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Vixens netball panel for Sunday

ANZ Championship, round 4:
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Adelaide Thunderbirds v Melbourne Vixens

Netball SA Stadium, Sunday, 11.48am

Head-to-head: Thunderbirds 6, Vixens 12

Last time: Vixens 48 defeated Thunderbirds 39, Melbourne, rd 2, 2015

Linda Pearce predicts:

A rematch of the slightly scrappy encounter from just two weeks ago sees the winless host the unbeaten, with no compelling reason to suggest the round-two result will be reversed. No teams have met more often in league history, but the Vixens’ advantage extends even to Adelaide, and the individual match-ups continue to serve Melbourne well. Much depends on the form and confidence of T-birds shooter Carla Borrego, who was dragged after a 13/25 effort the last time, and will again attract Geva Mentor’s strong attention. Vixens by 7.

Other matches: Sunday – Magic v Tactix (Hamilton). Monday – Swifts v Fever (Sydney), Mystics v Pulse (Auckland). Bye – Firebirds, Steel.

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Crowds in for a record-smashing pumpkin at this year’s Sydney Royal Easter Show

The 728-kilogram pumpkin arrives at the produce display at the Easter Show. Photo: Dallas Kilponen Workers at the produce display inspect the pumpkin that came in at 728 kilograms. Photo: Dallas Kilponen
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Northern District produce display manager Arthur Johns with the winning pumpkin. Photo: Dallas Kilponen

It’s the 728-kilogram record-breaker that so very nearly might not have been.

Australasia’s largest-ever pumpkin, an Atlantic Giant grown by Dale Oliver, slipped from a harness when it was being taken for a weigh-in back in January.

“We were just lifting it and something broke,” said the farmer from Knockrow, a village near Bangalow in northern NSW.

“We just thought ‘oh no, it’s going to be cracked or something.'”

But the mega-gourd sustained only a small gash, to be declared on Saturday the biggest pumpkin to ever grace a Sydney Royal Easter Show, which opens for its 193rd year on Thursday.

The dominant pumpkin smashes the previous 618-kilogram record, also held by Mr Oliver and set in 2013.

This year’s champion was at one stage an even heavier 743kg. “It’s lost weight because it’s just been sitting around,” Mr Oliver said, adding he had another 660kg whopper in reserve.

“I just cut the other one up last week and fed it to the cattle and it was as good as gold.”

The record-holder will take pride of place at the Great Backyard Pumpkin Challenge in the flower and garden pavilion at this year’s show, rather than among 50,000 other pieces of fruit that make up the five district exhibits at the Woolworths Fresh Food Dome.

Its absence will not be felt by Arthur Johns, the manager of the Northern District exhibit, who said the pumpkins did not have a reputation for meeting gentle ends.

“I’m never very fussy about putting them in a display for that reason,” Mr Johns said.

“They can look lovely today and overnight they blow up and when you come to work the next morning you’ve got a big mess.”

But this pumpkin might last longer than its record.

Mr Oliver said another pumpkin, believed to be about 700 kilograms, was due to be weighed in New Zealand in the next week.

“It’s going to be close,” Mr Oliver said. “We’ll see what happens.”

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Operation Slipper Welcome Home parade marks end of Afghanistan commitment

Chief Petty Officer Damian Tawlenko with wife Michelle and sons Cristian, 7, and Darcy, 21 months. Photo: Lisa Maree Williams Families of Defence personnel who died during Operation Slipper lay wreaths at the ANZAC Memorial in Hyde Park. Photo: Lisa Maree Williams
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Members of the Royal Australian Navy march along George Street on Saturday. Photo: Lisa Maree Williams

Three tours of duty in Afghanistan have taught Chief Petty Officer Damian Pawlenko the value of family and the Australian lifestyle.

“I’ve learned I’ll never take anything for granted again,” CPO Pawlenko said at the Welcome Home parade in Sydney on Saturday, which marked the end of Operation Slipper.

He marched with the navy contingent, watched by wife Michelle and sons Cristian, 7, and Darcy, 21 months.

About 9000 army, navy and air force personnel, Australian Federal Police and Public Service employees marched through the city, taking the same route along George Street as veterans will take in five weeks to mark the Centenary of Anzac.

Operation Slipper proved to be Australia’s longest military operation, stretching from 2001 to 2014. It saw 34,500 Australians deployed to Afghanistan.

The families of the 41 Australians killed in Afghanistan during the operation were guests of honour at the ceremony.

They listened as the names of their husbands, fathers and brothers were read out, and laid wreathes at the war memorial in Hyde Park.

A further 262 Australians suffered serious injuries during Operation Slipper.

Mr Pawlenko was first deployed in 2006 on HMAS Manoora and then twice more on the ground in Afghanistan at Tarinkot, the staging base where he worked in public affairs and from which he went outside the wire.

As well as missing his family, he said conditions could be extremely uncomfortable in the height of summer.

“When you are out there you realise what a good lifestyle we have in Australia. You come home and realise that you are never going to take it for granted again.”

His thoughts were echoed by Commander Damien Scully-O’Shea, who spent more than nine months away from home in Dubai and Afghanistan.

His wife, Casey, and daughters Isla, 7 and Josie, 5, watched him march through the city.

“It was the longest time I was away from home in my 20 years in the navy,” he said.

“The worse thing about being away is missing your family. The best thing is the meaningful work.

“I think we have made a difference.”

Army Sergeant Derek Isted, 43, was deployed to Afghanistan twice, both times for seven months.

“You miss having normalcy in your life, just being able to go and watch the football on the weekend.

“But it’s a bit sad in a way it’s finishing,” he said about the end of Operation Slipper.

“It’s a bit like being a teacher and not being allowed to go in the classroom.

“But we help to make a lot of people safe.”

Vietnam veteran Tom Campbell, 70, of Campbelltown, came into the city to watch the parade, carrying a sign welcoming home those marching and thanking them for their efforts.

“We used the slogan Welcome Home which we didn’t get,” said Mr Campbell who served in Vietnam from 1969 to 1970.

“We had to wait until 1987 when we organised our own Welcome Home parade.

“A lot of young soldiers and sailors have come up today and said thanks very much for welcoming them home.”

Following the march, a commemoration service was held at the Shrine of Remembrance in Hyde Park.

Treasurer Joe Hockey, representing Prime Minister Tony Abbott, told the service personnel that their role in Afghanistan had been extremely important to Australians and the people of Afghanistan.

“You have given a proud nation the ability to defend themselves and take control of their lives.

“Australians do not fight to conquer, they fight to help,” he said.

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Trainer James Cummings happy with decision to steer Shamalia wide of Galaxy

James Cummings came within a whisker of changing tack for group 1 Galaxy earlier this week, but Shamalia’s co-trainer wasn’t upset with the “small fish” consolation prize of the Birthday Card Stakes at Rosehill on Saturday.
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Shamalia whizzed past last year’s Golden Slipper winner Mossfun in the final furlong to win the group 3 event by two lengths.

“I did go close [to aiming her at the Galaxy], but I wasn’t going get a run,” Cummings said.

“If Kuro was struggling to get a run, then we were always going to struggle. [But] small fish make sweet eating and we came here very confident she would run well. She was ridden off the speed even though there wasn’t much speed on paper and she exploded late.”

Hugh Bowman settled Shamalia near the tail of the field and quickly wheeled her to the centre of the track in a perfect preparation for the Sapphire Stakes on the second day of The Championships.

“I was a little bit concerned with the speed map, but we didn’t go out there to reinvent the wheel,” Bowman said. Mossfun’s rider Tommy Berry said his mount was “disappointing and just didn’t let down at all”.

Scratching the itch to win

Mick Kent targeted the Epona Stakes with Scratchy Bottom and finally got the result he wanted in the group 3.

Kent had watched Epingle place in the Epona for the past two years but Craig Williams delivered Scratchy Bottom in time to beat odds-on favourite Rising Romance.

Kent, who was questioned by stewards over the improved performance of Scratchy Bottom, is looking at the big picture with his staying mare.

“She needs a mile-and-a-half and finding the right race for her has been tough,” Kent said.

“We might have a go at the Chairmans [Quality] but there are more races for her in the spring at the right sort of distance. As you saw she was very strong through the line.”

Williams thought he would run second 100 metres out until Scratchy Bottom let down into another gear.

“The more I asked, the lower she got and the harder she tried,” Williams said.

James McDonald said he felt the winner coming on the inside of Rising Romance but she couldn’t respond and backing up in the BMW for the Caulfield Cup runner-up would be in doubt.

“Disappointing. If she is going to take on a BMW field she will need to do better than that,” he said.

Buick cops a spray

One of two visiting European-based Godolphin riders for Golden Slipper Day, William Buick, copped a stern rebuke from chief steward Ray Murrihy after he slugged the jockey $400 for weighing one kilogram overweight after the Epona Stakes.

Buick said he had a “swig” of drink in between weighing out and riding in the group 3 fillies and mares race, while also crediting a saturated “pad” from his mount sweating for the gain.

He weighed out 55.4kg and returned at 56kg – a kilogram more than Entertains was supposed to carry in the race allowing for Buick’s vest allowance.

“You’re bordering on a suspension,” Murrihy reminded Buick, who was also spoken to about a similar issue on Coolmore Classic day.

“I don’t know what the score is elsewhere, but come in here and tell us how it is. Telling us your horse is sweating when it’s 22 degrees outside just won’t wash.”

Entertains finished eighth, but only two lengths from the winner Scratchy Bottom.

Quinton gets a thrill

Four-time Golden Slipper-winning jockey Ron Quinton is no stranger to success on Sydney’s signature day as a rider, but he perhaps got just as big a thrill out of Peeping’s win in the listed Sebring Stakes.

“You never forget [those Slipper wins],” Quinton said.

“From the first time I saw her I told the owner Tom Kelly, ‘this is a racehorse’. She’s come a long way in a short time.”

Quinton has placed his faith in former apprentice Sam Clipperton and the emerging senior rider gave Peeping a peach of a ride, avoiding the early scrimmage caused by Music Magnate, which was described by Murrihy as “some of the worst interference you will see in a race”, before outgunning the same horse by a neck in the drive to the finish.

“It’s a great thrill to get a winner on Slipper day, especially for Ron,” Clipperton said. After beating the boys, Peeping will return to her own sex in the PJ Bell Stakes at The Championships in a fortnight.

Punters in the dark

With much fanfare, the Australian Turf Club announced it was going to return Golden Slipper day to its former glory but it managed to leave stewards and punters in the dark for the first couple of races.

The usual replays on the replay channel following races weren’t available leaving the owners of the Epona Stakes winner Scratchy Bottom searching for their mobile phones to try relive her win.

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Cricket World Cup: Glenn Maxwell’s fast scoring unprecedented in World Cups

Glenn Maxwell is scything and swatting his way into the World Cup record books.
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The batsman widely derided for his flighty approach to batting in limited-overs matches is in his most consistent period in the national team, and is generally playing without sacrificing any of his audacity.

The only time Maxwell has failed in the tournament was when he played on to his stumps for one in the Trent Boult-led rout of Australia’s batting line-up in Auckland. He was on track to notch his fifth 50-plus score in six innings but ran out of time as Australia reached the victory target of 214 against Pakistan on Friday night in Adelaide.

Maxwell’s unbeaten 44 took his tournament tally beyond 300 runs. Such a feat is unremarkable in World Cups, but the pace he has scored is truly remarkable.

He is one of five players in this tournament to have scored at least 300 runs at a strike-rate of better than a run a ball. Zimbabwe duo Sean Williams and Brendan Taylor respectively boasted a strike-rate of 109 and 106.91, while Kumar Sangakkara’s plummeted to 105.87 after he was forced to play the anchor role in Sri Lanka’s quarter-final defeat to South Africa. All three are well behind second-placed AB de Villiers with 144.29, but even the South African captain is not – yet – close to matching Maxwell’s strike rate of 183.53. De Villiers has twice achieved the feat at previous World Cups.

Before this World Cup there had only been 11 instances of players scoring 300 or more runs at better than a run a ball, with half coming in the past two tournaments, in 2011 and 2007. Two of the most significant achievements were India’s Kapil Dev scoring at 108.99 in 1983 and West Indies’ Viv Richards’ 107.41 in 1987, because they were so out of kilter with the sedate scoring rates of the time.

The record for a highest strike rate by a batsman to have scored at least 300 runs in a World Cup was India’s Virender Sehwag, who in 2011 scored 380 at a strike rate of 122.58. That record will stand only until this World Cup ends.

Maxwell was spared on five against Pakistan after Sohail Khan spilled a tough chance at third man. The chance was created by a bizarre sliced shot at the peak of Wahab Riaz’s fearsome spell. The affable all-rounder joked on Twitter it was “called the back away, look away, deliberate cut through point,” before praising the left-armer for his hostility in the spell that claimed the scalps of David Warner and Michael Clarke and created the chances from him and Shane Watson that were put down.

The form of Maxwell is vindication for the national selectors for maintaining their faith despite his form woes late last year.

MASTER BLASTERSBatsmen who have scored at least 300 runs at a strike rate of better than 100 in a World Cup

* Glenn Maxwell (Aus) – 301r at 75.25, s-r 183.53. 2015 WC. * AB de Villiers (SAf) – 417r at 83.4, s-r 144.29. 2015 WC. * Virender Sehwag (Ind) – 380r at 47.5, s-r 122.58. 2011 WC. * Sean Williams (Zim) – 339r at 67.8, s-r 109. 2015 WC. * Kapil Dev (Ind) – 303r at 60.6, s-r 108.99. 1983 WC. * AB de Villiers (SA) – 353r at 88.25, s-r 108.28. 2011 WC. * Aravinda da Silva (SL) – 448r at 89.6, s-r 107.69. 1996 WC. * Viv Richards (WI) – 391r at 65.16, s-r 107.41. 1987 WC. * Brendan Taylor (Zim) – 433r at 72.16, s-r 106.91. 2015 WC. * Kumar Sangakkara (SL) – 541r at 108.2, s-r 105.87. 2015 WC. * Adam Gilchrist (Aus) – 408r at 40.8, s-r 105.42. 2003 WC. * Graeme Smith (SAf) – 443r at 104.48, s-r 104.48. 2007 WC. * Adam Gilchrist (Aus) – 453r at 45.3, s-r 103.89. 2007 WC. * Matthew Hayden (Aus) – 659r at 73.22, s-r 101.07. 2007 WC. * AB de Villiers (SAf) – 372r at 37.2, s-r 100.81. 2007 WC. * Herschelle Gibbs (SAf) – 384r at 96, s-r 100.78. 2003 WC.

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Brett Lee tells World Cup hero Shane Watson’s critics to feast on their words

Former Australian pace bowler Brett Lee was adamant Shane Watson had finally silenced his critics after he overcame unfriendly fire from Pakistan’s Wahab Riaz in Friday’s World Cup quarter-final to guide Australia to a six-wicket victory – and a semis berth.
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Lee, who played in Australia’s triumphant 2003 World Cup team, added Watson was the calibre of player the Michael Clarke-led Australians needed if they’re to win their fifth crown, while he admitted it still surprised him the all-rounder was dropped for the qualifier against Afghanistan.

“I think he’s made plenty of people eat their words,” Lee said. “His batting [on Friday] night was one of the best innings I’ve seen under pressure. You need to realise Riaz was bowling serious pace and it was one of the best spells of fast bowling – especially from Pakistan – I’ve seen in a long time.

“That pull shot he played off Riaz [the six] was the shot of the match. Yes, he was dropped [on four] but he [recovered to] provide a steady hand, all because he’s someone who has been in that situation many times before.

“And that’s my point. In Shane Watson we have a bloke who has played [185] one-day internationals and his experience will help Australia go a long way to fulfilling it’s aim to win the World Cup. His innings against Pakistan was a mixture of guts and maturity … he steadied the ship because Australia was under pressure [at 3-59] when he came in.”

Watson finished the quarter-final unbeaten on 64 but he and Riaz were fined by the ICC for their conduct during their explosive duel triggered by the Pakistani tailender being ridiculed by the Australians – including Watson who supposedly asked him “do you have a bat?” – when he struggled against Mitchell Starc.

Riaz was fined 50 per cent of his match fee, Watson 15 per cent of his. The penalty for the Pakistani was the maximum allowed for a level-one charge.

Riaz’s opening delivery to the 33-year-old was a menacing bouncer that the Pakistani followed through in an intimidating manner. He then proceeded to bowl a salvo of bouncers and revelled in Watson’s obvious discomfort with mock applause and later by blowing kisses.

Watson lashed out at Riaz’s ninth delivery with an attempted pull shot but the ball flew off his top edge to fine leg. He was walking towards the dressing room when Rahat Ali fumbled what should’ve been an easy catch. When Watson belted Riaz for six later on in the innings, he greeted the Pakistani’s tirade of expletives with a smile.

Lee said the way in which Watson handled the challenge from Riaz – who hit 150 km/h – added weight to his long-held view that Watson ought to be one of the first picked in Australia’s line-up.

“I don’t know why Shane needs to continually prove himself to the media and to some people,” he said. “It’s unfair he doesn’t get the respect he deserves because he’s a classy player.

“I was shocked when he was dropped for the game against Afghanistan because I thought that was an opportunity to give him time in the middle.

“The way he’s accepted being dropped and accepted being put back in the team has been magnificent. I know people say ‘drop him’ but he proves himself every single time at the Allan Border Medal.

“That’s the test of what a player is worth to the team [because votes are cast by team members] and he’s always up there. Not many can play Test, one-day or T20 cricket, or bat, bowl and field, but he does. He’s a rarity.

“He doesn’t just offer a lot with bat, ball and in the field, but behind the closed doors of the change rooms he works with the young guys as they come through.

“Speak to the players about when they were young guys – Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Johnson and now Josh Hazlewood – and they’ll speak highly of Shane’s presence because he’s willing to pass on the lessons from his own experiences.”

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GWS Giants defender Heath Shaw wants to keep Lance Franklin kickless

GWS player Heath Shaw models the Giants’ 2015 ANZAC Day strip at Manuka Oval. Photo: Matt BedfordSince moving from Collingwood, the two things Heath Shaw’s missed are finals and Anzac Day.
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He’ll tick one of those boxes at Manuka Oval in April and hopes this season Greater Western Sydney will take a step towards the other.

The Giants plan to kick off their 2015 campaign against the Sydney Swans with their final pre-season game at Manuka and the cheeky Shaw hoped Swans forward Lance Franklin helped draw a big crowd – but failed to get a kick.

Shaw played in six Anzac Day clashes for Collingwood against Essendon at the MCG and won the Anzac Medal  as best-on-ground in 2007.

With 18 finals and one premiership under his belt at the Pies, playing in front of 90,000 “lunatics” at the MCG was a regular occurrence for Shaw.

It’s those big games in front of packed houses that Shaw says he’s missed the most.

He’s excited about rekindling the Anzac spirit when the Giants play the Gold Coast Suns at Manuka on Anzac Day next month and he’s confident GWS will take a step this season towards playing finals, after finishing 2014 with two wins from their last three games.

Shaw said they would have one eye on the Swans and the other on St Kilda in round one.

“Coming from a club that played finals nearly every year, to miss out on September action last year was a bit of a weird feeling,” he said.

“I think we have the ability to play finals, but the thing is you have to win a certain amount of games to get there.”

For Shaw it was the moment those screaming fans go quiet as the Last Post sounds that he remembers, and misses, the most.

While the Anzac Day clash at Manuka will be on a smaller scale, he’s still looking forward to the moment when it  goes quiet and the trumpet sends shivers down everyone’s spine.

The Giants will wear a specially designed guernsey for their first Anzac clash, which they hope will become a permanent fixture on the AFL calendar.

“It’s amazing, obviously the Last Stand is something that’s very unique, you’ve got 90,000 people coming to watch the game usually screaming and being lunatics and they’re all silent for the Last Post,” Shaw said.

“It’s an amazing feeling and it’s great to be involved in.

“Everyone gets excited about the game, excited gets excited about playing on such a big occasion and hopefully these young boys take it in and enjoy the day.”

Shaw will slot into the Giants defence  with the job of trying to stop arguably the best forward in the AFL.

Franklin finished second in the 2014 Brownlow Medal and was the Coleman Medal in a year he helped the Swans to the grand final.

“He’s a drawcard, the people of Canberra probably haven’t gotten the opportunity to see him play,” he said.

“It’ll be good for them and hopefully he doesn’t get a kick, to be brutally honest.

“We’ve got a few young key defenders that want to have a crack at one of the best forwards in the land.”

NAB CHALLENGE

Sunday: GWS Giants v Sydney Swans at Manuka Oval, 1.10pm. Tickets available from Ticketek.

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Southern stars in the frame for lucrative women’s Twenty20 league

Some of Australia’s best female cricketers including Alex Blackwell, Meg Lanning, Ellyse Perry and Alyssa Healy, are expected to be targeted to compete in an international women’s T20 competition planned for Asia next year and could allow them to earn as much as $US40,000 in 10 days.
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In the week when the triumphant NSW Breakers were honoured at Government House by NSW Governor David Hurley for winning their 10th consecutive national league title, news emerged the Women’s International Cricket League [WICL], a privately run organisation, planned to be launched in either Singapore or Hong Kong in 2016.

The WICL, headed by Australian businessman Shaun Martyn and former Australian player Lisa Sthalekar, intend to recruit the world’s top 78 players to compete in a tournament that would include triple-headers and line-ups consisting of stars from the major cricket nations playing alongside recruits from Nepal, USA, Hong Kong,Thailand, China, Bhutan and Singapore.

Martyn, who has been working on the project for the past two years, insisted he was not launching a Kerry Packer World Series Cricket-like raid and revealed his desire was to work with the International Cricket Council to help women’s cricket attain a similar profile to female golf and tennis.

“Everything we do is built around opportunity,education and performance,” he said. “All the WICL is trying to do is create an opportunity for the women where one doesn’t exist.

“We have ongoing discussions with the ICC and we’re working closely with boards around the world to ensure they understand what we’re doing. From day one we’ve made it clear we want to work within the system and provide a percentage of our profits to the ICC for the development of the women’s game.

“They view us with some trepidation because we’re private but the people in our organisation – Lisa, Geoff Lawson, Tony Wright from Oracle (software), myself,  Paul Harvey – we’ve all had a long history in cricket and we’re definitely not at a rebel standpoint.”

Cricket Australia plans to launch its Women’s Big Bash T20 League and while the nation’s top players recently received improved contracts Martyn was adamant he offered “additional opportunity” and not “competition” to the governing bodies.

“I strongly believe we have to create a proper product around women’s cricket,” he said. “We genuinely believe we can do what’s been done for women’s golf and tennis with cricket because the quality of the athlete, the quality of the human involved, is unbelievable.”

Sthalekar, who retired as one of the sport’s best players after she helped Australia win the 2013 World Cup, said female players deserved the same opportunity as their male counterparts.

“The males get to play in T20 tournaments around the globe but the girls don’t have that opportunity,” she said. “Cricket Australia is leading the way in the domestic competition where we’ve seen international players come in and there’s also the Women’s Big Bash League they’ve mooted to get up and running.

“We’re proposing a unique, high-performance environment and while we want the best of the best a player from an associate country would play alongside an Ellyse Perry, a Suzie Bates or Charlotte Edwards and that can only be good.”

On Thursday night the 36 players who represented the Breakers during their triumphant decade became the first women’s team honoured at Government House when they were presented with pendants provided by Cricket NSW to commemorate their 10 consecutive WNCL titles.

“Because of that success you are [to young cricketers] their heroes and I know for many of you that title doesn’t sit easily – but you truly are,” said CNSW chairman, John Warn.

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Afghanistan veterans receive hero’s welcome in Brisbane parade

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA – MARCH 21: Crowds watch almost 3000 veterans and families and loved ones of veterans from Operation Slipper march through Brisbane’s CBD on Saturday March 21, 2015 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Michelle Smith/Fairfax Media) Photo: Michelle Smith Six-year-old Lachlan Skillen and dad Shane watch almost 3000 veterans of Operation Slipper march through Brisbane’s CBD on Saturday. Photo: Michelle Smith
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More than 3000 veterans of Australia’s military campaign in Afghanistan were given a hero’s welcome in Brisbane on Saturday morning.

The 14-year military operation resulted in the deaths of 41 ADF members, with hundreds more suffering injuries, both physical and psychological.

The scorn their predecessors who served in Vietnam faced upon their return was nowhere to be seen.

Instead, they were greeted with waving Australian flags and signs expressing a nation’s gratitude.

In one of  a series of such parades held across Australia, the Operation Slipper veterans from all Australia’s defence forces marched though the CBD streets under an overcast sky.

A police spokesman said more than 5000 people lined the streets to watch the returned servicemen and women – and a sheep – march through the city.

The sheep, Stan the Ram, was the mascot for the Enoggera-based 8th/9th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment.

A planned flyover of three RAAF C-17 Globemasters had to be cancelled for operational reasons, believed to be the ongoing aid effort to cyclone-ravaged Vanuatu.

However, two Black Hawk helicopters did provide some aerial support for the troops on the ground.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk attended, along with Governor Paul de Jersey, Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk and federal Attorney-General George Brandis

“I especially want to acknowledge the families with us today, who pay the ultimate sacrifice with the loss of a loved one, killed in action during Operation Slipper,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

Parades were held in every capital city, as well as Townsville, across Australia on Saturday morning.

Operation Slipper began in October 2001 and formally ended on December 31 last year.

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Storm strikes Brisbane

A radar image of the storm cell hitting Brisbane. Photo: Bureau of MeteorologyBrisbane has been drenched by an afternoon storm that saw more than 80 millimetres fall in some parts of south-east Queensland.
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Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Michael Knepp said most of the heaviest rain fell south of the inner-city.

“Slacks Creek had 80 millimetres and we had other places between 70 and 80 (millimetres) in the southern parts of Brisbane,” he said.

“Brisbane itself had 60-odd millimetres and Mt Nebo is up to 86 millimetres.”

But while the heavens opened, there were no reports of destructive wind or hail.

“It was only really rain,” he said.

At 2.20pm, heavy rain was falling in Brisbane’s CBD, reducing visibility and knocking out satellite reception.Captain cook bridge #bnestormpic.twitter南京夜网/1p5hPpdvA3 — Will (@Wilpy1) March 21, 2015

A Queensland Fire and Emergency Service spokeswoman said they had received 13 calls for assistance from people in the Logan area.

The QFES also called for patience if State Emergency Service personnel were required.

“Most SES tasks are not quick jobs, and often extensive work and time is required to attend to storm damage,” it said in a statement.

“The public is asked to remember that the SES is made up of volunteers dedicated to helping others and will always put the safety of its volunteers first during adverse weather conditions.”We regret to advise that today’s Strikers v @brisbaneroar games have been POSTPONED due to heavy rain inundating Perry Park. #PS4NPLQLD — Brisbane Strikers (@BneStrikers) March 21, 2015This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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