Robbie Farah’s future is again at the crossroads after South Sydney began shopping the veteran hooker with a year still remaining on his contract.
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Just a year after his tumultuous exit from Wests Tigers, Farah now finds himself on the outer at Redfern. The 33-year-old signed a two-year deal with Souths after his much-publicised fallout with then-Tigers coach Jason Taylor, but hasn’t been able to recapture his best form at the Rabbitohs.

Farah is one of the highest-paid players in the NRL, although his transfer hasn’t yet hit Souths in the hip pocket. In order to make his arrival possible, the Tigers paid $750,000 of his $950,000 contract for this season. However, there won’t be any subsidy next season and Souths are questioning his value going forward. While there are likely to be denials at Rabbitohs headquarters, several clubs have told Fairfax Media they have been approached about the prospect of taking Farah for next season.

Rabbitohs co-owner Russell Crowe personally involved himself in the pitch to Farah to ensure he made the transition. However, his presence hasn’t been able to help lift South Sydney back into the finals, with the club sitting 11th ahead of Saturday’s clash with minor premiers Melbourne. After having a mortgage on the NSW No.9 jersey for the best part of a decade, he was overlooked this year, with Laurie Daley settling on Nathan Peats after injury cruelled Peter Wallace’s Origin comeback hopes.

Farah has been sharing the hooking duties with Damien Cook for Souths, with coach Michael Maguire alternating between the two in his starting side. Maguire has preferred Cook as the run-on rake in the past four matches, with the club winning the past three.

It remains to be seen whether Farah will be prepared to move on. He has shown he is prepared to dig his heels in when he wasn’t wanted at the Tigers, even when he was threatened with – and ultimately dropped to – reserve grade. Souths are hoping the current situation won’t become as ugly and protracted as that at the joint-venture outfit as they attempt to refresh a roster that has missed the finals for two straight years.

English clubs expressed interest in Farah during his final months at the Tigers and the Super League remains a viable option. However, NRL clubs will likely baulk at his asking price, even if the Rabbitohs pay some of his freight.

Despite Farah’s acrimonious departure from Wests Tigers, he could yet return to the club as he has an arrangement to take up an ambassadorial role once his playing career ends.

Farah was one of the players at the unveiling of Lebanon’s strip for the upcoming Rugby League World Cup at a press call at Zahli restaurant on Tuesday. but declined to take questions on anything other than Lebanon’s preparations for the tournament.

NRL players have contemplated boycotting the World Cup if their pay dispute isn’t resolved, but Farah is hopeful a resolution will be reached.

“I want to be involved in a World Cup, so hopefully it doesn’t get to a boycott, I’m looking forward to representing Lebanon,” Farah said. “I don’t think it will get to that, hopefully it doesn’t. I know both parties are working to a resolution and from all reports they are pretty close.

“If it does come to that, we’ll assess our options but hopefully it doesn’t.

“We are united, the RLPA is doing the best for us as a playing group and we’re doing our best to support them. We’ll cross that bridge if we come to it.”

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Christchurch: Israel Folau has described the Wallabies’ Bledisloe Cup capitulation on Saturday as “quite shocking” and put his hand up for a number of bad defensive reads, despite being one of Australia’s best in attack.
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In one of the most extraordinary halves of rugby seen on Australian shores, the Wallabies had few answers in defence to a rampaging All Blacks attacking outfit, who took a 40-6 lead into half-time.

Despite notching four unanswered tries in the last half-hour of play, the damage was irreparable for the Wallabies, who now have less than a week to turn things around before another showdown with world rugby’s premier side.

“It was quite shocking,” Folau told Fairfax Media. “It was frustrating to see the scoreline like that in the first half.

“Despite the scoreline going into half-time, I still felt like there was not much difference. It was really close, which is quite funny. The second half was a lot better. I thought we started off the game really well and had a few collapses defensively. We’ve had a review of the game and we’ll look to work on those things yesterday, today and through the rest of the week.”

Folau was caught out of position during the All Blacks’ second try, giving 20-year-old Rieko Ioane too much space on New Zealand’s left edge before he ran around and scored.

The Wallabies fullback has accepted responsibility for the miss but, to his credit, he scored a five-pointer himself in the 69th minute and set up a Tevita Kuridrani try with a clever offload while on the ground.

“Myself, I’ll put my hand up for a couple of mistakes and errors defensively,” Folau said. “[There were] a couple of poor reads and simple one-on-one tackles. We’ve identified that as a team and we’ll work as a team and try and fix that.

“There’s areas across the whole line we know we need to work on as quick as we can going into the game.”

Arguably the most recognisable and adored man in Australian rugby at the moment, Folau has implored fans to stick by the team through one of their toughest periods in recent memory.

“The effort throughout the training week and going out there on the paddock, it’s always there,” Folau said. “The result doesn’t show that, but for us players it’s hurting us as well.

“We just hope they [supporters] can stick around and continue to support us. It’s a big thing as a team to get that support from the public and fans and to keep pushing us through, especially for this challenging time.”

There is significant pressure on the Wallabies to give a better account of themselves in Dunedin on Saturday.

At the same time, the All Blacks are bitterly disappointed they conceded four tries in the second half, in a series of uncharacteristic concentration lapses.

No doubt the men in black will be seeking an 80-minute performance, but Folau has stressed the Wallabies need not be too tense heading into a game in which they are trying to save the Bledisloe Cup.

“We’ve got to start well but not take on that kind of pressure that is unnecessary,” Folau said. “If we can go out there relaxed and ready to play and knowing our roles, it’ll make our jobs easier. We’ll learn from that and continue to work on our game.

“Our mentality going out from the start of the game has to be the same.”

Folau said he relished the chance to again start alongside Wallabies No.12 Kurtley Beale, who after a slow introduction found his feet in the second half.

“I enjoyed playing with Kurtley and it’s great to see him back out there in the gold jersey,” Folau said. “I’ve been playing with him for a couple of years now and I feel really comfortable knowing the way he plays and what his role is for the team.

“We try and find opportunities in the game and just feed off each other. It’s something we try and work on during the week, so we’ll continue to do that.”

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‘Wandin Valley Hospital’ for sale Scenes from A Country Practice, featuring the Wandin Valley Hospital.
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Dr Terence Elliott (Shane Porteous) and matron Marta Kurtesz (Helen Scott) outside Wandin Valley Hospital.

The house now.

Nurse Judy Loveday (Wendy Strehlow) looks after her cousin Jo Loveday (Josephine Mitchell) who has contracted typhoid.

Dr. Terence Elliott (Shane Porteous) weds Director of Nursing Rosemary Prior (Maureen Edwards) n a 1987 episode.

Brendan Jones (Shane Withington) and Dr Simon Bowen (Grant Dodwell) in Wandin Valley Hospital.

Jo (Josephine Mitchell) and Shirley (Lorrae Desmond) protest over proposed closure of Wandin Valley Hospital in 1987.

Life without Molly begins for character Brendan Jones in this 1985 episode.

TweetFacebook Wandin Valley Hospital on the marketClare House at Oakville, better known as Wandin Valley Hospital in TV show A Country Practice, is up for auction next month.

The agents said it was only the eighth time in almost two centuries it has been on the market.

The house was a location shoot for the long-running Channel 7 series A Country Practice, from1981-1993, which at its height was said to have been watched by half Australia’s population.

Several buildings around Pitt Town including the Bird in Hand were used in filming, Molly’s house was at Maraylya, Windsor High was the local high school and the Country Practice clinicwas in North Street, Windsor.

Last year what was the Wandin Valley police station in Johnston Street, Pitt Town was sold too.

When the house sold a decade ago, it had been owned bythe O’Briens for nearly 30 years.

Gazette journalist Shannon Tonkin talked to Ron and Trish O’Brien at the time. Theysaid a man appeared on their doorstep in 1981 and said he was doing a story about nursing in the bush.

“In less than six weeks, we had film crews here,” Mrs O’Brien said.

“They only ever took footage of the outside of our house, but we had our fair share of actors and actresses on the property.They’d be here all day filming for hours, and when you saw it on TV there’d only be five or six seconds of our house, but it was great to see it on the screen.”

Mrs O’Brien said many visitors wanted to see ‘inside the Wandin Valley Hospital’.

“Contrary to popular belief, it never was a hospital, it’s always been a home, but we’d have plenty of people knocking at the door asking to see inside,” she said.

The actor who played the show’s character Brendan Jones, Shane Withington, came to Thompson Square in Windsor in December last year to support CAWB’s fight against the new Windsor Bridge plans.

Clare House was built of convict brick on Andrew Thompson’s estateafter whom Thompson Square is named, around 1828.

Now on one hectare of land, it also has a dressage arena and new stables with wash bay and kitchen and bathroom facilities. It’s listed with Hamish Rogers.

It will be auctionedon site at 11am onSaturday,September 30,unless sold before.

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Senator Eric AbetzTasmanian Liberal Senator Eric Abetz says the high level of drug dependency in Burnie makes it an ideal site for a radical newdrug-testing program.
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The federal government from January wants to drug-test up to 5000 new welfare recipients and impose sanctions on those who return positive results.

The two-year trial is planned tostart in south-west Sydney and two other sites,yet to be decided upon.

Labor and the Greens have expressed opposition to the trials which means that the government will need to lobby crossbench senators hard.

An initial positive test means that a welfare recipient will have 80 per cent of their payment placed on a cashless welfare card for two years.

Another failed test would result in a referral for medical treatment.

Senator Abetz saidhe would write to Social Services Minister Christian Porter to see if the program could be rolled out in Tasmanian once the first trial was underway.

“There’s no sense of social justice, any sense of fairness or equity, in allowing people with drug problems to sit on welfare and not seek to help them off drugs and into work,” he said.

“Clearly there are a number of drug dependency issues in the North-West of Tasmania and I believe a pilot site would benefit the community to see if this programme can help Tasmanians come off drugs and find employment.

“Taxpayers want welfare to be a safety net and not a hammock.”

Bass Labor MHR Ross Hart said labelling certain groups as drug users did nothing to solve the underlying problems associated with poor levels of employment or high levels of substance abuse.

“We need to address the causes and not the symptoms,” he said.

Tasmanian Senator Jacqui Lambie said if welfare recipients and workers in the private sector had to be tested, so did politicians.

“These politicians are kidding themselves if they’re saying that drug problems begin and end in Western Sydney,” she said.

“If politicians are going to ask members of the public to be drug tested, it’s fair for the public to ask for politicians to submit to the same treatment.

“What’s there to hide?

“Shouldn’t the public have the same confidence in their elected representatives?”

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At a time when the NRL is desperate for every dollar it can get its hands on to keep clubs and stakeholders happy, how does the Rugby League Players Association’s threat to boycott the Dally M Medal ceremony punish the governing body?
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Fairfax Media understands the NRL has budgeted $500,000 for the awards night at the Star on September 27, but they’ll be laughing all the way to the bank should the RLPA follow through with its mooted boycott.

What better way to stick it up Todd Greenberg and co than saving them the half-million they were planning on forking out for the players to celebrate their achievements over the season.

Who would this action actually punish? The 1000 fans from all clubs that have been invited to attend the night of nights?

Cameron Smith, the president of the players’ association, who is expected to be crowned the runaway winner of the award?

The game’s broadcaster, Fox Sports, whose $1 billion contribution to the sport over the next five years is the main reason why the players stand to receive a 52 per cent increase in pay by 2022?

The wives and girlfriends of the players, sponsors and corporate partners, who will miss out on attending the game’s night of nights?

The RLPA has done a fantastic job in negotiating the offer now on the table from the NRL. But nonsense about boycotting the Dally M, the captain’s call during the finals and World Cup just doesn’t reflect well on the players.

The sad part for the RLPA is there are people inside League Central who find the Dally M threat beneficial to their cause. The NRL is aware there is a chance the players pull the pin and are waiting before making arrangements, such as entertainment, that would leave them out of pocket.

Remember, the NRL recently had a $30 million loan application rejected and is still trying to work out how it is going to fund the clubs because of a cash flow issue. We’re tipping the $500,000 they never budgeted on would come in handy.

New dawn for Lolohea

Wests Tigers five-eighth Tuimoala Lolohea has admitted he “drowned his sorrows” in alcohol during his final months at the Warriors as a way to deal with frustrations over a lack of opportunity across the ditch.

Lolohea, who will shift to fullback next season to accommodate the arrival of Josh Reynolds at five-eighth, has shown glimpses of brilliance as he finds his feet at the Tigers.

The 22-year-old, who has shed six kilograms since linking with Ivan Cleary and the Wests Tigers mid season, has revealed the level of unhappiness during his last days at the Warriors where he was forced to play on the wing in NSW Cup. “I got to a point where I felt that just wasn’t me,” Lolohea said.

New dawn: Lolohea says he turned to alcohol at the Warriors, but hasn’t had to rely on it since joining the Tigers. Photo: Melissa Adams

“I had enough of playing on the wing. I never played on the wing growing up but they chucked me on the wing and first grade and had to stay there. I got the opportunity here to get more involved here and I feel like I’m playing some good footy.

“I was overweight. I was unhappy. I was struggling. Playing reserve grade on the wing probably didn’t help. I was off it a little bit. I’ve lost six kilograms since coming here and each week I’m feeling better on the field. In the first month at the Tigers I was struggling and my weight had a lot to do with it.”

He admitted he turned to alcohol to help him deal with the emotional rollercoaster while at the Warriors, but hasn’t had to rely on it since joining the Tigers.

“I was going through some pretty tough times back home. All the alcohol … all the little stuff it got to me,” Lolohea said. “I was drowning my sorrows in it to be honest. But I’ve been pretty good over here. The things I used to do back home, I don’t do over here. I’m fully focused on my footy here.”

Fittler’s challenge

We all know Brad Fittler lives life differently to most. So if you drive past him in the streets and hear some Arabic music blaring from his car, don’t be alarmed. The Lebanon coach has taken it upon himself to learn the national anthem of the team he will be coaching at this year’s rugby league world cup.

Not satisfied with learning the anthem himself, he’s ordered all his players, including Robbie Farah, Michael Lichaa, Tim Mannah and Mitchell Moses, to learn the anthem by the time the world cup rolls around at the end of October. “He’s told me he’s listening to the Lebanon national anthem in his car and learning that, so on game day he’s ready to go,” Lebanon assistant coach Luke Burt said. “I’m struggling, but he’s told me I have to learn it as well. I’ll keep working on it.”

Hopes pinned on Wallace

Peter Wallace is one tough player. Not that he needs to prove that after playing through the pain of a ruptured testicle during a State of Origin game. He had a pin inserted into his hand to repair a knuckle injury a week ago and his coach is expecting him to play this weekend against the Dragons in a match that will make or break Penrith’s top four hopes. “He’ll almost certainly play,” Anthony Griffin said. “He’s just one of those tough competitors. He’s very resilient. He’s got full strength back in his hand and as far as he is concerned he’s playing.”

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