoped forward George Burgess (groin) would be available next round after being a last minute withdrawal against Brisbane.

“He’s been struggling the last month, people don’t know that,” Maguire said.

“People have been having pot shots at him the way he has been playing.

“He just got to a period at training where it became too sore.

“If he is able to come back next week he will put his hand up because he is very passionate about this club.”

Nielsen caps NRL comeback

All seemed lost for Dane Nielsen.

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Barely 12 months ago Nielsen was sacked two games into a two-year St George Illawarra contract after a woman claimed he bit her on the leg during a drinking session at a Cronulla nightspot.

Suddenly Nielsen was running around in the Mackay competition in the state’s north.

He was a former Queensland Origin player.

He had won premierships with Melbourne.

How the mighty had fallen.

Nielsen managed to snag a 2015 contract in England, albeit with semi-professional, second tier outfit Bradford.

He lasted just five games.

At 30, Nielsen never thought he would play NRL again.

No wonder he was surprised about making his South Sydney debut in Friday night’s 30-8 loss in Brisbane.

“To be honest I wasn’t sure whether it (NRL return) was going to happen after last year,” Nielsen said.

“But I got the chance to come back to a good club and put my head down and worked my backside off.”

In a twist of fate, Nielsen was thrown an NRL lifeline by South Sydney coach Michael Maguire after losing Dylan Walker to Manly and missing out on James Roberts to Brisbane in the pre-season.

He arrived in January – two months behind his teammates in their pre-season preparation.

Maguire offered no promises.

“I spoke to him after New Year’s. He didn’t guarantee me anything but he said if an opportunity came up he had full trust in me to do the job,” Nielsen said.

“I returned in January. I had a lot of catching up to do – it was pretty tough.

“I am not sure that will happen from here but I want to make the most of it.”

Nielsen held his own on Rabbitohs debut – much to Maguire’s delight.

“It’s a really good story,” he said.

“To see him have the highs then face some resilience the last couple of years says a lot about him as a person.

“He didn’t have a pre-season but he worked extremely hard to get himself this opportunity.

“And to have a senior player in this organisation is going to help the younger players through this sort of period.”

South Sydney have slumped to their fifth loss in six games.

Mirabella scores spectacular own goal as she attempts Indi comeback

Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra

Sophie Mirabella, who lost the seat in 2013, made the assertion in a Sky TV forum on Thursday night.

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She told a questioner: “I had a commitment for a $10 million allocation to the Wangaratta Hospital that if elected I was going to announce the week after the election … that is $10 million that Wangaratta hasn’t had because Cathy got elected.”

But no evidence for the claim was produced and Mirabella was quickly on the back foot over it.

The claim put Treasurer Scott Morrison on the spot when he campaigned with Mirabella on Friday.

Asked at their joint news conference at Wodonga whether behind the scenes the money was being considered before the 2013 election, Morrison said: “There was no public commitment and that means that is not an election commitment and it is not something that the government would have proceeded with on the basis that there was no public commitment.”

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All the public commitments made by the Coalition before the last election when Mirabella was the member and candidate had been followed through on, he said. “We have met those commitments.”

Mirabella told the news conference it was decided locally that the hospital matter was such an important issue not to fall into the pork barrelling arguments “but for me to wait till after the election. Now I lost the election. I left it to the new member to carry on the campaign to get funding for hospitals”.

She said if she were elected this time she would “fight damn hard to get that money in a Turnbull Coalition government” and she was sure McGowan would make the same commitment.

The “real question” was who was going to be able to get that funding for local needs from a Turnbull government.

Labor is capitalising on the affair by asking the Auditor-General, Grant Hehir, to investigate. In her letter to Hehir, opposition health spokeswoman Catherine King wrote: “Punishing the people of Indi for electing an independent MP is not legitimate grounds on which to base decisions about the expenditure of a significant sum of taxpayer money.” She asked him to report his findings to parliament “at your earliest convenience”.

Mirabella is involved in another controversy. The Benalla Ensign reported that at the recent opening of a new wing of an aged care facility Mirabella pushed McGowan out of the way to stop her having her photo taken with Ken Wyatt, Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care and the plaque to mark the occasion. McGowan got a photo with Wyatt but not in front of the plaque, the paper said. Mirabella has said: “I emphatically reject reports I pushed Cathy McGowan.”

Michelle Grattan does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond the academic appointment above.

Roos jersey last thing on Inglis’ mind

A Kangaroos jersey is the last thing on Greg Inglis’ mind despite the South Sydney captain finally reclaiming his mojo.

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South Sydney coach Michael Maguire declared the “Inglis of old” was back after the fullback shone in their gutsy 30-8 NRL loss in Brisbane on Friday night.

Inglis finally blew off the rust to show sparks of greatness and enjoy a points decision win over Brisbane rival Darius Boyd at Suncorp Stadium.

And not a moment too soon with Kangaroos selectors set to finalise their 17 for next month’s one-off Test against New Zealand in Newcastle.

But asked about Kangaroos selection, Inglis said: “That’s the last thing (I am thinking about).

“I am worried about this team, getting them back on track – that is my main focus.

“The main thing is we stick together and work through this together.”

Maguire was a little more forthcoming after the spiteful clash against the ladder leaders.

After copping weeks of criticism, Maguire clearly liked what he saw from Inglis who capped a stellar display by stepping two Broncos to score in the 52nd minute.

A penalty five minutes later reduced the 14-0 halftime deficit to just six points.

Brisbane found another gear to score another three tries and condemn South Sydney to their fifth loss in six games.

However, Maguire believed his side – and more importantly his skipper – had turned the corner.

“Definitely, I was proud of him,” Maguire said of Inglis.

“A lot has been said by certain people and that’s up to them what they say but I know what he is doing in the background and I thought his effort was a good captain’s effort.

“He will keep working hard on his game like he normally does.”

Maguire said his maligned team – dismissed as a “shadow of itself” by Matt Johns this week – would also start proving their critics wrong.

“My boys are having a lot said about them at the moment but I know what they are capable of,” he said.

Jenny Morris remembers touring with Prince

As the world mourns Prince, ARIA-award winning singer Jenny Morris considers herself one of the lucky few people who met and performed with the influential musician.

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Morris, now the chair of APRA, was invited by Prince to open for him as his support act around Europe in 1990.

At the time she had a hit with her song Saved Me, which Prince heard in a club and liked so much he invited her to perform on his tour.

As Morris remembers, everyone on the tour was given a list of instructions on how to behave around Prince, such as not being able to look him directly in the eye.

“He was very reclusive, especially at that time in his life, so we had this list of rules that we had to adhere to like `Don’t look Prince in the eye, don’t approach him and don’t talk to him’,” Morris told AAP on Friday.

Despite these directions, she remembers how warm he was, even taking time to play with her then two-year-old son, Hugh, who she had on tour with her.

“Lots of times Prince would play with him in the catering room. He would take him over to the other side of the room with him and throw balls or bread rolls or whatever,” she said.

He may not have said much, but Morris remembers his warm gaze, something he bestowed upon her a number of times.

“Prince was a very warm person. On several occasions he stood on the route between my dressing room and stage and when I went past he would look at me and was very warm and engaging, kind of that Prince flirty thing that he did,” she said.

The US musician also sent Morris flowers on her birthday.

But most of all, she remembers his love for music.

Morris travelled all over France, Germany and Scandinavia on the tour and watched Prince every single night, either from the side of the stage or standing out front with the crowd.

“It was a very otherworldly experience because of the kind of person that Prince was,” she said.

One of her highlights of the tour was when Prince played her song.

“He plugged in side of stage and played along to my song Saved Me that he liked from the club, just one night.

“We got that on tape and it was one of the highlights of my life that he was playing on my song,” she said.

The Purple One was recognisable for his flamboyant onstage style, which was something he cultivated almost on a daily basis.

According to Morris, he had a team of dressmakers on standby 24/7 and, if he spotted something he liked in a club after his gig, he would get them to create it.

“So he could wear it on stage the next night,” she said.

“He had more clothes than everyone could ever imagine.”

Morris, who is devastated, said she understood why he was sort of reclusive.

“Prince had a tough life as a kid and that coupled with the fact that he had this sort of genius brain, he obviously saw the world differently and I think he was very protective of himself but inside of himself he was a very engaging person,” she said.

“At those shows and tour he just wanted to just give and give and give.”