Monthly Archives: September 2019

AFL, Suns to discuss Hunt scandal

The AFL will be in regular contact with the Gold Coast Suns as nervous officials assess the fallout from Karmichael Hunt’s cocaine scandal.

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The code-hopping former Suns player has received a notice to appear in court on March 5 for allegedly supplying the drug.

The period in question was between September 1 and October 3 last year, when Hunt technically was still at the Suns.

But the Suns say they are confident in the protocols in place at the club despite speculation linking them to the scandal.

“There are bits and pieces that are out there, but there’s nothing substantial,” Suns football manager Marcus Ashcroft told the Gold Coast Bulletin.

“Of course we’d be disappointed (if they were), we’re not going to deny that, but we’re also confident in what we actually do from day to day.”

Hunt has switched to rugby union with the Queensland Reds, while the NRL’s Gold Coast Titans have also been dragged into the saga with five players to face similar charges stemming from a Queensland Crime and Corruption Commission investigation.

Hunt is the only current or former AFL player so far implicated.

“Let me stay away from specifics – we don’t have those,” AFL operations manager Mark Evans said on Monday.

“But it’s fair to say we’ll be having plenty of conservations just to make sure Gold Coast Suns are dealing with this appropriately within their playing group.

“There are discussions between the AFL and Gold Coast – and more broadly to other clubs as well, who are quite interested in what’s going on.”

Evans said the AFL has few details surrounding the allegations.

“I will need to be mindful of not jumping to any conclusions or going anywhere where I shouldn’t,” he said at a media conference on Monday.

The league’s football department boss also defended the AFL’s controversial three-strikes illicit drugs policy.

“One thing it has done is it’s raised very good discussion between the league and clubs and their players – that can only be beneficial,” he said.

“But we would never say we’re immune to any of these issues.”

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Vic greyhound boss quits over live baiting

The chairman of Victoria’s greyhound racing body has quit because he can no longer be certain the use of live animals to train greyhounds is restricted to a small group of trainers.

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Greyhound Racing Victoria chair Peter Caillard said he firmly believed the practice was not widespread, but admitted it could be wider than the suspended trainers from a private Tooradin training facility, who he called immoral.

“Despite assurance, I can no longer be satisfied that live baiting was restricted to the small band at Tooradin.”

Mr Caillard, brought into the role during controversy over betting at GRV, said he was distressed to discover that live baiting was occurring in recent times.

“Had this practice been brought to my attention earlier then it could have been stopped earlier. It was not and I did not,” he said in a statement on Monday.

The board of Greyhound Racing NSW and its CEO agreed to step down last week after revelations of live animals being used to “blood” greyhounds in NSW, Victoria and Queensland.

Mr Caillard said a chairman had to be accountable and it was in the industry’s best interests that a new person was appointed to the position.

Mr Caillard became chairman in 2011, amid investigations into a culture of staff betting on the sport during business hours that led to the board being dissolved and almost all of the senior management team being replaced with people from outside the industry.

“However, the extensive changes at GRV were not enough to prevent the type of sickening practices seen at the privately-owned Tooradin trial track,” he said.

He said live baiting went against his personal values and the vast majority of industry participants shared his repulsion at the illegal practice.

Fifteen Victorian trainers have been suspended amid investigations into live baiting.

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Hunt barred from training with Reds

Karmichael Hunt has been barred from training with his Queensland Reds teammates until he faces drug-related charges in court next week.

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But the Super Rugby franchise has stopped short of standing down the cross-code star, and has chosen to keep him on a “modified” training regime.

The Reds announced earlier on Monday that Hunt would not be considered for selection for their clash with the Highlanders on Friday night.

“He won’t be training with the team in this next period of time,” Graham said.

“We’ll certainly keep him on a modified program but that’s more to do with his strength and conditioning, and keeping him ticking over.”

Hunt was last week issued with a notice to appear in the Southport Magistrates Court on Thursday, March 5, where he will answer to allegations he arranged to supply cocaine for personal use or to be passed on to friends or colleagues.

Gold Coast Titans players Beau Falloon and Jamie Dowling will appear in court on the same day, while representative stars Greg Bird and Dave Taylor, together with winger Kalifa Faifai Loa, will appear on March 9.

All five Titans players have been officially stood down and put on notice by the NRL club, but it’s clear the Reds are taking a far more cautious approach with Hunt.

Graham said he was comfortable with the course of action taken by the Queensland Rugby Union, given the period in question was between September 1 to October 3 last year – when Hunt was still with the AFL’s Gold Coast Suns.

“I think it’s pretty clear that the incident happened in another sport and we’ve inherited it, as such,” he said.

“Anyone that read the report last week understands the timeline. At that point Karmichael wasn’t with us at all.

“I don’t believe it’s going to be a wider issue within our team.”

The Reds will make further decisions about their star recruit’s future after Hunt’s day in court.

Graham said he was yet to discuss Hunt’s new “modified” program directly with the player, and it’s unclear whether the 28-year-old will be permitted to come to Ballymore or be forced to train elsewhere.

But Graham said he had offered Hunt his full support.

“I feel strongly that everyone should be supported through things like this,” he said.

“I think we’ve made the best decision in the interests of Karmichael.

“And I think we’ve made a very good decision in the interests of the team and the organisation.”

The Reds, who pushed aside Hunt’s crisis to defeat the Western Force on Saturday night, have a short turnaround this week ahead of Friday’s clash with the Highlanders in Dunedin.

The injury-crippled team will get just two opportunities to train together before leaving for New Zealand.

But skipper James Slipper is confident Queensland’s Super Rugby campaign will not be derailed.

“It’s a distraction in a sense … but as a playing group, the way we played on the weekend was with a lot of character and pride,” he said.

“We addressed it last week briefly and we’re just trying to move on.”

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Greyhound Racing Victoria chairman quits

The chairman of Victoria’s greyhound racing body has quit because he can no longer be certain the use of live animals to train greyhounds is restricted to a small group of trainers.

南宁桑拿

Greyhound Racing Victoria chair Peter Caillard said he firmly believed the practice was not widespread, but admitted it could be wider than the suspended trainers from a private Tooradin training facility, who he called immoral.

“Despite assurance, I can no longer be satisfied that live baiting was restricted to the small band at Tooradin.”

Mr Caillard, brought into the role during controversy over betting at GRV, said he was distressed to discover that live baiting was occurring in recent times.

“Had this practice been brought to my attention earlier then it could have been stopped earlier.

It was not and I did not,” he said in a statement on Monday. The board of Greyhound Racing NSW and its CEO agreed to step down last week after revelations of live animals being used to “blood” greyhounds in NSW, Victoria and Queensland.

Mr Caillard said a chairman had to be accountable and it was in the industry’s best interests that a new person was appointed to the position.

Mr Caillard became chairman in 2011, amid investigations into a culture of staff betting on the sport during business hours that led to the board being dissolved and almost all of the senior management team being replaced with people from outside the industry.

“However, the extensive changes at GRV were not enough to prevent the type of sickening practices seen at the privately-owned Tooradin trial track,” he said.

He said live baiting went against his personal values and the vast majority of industry participants shared his repulsion at the illegal practice. Fifteen Victorian trainers have been suspended amid investigations into live baiting.

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Don’t forget farmers after storm: industry

As recovery efforts continue in Queensland’s worst cyclone-hit townships, agricultural groups are urging those in charge not to forget the state’s farmers.

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Yeppoon, which copped the brunt of the storm as it made landfall as a category five system, is a diverse horticultural region that produces tropical fruits, sweet potatoes, pineapples and mangoes.

Meanwhile, there are some 31 dairy farms around Rockhampton and central Queensland.

The storm tore roofs torn off farmhouses, destroyed irrigation equipment and ruined crops as it passed through this area.

There has also been significant damage through the Callide Valley, where cotton, grain and herbs are produced.

Then there’s the added concern of livestock health, with wet conditions increasing the likelihood of conditions such as mastitis.

“We appreciate the severe damage that has hit the towns of Rockhampton and Yeppoon,” Queensland Dairyfarmers Organisation president Brian Tessmann said.

“But we need to ensure that farmers and small outlying communities aren’t forgotten.”

While it’s still too early to know the full extent of the damage across these agricultural zones, AgForce Queensland’s general president Grant Maudsley said initial reports suggested some areas appeared to have been hit hard.

“We know members in places throughout the Callide and Burnett, as well as Yeppoon, Rockhampton, Gympie and the Southern Coast regions, have suffered significant damage to both homes and property infrastructure,” he said in a statement on Monday.

He said the group would survey its members in coming days to get a better idea of damage to agricultural land, crops and livestock.

Queensland Farmers’ Federation chief executive Dan Galligan said flooding associated with the cyclone would also create long-term challenges for farmers.

“The recovery effort will be enormous,” he said.

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