Aidan Guerra has raised the bar of expectation surrounding the Knights’ 2019 prospectsdeclaring next season will be a failure if the side does not qualify forthe play-offs.
The Knights have made the finals just four times in the past 15 years with their last appearance coming backin 2013 under Wayne Bennett.
Yardstick: Veteran Knight Aidan Guerra says finals footy in 2019 is a must if the season is not to be deemed a failure. Picture: Simone De Peak.
But with some notable additions to the playing roster, a new-look staff and the prospect of improvement from a number of the club’s younger stars, Guerra says the club must be aiming for at least a top eight finish.
“We definitely hope for that,” he said.
“We are working towards it and as a side, we are pretty clear on what we need to do and how we are going to get there.
“The next four or five months will determine how close we will go and we’ll get a good measure come round one.”
Asked if anything less than a play-offs appearance would be a failure, Guerra said:“Yeah, I’d probably say that. We showed the potential that we’ve got but if you don’t reach your potential, it’s just a waste.
“We definitely have a side that is full of people who can get us there.
“I think they have been recruiting pretty well. We obviously ended last season knowing there were some voids that needed to be filled.
“The recruitment staff and management have been making some pretty good moves but it is one thing getting the players here but it’s what we do moving forward that will determine what we do as a football side.”
Guerra said there hadbeen talk among the playing group about the potentialsigning of Bulldogs Test prop David Klemmer but no-one is getting ahead of themselves.
“To be honest, we are getting a lot of our information from you guys [media]. We are just waiting to see what happens,” he said.
“He’s obviously going to be a great acquisition for the team if we can get him across the line but I’ve been around footy long enough to know nothing is certain and we won’t get too far ahead of ourselves until he shows up.”
READ MORE: Newcastle Knights
Entering his 13thpre-season, Guerra 30, says training at this time of the year doesn’t get any easier.
“It’s only my second day and I’m feeling how you’d expect,” he said.
“My legs are a bit sore, the body is a bit tired but that’s what pre-season is for. You come in and get straight into the hard stuff and start seeing that character buildas a side.
“There is a long road ahead and you try and enjoy it as much as the trainers don’t want you to.”
World No.1 bowler Megan Schutt is a big key to Australia’s World T20 clash with New Zealand.Australia aim to use their inside knowledge in their crunch women’s World Twenty20 clash with New Zealand, with numerous close links between the two sides.
A win for Australia in Guyana on Wednesday (AEDT) will book their spot in the tournament’s semi-finals, and all but end New Zealand’s hopes after they lost to India in their first match.
The Aussies beat New Zealand 3-0 in a home T20 series recently, while the majority of the White Ferns’ big names play in the Women’s Big Bash League.
Most notably, New Zealand’s most dangerous two bats, Sophie Devine and world No.1 ranked Suzie Bates, both played for the Adelaide Strikers last summer alongside Australia’s strike bowler Megan Schutt.
“I think it makes for an interesting battle,” Schutt, who is ranked as the world’s No.1 T20 bowler, told AAP.
“I’d like to think I know them pretty well as players as well as off the field. Obviously we had a pretty good contest against them in the series just gone.
“I think I know Sophie pretty well to be honest, I’ve bowled a lot to her in the nets and I’ve probably been smoked over my head as many times as I have got her out.”
Australia’s history against the White Ferns is mixed at T20 level, given they’d lost eight of their last 11 against them before this summer’s winning whitewash.
New Zealand also have pace bowler Lea Tahuhu at their disposal, arguably the quickest in the WBBL with the Melbourne Renegades.
She’ll have a mammoth task ahead of her, given unbeaten Australia having racked up scores of 0-58 and 1-71 in the opening six-over powerplays in their first two games of the tournament against Pakistan and Ireland.
Alyssa Healy has been particularly dominant, whacking a combined 104 off 60 balls in the two innings alongside Beth Mooney at the top.
“I think any surface Lea bowls on she is going to have a bit of pace and bounce,” Australian spinner and Tahuhu’s Renegades teammate Sophie Molineux said.
“Midge (Healy) has been playing brilliantly at the top and Moons has been doing her job.
“Hopefully we can negate her pace and get through that powerplay and score a few off her. Lea does certainly charge in and hit a good length.”
UK foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt has met with Saudi King Salman in Riyadh.British Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt has said prospects for talks to end Yemen’s 3-1/2-year-old war are “more real” after Saudi Arabia confirmed to him its willingness to evacuate 50 wounded Houthi fighters as a confidence-building measure.
Following meetings in Riyadh with the Saudi king and crown prince – the main proponent of Saudi military intervention in Yemen – Hunt also said he anticipated “rapid progress” in bringing to justice those responsible for last month’s murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
“I was led to believe that certainly the legal processes are going to be starting very soon indeed and we should hear something about that quite shortly,” Hunt told Reuters in an interview.
Hunt’s trip, which included a meeting in the United Arab Emirates with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, comes as Riyadh, already under scrutiny for civilian deaths in Yemen air strikes, is facing global criticism and potential sanctions over Khashoggi’s killing inside its Istanbul consulate on Oct. 2.
The Western-backed Saudi-led coalition in Yemen resumed air strikes on the main port city of Hodeidah after a lull on Monday as Western allies pressed Riyadh to end a war that has pushed the impoverished country to the verge of starvation.
“Even though there’s been a temporary lull in the fighting, … it is a desperate humanitarian situation and so I impressed on everyone the urgency of the situation we’re facing,” Hunt said.
Britain is a major arms supplier to Saudi Arabia, and opposition politicians and human rights groups have called on the government to cease such sales due to the high civilian death toll in air raids by the coalition in Yemen.
The government has said the arms sales earn Britain billions of pounds and guarantee jobs in the industry, and its response to the Khashoggi killing must bear this in mind.
Britain has pushed for new action at the United Nations Security Council to try to end hostilities in Yemen and find a political solution to the war.
The evacuation of Houthi fighters, which Hunt said would have conditions about who travels with them, was a Houthi condition for peace talks that collapsed in September after the armed group’s delegation failed to show up.
Martin Boyle could make his international debut for the Socceroos against South Korea.He set foot in Australia for the first time earlier this week but Martin Boyle could be the latest Socceroos debutant come Saturday.
The 25-year-old Scottish-born Boyle has swapped tartan for green and gold and is in the mix to line up for the Socceroos against South Korea in Brisbane.
Boyle, whose father Graeme was born in Sydney, was a part of the national team squad for Graham Arnold’s first match in charge against Kuwait last month but was ineligible as he had yet to receive his Australian passport.
A pacey winger who can also play centre forward, Boyle has been marked as worthy of pursuit by Arnold in his quest to solve the Socceroos’ goal scoring concerns.
Boyle has scored four goals and provided three assists in 11 Scottish Premiership games this season for Hibernian – where he plays alongside fellow Socceroos Mark Milligan and Jamie McLaren.
“Being in the third division of Scotland years ago to the climb that’s been happening, it’s quite unimaginable,” Boyle said on Tuesday.
“If you’d asked me a few years ago if this opportunity would ever happen, from the position I was in or where I was, I’d probably have laughed at you.
“It’s been a huge rise for myself and long may it continue.”
Boyle will get his first look at Suncorp Stadium on Wednesday afternoon, with former Brisbane Roar striker McLaren already talking up the venue.
“He’s saying he’s got a statue outside it. He’s giving it the big one,” Boyle said.
“It’ll be great to see it for myself and ideally make an impression.”
Milligan, who joined Hibs in August, said there’s no fears over Boyle’s loyalties.
“He’s coming into training and telling me about Aussie customs,” Milligan said.
“He’s very keen and has definitely done his homework.
“He’s a very exciting young player, very positive, likes to get at goal and definitely has goals in him.”
Boyle’s father was crying tears of pride when his son left Scotland but couldn’t get time off from his lorry driving job to come to Australia. His son expects he’ll be watching back home.
There’s also no concerns about having to practice the national anthem.
FIGHTING ROGUE CANCERS: Dr Heather Lee, NSW Cancer Institute’s early career fellow at the Hunter Medical Research Institute, where she is conducting award-winning research. Picture: Jonathan Carroll Dr Heather Lee movedto Sydney and then Cambridge to advance her study of genetics, onlyto find herself“about five minutes” from her childhoodhomeofNew Lambton Heightspursuingher most promisingwork yet.
The cancer research fellowat the Hunter Medical Research Institute and the University of Newcastlehas received one of two $50,000 Metcalf Prizes from the National Stem Cell Foundation of Australia for“early-career leadership” in the field of stem-cell science.
The awardrecognises Dr Lee’swork in creatingamethod of identifying rare and “rogue” cancer cells, which she believes may help scientists developnew ways of killingcancers that are resistant tochemotherapy.
HUNT: Dr Heather Lee at the lab at Hunter Medical Research Institute. Picture: Jonathan Carroll.
“One ofthe big problems withtreating canceris that thecancer can change and it can come back,” Dr Lee said.
“When a cancer returnsthis is thought to be driven by rare cancer cells thathave special propertiesthat allow them to surviveinitial chemotherapy.
“We want to studythesereal cellsusing single cell analysis, and hopefullyidentify new ways of stopping cancers from coming back.”
Dr Lee’s current research into an aggressiveform of blood cancer, called acute myeloidleukaemia, uses a techniqueshe developed with colleagues in Cambridge to read the genetic sequence of individual cells.
STEM-CELL THEORY: A diagram showing the theory that catching cancer cells with rare properties or ‘cancer stem-cells’ is more effective than targetting other cancer cells. Picture: Public domain
The method also identifies“chemical flags” that govern which parts of the sequence the cell uses to function.
“The thing about this technique is that we can study one cell at a time, whereaspreviously we had to studythousands ofcells at a time.So now we can see differences between individual cells,” Dr Lee said.
The techniquewas particularly pertinent to cancer research, she said,because cancer cells often have chemical markers in the wrong place whencompared to surrounding tissue.
“The chemical flags make sure the cell’sdoingthe job it’s meant to be doing,” she said.
“So the cell starts misbehaving or starts growing more rapidly or failing to perform the properfunction.”
SEARCHING FOR SOLUTIONS: Dr Heather Lee at the lab at Hunter Medical Research Institute. Picture: Jonathan Carroll.
Dr Lee is currently using her ability tostudy the diversityin leukaemia cells to understand why some cells are resistant to treatment.
“No one has had the opportunity to look at how individual cells respond tothe drug until now,” she said.
The Merewether High School alumnussaid she felt “privileged” to conduct the researchin her hometown.
“We have quite abit of freedom here and the strength ofresearch in Newcastleis that it’s relativelysimple to work with clinicians,” she said.
“Personally, I had a daughterin theUK and it just makes a worldof difference tobe back home close to two sets of grandparents.”
Toxic spill fears for Trugain after doors closeResearch digging into science of gluten-free
Mark Milligan (c) is the most capped player in the Socceroos squad for the game against South Korea.Mark Milligan couldn’t be happier to be finally achieving his ambition of playing professionally in the United Kingdom.
The 33-year-old contemplated retirement after the World Cup in Russia but realised a life-long goal in August when he signed with Scottish Premiership club Hibernian.
After spells in China, Japan, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, playing in a professional European league has been everything Milligan hoped for.
“I’m loving my football at the minute,” Milligan, who has made an instant impact for Hibs including captaining the club last weekend against Aberdeen, said.
“It took me a long time to get into the UK and even getting Hibs across the line wasn’t really smooth sailing in terms of visas and things like that.
“Getting it done and now being over there, being in that environment day-to-day, it’s been very enjoyable.”
Milligan’s move to Hibernian has also ensured he’s fully match fit for Australia’s friendlies against South Korea and Lebanon.
Those games are the final chance Milligan and company to impress Arnold before the Asian Cup title defence in the UAE in January.
Milligan was part of the successful 2015 Asian Cup campaign – which included victory over South Korea in the final but defeat to the same opposition in a group stage fixture at Suncorp Stadium.
“We’ve got a score to settle, they did us here in the group stages,” Milligan said.
“We all get extremely excited when we get the chance to come back to Australia and play.
“I hope the fans feel the same and come out in big numbers.”
RESULT: Newcastle trampolinist Ty Swadling (far right) on the World Championships podium in Russia with his bronze medal from the men’s synchronised event. Picture: SuppliedTy Swadling only just made the national trials following the birth of his son, but the trampolinistwill return home to Newcastle with aWorld Championships medal.
The 30-year-old, who trains out of Eastlake Trampoline Sports at Belmont under long-time coach Brett Austin, claimed the international bronze with Australian teammate Dominic Clarke in the men’s synchronised event in SaintPetersburg, Russia, on the weekend.
Swadling and Clarke scored 51.27 in the final, finishing behind Belarus and France.
He was sixth in the same discipline with brother Shaun in the US four years ago. They also combined for a synchronised bronze at the Minsk World Cup in 2014.
Australia won a team bronze at the World Championships in Belarus in 2013.
The 2018 Hunter Sporting Hall of Fame inductee qualified for the current national team in October,travelling to the Gold Coast for selections two days after first child Cooper was born.
The Australian trampoline squad are scheduled to havea training camp in Japan over Christmas. The Olympics will be held in Tokyo in 2020.
“It’s not everyday you win a World Championships medal,” Swadling posted on social media.
“I could not be happier for the opportunity to compete alongside such a superstar Dominic Clarke in such a high quality final.
“I’m proud to wear the green and gold and grateful for the experience.”
Meanwhile, the Australian Gymnastics Championships will remain in Melbourne for the next two years with the 2019 event taking place from May 20 to June 4.
TEAMMATES: Supercars drivers Scott McLaughlin and Fabian Coulthard in the Newcastle 500 home straight on Tuesday. Track construction continues ahead of next week’s season-ending race. Picture: Simon McCarthy Title aspirant Scott McLaughlin may bein the spotlight ahead of next weekend’s season-decidingNewcastle 500, but the role of teammate Fabian Coulthard has come into sharp focus for the finalSupercars round.
Coulthard is seventh on the overall standings and out of the championship race, but the 36-year-old will play a crucial part in helping fellow Shell V-Power Racing driver McLaughlin attempt to keep nearest rival Shane Van Gisbergen at bay andbreakthrough in 2018.
And being the “ultimate wingman” isn’t a new concept for Coulthard.
PRIZE:Paralympian Maddi Elliott wins Supercars “hot lap”
“Obviously we sacrifice our position,” Coulthard said while inspecting the track in Newcastle on Tuesday.
“We’ve done it a few rounds this year –Gold Coast, Bathurst and places like that where we’ve been in a good position but we’ve done what we can to help the 17 [McLaughlin].
“Be it by pitting, not pitting me and pitting Scotty so he doesn’t get stacked and things like that.
“We’ll help out where we can and obviously you need to be fast enough to do that.
“If we’re fast enough, like we were last year, I think I’ll be the ultimate wingman.”
HELPFUL:The complete guide to 2018 Newcastle 500
Twelve months ago Coulthard, who was a career-best third in the driver’s championship last year, finishedsecond behind McLaughlin in Saturday’s race of the inaugural Newcastle 500.
Coulthard retired from Sunday’s race with a driveshaft issue andMcLaughlin copped a controversiallast-lap penalty as rival Jamie Whincupclaimednot only the chequered flag but the 2017 silverware.
This time around approaching the Newcastle 500, McLaughlin leads Van Gisbergen by 14 points.
“I’m just going to be my normal self,” McLaughlin said.“I don’t want to change anything because that’s the reason why we’ve got here.”
MEDALS: Supercars drivers Scott McLaughlin and Fabian Coulthard with Maddi Elliott (left) in Newcastle on Tuesday. Picture: Simon McCarthySupercars drivers Scott McLaughlin and Fabian Coulthard knew they were meeting a Newcastle 500 competition winner at Fort Scratchley on Tuesday, but they didn’t expect the Paralympic medals.
Title hopeful McLaughlin and teammate Coulthard were quite impressed with the golden haul they were shown by Maitland’s Maddi Elliott, who will be taken on a “hot lap” of the trackFriday week.
PHOTOS:The inaugural Newcastle 500 from 12 months ago
“I think I made their day,” Elliott said.
But it wasn’t Elliott’s achievements in the swimming pool that has put the two-time Paralympianin the V8 passenger seat, it was simply a bit of luck.
The self-confessed Supercars fan, who turned 20 earlier this month, had entered multipleonline competitions before being randomly selected for this prize.
SPEED: Two-time Paralympian Maddi Elliott overlooks the Newcastle 500 track at Fort Scratchley on Tuesday. Picture: SImon McCarthy
“I’ve actually been a Supercars fan for at least four years, if not more, and I’ve entered that many competitions since 2013, 2014 that it’s not funny.
“I don’t even know which competition I won, but it was obviously a good one. I’m really excited for it next week.”
Elliott, who as a teenager claimednine Paralympic medals acrossLondon 2012 and Rio 2016, said she was “an adrenaline junkie” and looking forward to “a completely different thrill”.
AUTOGRAPHS: Maitland’s Maddi Elliott gets her Supercars Monopoly board signed by driver Fabian Coulthard in Newcastle on Tuesday. Picture: Simon McCarthy
McLaughlin and Coulthard, with Shell V-Power Racing, also signed Elliott’s limited edition Supercars Monopoly board.
No driver has yet to be assigned for the “hot lap”, but Elliott’s favourite isChaz Mostert.
The second edition of the season-ending Newcastle 500 will take place from November 23 to 25.
WIN:Supercars tickets plus a meet and greet with Simple Minds