Australian coach Darren Lehmann concedes his team faces a challenge in its preparation for the first Test against Bangladesh starting on Sunday in Dhaka after its only tour match was washed out.
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The Australians were due to play a two-day match against a Bangladesh Cricket Board XI in Fatullah on Tuesday and Wednesday but following an inspection on Monday, the venue was deemed unplayable after contaminated water flooded the ground in recent weeks.

The BCB are understood to have proposed alternative venues for the match, however Cricket Australia’s carefully planned security operations in the subcontinent made late rearrangement a difficult proposition.

Lehmann said it was a shame the tour match would not eventuate.

“The Bangladesh Cricket Board have been fantastic in trying to get us a game, and obviously the amount of rain they’ve had, that can’t be helped,” Lehmann said on Monday.

“[The] BCB and CA worked as hard as they could to try to get the game up.

“You’d love to have it, but at the end of the day, we just can’t play on the ground.

“[It’s] obviously a shame for both sides.

“That’s the challenge for us to get ready.”

Lehmann also said his thoughts were with members of the Bangladeshi public who had been affected by the monsoonal weather.

Captain Steve Smith had played down the importance of the tour match before the squad’s departure last week, which had followed a pre-tour camp in Darwin which included a three-day intra-squad match.

Lehmann said that despite the lack of match practice, the tourists were prepared to take on the Tigers, who have never beaten Australia in Test cricket. “You can’t control the weather,” he said.

“We’re ready to go, it’s just a case of fine-tuning our skills in the nets available and what we can get out of that.

“Fingers crossed we can get the ground up here and play a great Test series against a quality side at home.

“We’re pretty settled in where we want to go.”

The tourists had a lengthy net session on Sunday but their plans were halted by rain on Monday. Wet weather is forecast for all five days of the first Test.

Meanwhile Lehmann reiterated that Australia were likely to play two spinners in the first Test, although noted he hadn’t yet seen the pitch.

In the event Australia select two spinners, it is expected off-spinner Nathan Lyon will be accompanied by left-armer Ashton Agar, who got the nod for the tour ahead of Steve O’Keefe and Jon Holland. Uncapped leg-spinner Mitchell Swepson is another option.

The second Test in Chittagong begins on September 4. The series marks Australia’s first international matches since the resolution of the pay dispute between CA and the Australian Cricketers Association.

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SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – JUNE 14: It’s a dark for Channel Ten as the network announces it is entering voluntary administration on June 14, 2017 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Jessica Hromas/Fairfax Media)Oh the irony – the Murdochs wanting Australian media ownership laws changed has become the biggest hurdle to changing Australian media ownership laws.
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In a decade of grubby politics, there’s something particularly tawdry about the Turnbull government being so keen to curry favour with the Murdoch empire that it was willing to acquiesce to demands from Pauline Hanson’s One Nation to whip, embarrass and damage the ABC.

It’s a sad and desperate day when Australia’s government is prepared to share a tinfoil hat with the One Nation flat earthers in forcing the national broadcaster to provide “balanced” coverage of anti-vaxers and give equal weight to the small minority of climate change denialists.

And for what? To grant the Murdoch family clearer title to what they’ve already had – control of radio stations, subscription television, most of the nation’s newspapers and a television network, albeit by the backdoor and around various corners in the case of Ten.

If the government was interested in media ownership reform on its own merits, it could unbundle the two legs of the legislation that just failed to get up and one would pass without too much difficulty – scrapping the current 75 per cent cap on a television network’s national audience reach.

With free-to-air television under attack from streaming services, allowing a national network to be national is a no-brainer. That wouldn’t be seen as doing the Murdochs a particular favour and, therefore, could win agreement from Labor, never mind the Senate cross bench. The ultimate goal

But that’s not the leg most dear to the Murdochs, or the other major media companies, including Fairfax Media. They want the two-out-of-three rule abolished, allowing a single entity to own print, radio and television assets in a capital city market.

There are allegations that Labor types concede behind closed doors that the two-out-of-three rule is out of date and irrelevant when multinational internet giants are destroying traditional media’s revenue faster than the legacy operators can cut costs. But because Murdoch so clearly wants the change and is the main force in pushing it, Labor can’t agree to it. The Murdoch media’s consistent attacks on the Labor Party have come at a price.

It’s no surprise that the Murdoch national paper billed the failure of the media laws as a disaster for Ten.

“Senate deadlock cuts Ten Network’s rescue hopes” headlined the Australian.

“Hundreds of staff and thousands of shareholders are hoping for a series of competitive bids from local companies and foreign investors to help the company trade its way out of debt.”

Which is pure poppycock. The shareholders have done their dough regardless. The best hope for staff is that someone doesn’t pay too much for it and therefore will be able to run the thing at a profit.

There will always be a certain lingering interest about the timing of the Ten receivership, precipitated by Lachlan Murdoch and Bruce Gordon, coinciding with the Senate considering the media ownership laws.

For the Murdochs, being allowed open ownership slather appears more about the exercise of power than money. For the other media companies that have formed a cheer squad, the motives are less obvious.

Dropping the 75 per cent television reach rule would result in a flurry of consolidation in the sector, to the joy of the owners selling out and the investment bankers and lawyers who getting a slice of it. Takeover talk overblown

Contrary to plenty of speculation, dropping the two-out-of-three rule is much less likely to promote a takeover frenzy.

Oh the investment bankers will talk it up but, quite simply, there’s little to be financially gained by putting together a newspaper and a television station.

Their “content” is not easily shared. As someone who has worked in newspapers, radio and television, I can assure you they are very different beasts.

The golden era of Kerry Packer’s media empire saw successful cross-promotion of television and magazines, but the world has moved on from getting much out of having your own TV personality on the front page of the Women’s Weekly.

Offering a package for advertisers “across multiple channels” is a clich?? that offers marginal benefit by adding one more medium in a bundle. Semi-competent media buyers should be capable of tailoring and targeting their clients’ spend more precisely in a buyers’ market.

The executive talent required to run print or television successfully is rare; to run both of them, non-existent.

The unceasingly drive to cut costs could achieve more across the same medium – the ACCC allowing – than across different media.

Murdoch aside, the legacy operators live in hope that “something” might turn up, that some good might evolve from an unimpeded media market. With Google and Facebook eating their lunch – and breakfast and dinner – it’s fair for them to so hope.

For some, there could be the short-term hope of achieving a little “shareholder value” by being taken over. Take the money and run.

The last media ownership law overhaul saw that happen with the three commercial television networks all changing hands as Bond, Skase and Lowy blew fortunes. And they were the good old days. There’s no sign of them returning.

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An image from the federal government’s anti-tax avoidance advertising campaign.The Turnbull government has conceded average Australians and small business operators think the tax system is stacked against them, revealing it has spent $8.1 million on a new advertising campaign.
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Labor has criticised the tax integrity advertising push, which has seen national TV, radio, newspaper and online marketing about moves to penalise large multinational corporations that move undeclared profits overseas, the creation of a new tax avoidance taskforce and anti-avoidance measures.

It comes after research showed punters had no idea what the government was doing to fix the problems.

Shadow assistant treasurer Andrew Leigh labelled the campaign budget wasteful and called on the Coalition to back Labor’s plans to close tax loopholes being used by big businesses today.

Information provided to a Senate estimates committee shows the advertising campaign cost $4.2 million in the 2016-17 financial year, and $3.9 million in 2017-18.

Under slogans including “Earned here, taxed here – new corporate tax laws”, the campaigns are linked to the government’s stand alone website.

Department of Finance officials told the committee the purpose of the campaign was to communicate to the Australian community and small businesses the extent of the Turnbull government’s tax integrity and multinational tax avoidance measures.

“Research has shown the general population and small businesses indicated that the tax system was seen to be structured so that multinationals and big businesses were not contributing their fair share, meaning that the population and small business were taking on an unfair burden,” officials told the committee.

“The research also indicated there was little or no knowledge of the government’s tax integrity measures.”

Officials said the advertising spending complied with government guidances designed to prevent taxpayers footing the bill for political content and special measures were in place to communicate with culturally and linguistically diverse Australians and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander audiences.

Supplementing the advertising spend are federal government media releases on the passage of multinational anti-avoidance laws and the penalty 40 per cent diverted profits tax.

Dr Leigh said action was needed to address rising inequality and growing government debt, not more government advertising.

“These results are unsurprising – for too long, dodgy multinationals have been exploiting the loopholes in Australia’s tax system and getting away with not paying their fair share,” he said.

“Instead of wasting millions of dollars trying to buy credibility for its tax reforms, the Turnbull government should get on board with Labor’s plans to close these loopholes and make big business toe the line.

“We want public reporting of country-by-country reports and protection for whistleblowers who uncover tax dodging by multinationals.”

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Urgent action is needed to fix the nation’s energy market “catastrophe” or the economy risked blackouts, business closures and job losses, the boss of manufacturing heavyweight BlueScope has warned.

“Six months ago, at our half-year results presentation, I warned of an imminent energy supply catastrophe. This catastrophe is now happening,” BlueScope chief executive Paul O’Malley said on Monday.

A predicted near doubling in BlueScope’s energy costs was one of the key reasons for a softer-than-expected outlook, which prompted investors to tear 21.76 per cent from the steel maker’s share price on Monday.

BlueScope predicted its underlying earnings would drop 20 per cent in the current half compared to the second half of the 2017 financial year as its energy bill increased to an estimated $145 million, or 75 per cent, between 2016 and 2018.

Mr O’Malley said the solutions to the crisis were “simple” – the existing baseload fleet, especially coal-fired stations, needed to be kept running until there was a renewable energy equivalent and more gas needed to be made available for domestic use.

“We have a very fragile baseload mix, We must maintain that baseload energy that we have today or we will have more blackouts, more businesses will fold because of higher energy costs, jobs will go with it,” said Mr O’Malley whose retirement at the end of this year was also announced on Monday.

The problem was that there was no incentive for coal-fired power station owners to invest in their plants when policy could change quickly that would see that investment wiped out, he said.

“Every bit of energy policy over the past 10 years has been aimed at penalising our baseload plants. Incentivising baseload to shut is just plain stupid, incentivising baseload to stay open is absolutely essential.”

He said prices in the wholesale electricity market had spiked sharply since the closure of the Hazelwood coal-fired station in Victoria.

“The economic cost to the country of getting our baseload incentives wrong has been awful and getting higher,” he said.

Mr O’Malley said payments needed to be put in place to keep baseload plants operating until renewable energy alternatives were available for at least the next 10 years.

In a statement federal Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg said the government understood that baseload power “anchors our electricity system”.

“That is why we have tasked the Australian Energy Market Operator to identify the future baseload power needs of the grid, particularly in light of the scheduled closure of Liddell [power station\ in 2022.”

Mr O’Malley said there also needed to be more done to boost production of local gas and failing that then interventions should be made to divert gas from export towards domestic uses.

“Australia and its consumers must come first,” Mr O’Malley said.

The company also revealed that it is under investigation by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission for potential cartel conduct.

The investigation relates to the supply of steel products in Australia and “involved a small number of BlueScope employees” and Mr O’Malley said the company was co-operating with the ACCC.

“BlueScope is committed to competing fairly and complying with all laws that apply to our operations but in the view that we need to be absolutely transparent with the market we have called this issue out,” he said.

Mr O’Malley declined to comment when asked if BlueScope had immunity as part of the investigation or whether it had self-reported to the ACCC.

Underlying profit rose 112 per cent to $650.8 million, based mainly on cost cutting. However, the result was below market forecasts of $682 million.

Its final dividend of 5?? a share was also below market forecasts for 7??.

However, BlueScope said it would return a further $150 million to shareholders through an on-market share buyback.

Mr O’Malley will be replaced by the head of the company’s Australian arm, Mark Vassella.

with Reuters

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Schools are moving away from paper and pen NAPLAN tests. Students in NSW will not sit NAPLAN tests online until schools are confident they are ready to move from pen and paper, according to the Education Minister Rob Stokes, who said he supported the use of handwriting in exams and was “very aware” of the concerns of teachers.
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Mr Stokes’ comments come as the NSW Teachers Federation began collecting feedback from teachers and principals about the school readiness tests, which are under way in thousands of schools across NSW to assess whether schools will be in a position to move to online NAPLAN testing from next year.

The federation’s vice president, Denis Fitzgerald, said the organisation had been receiving complaints since the practice tests began last week. They run until September 22.

The responses, which cannot be anonymous to ensure they can be verified, include complaints of schools not having enough computers, unreliable Wi-Fi and the disruption to classes.

“In an academic class not one student preferred the online method to the paper method of NAPLAN delivery, which I found very surprising,” one response said.

Another said: “We do not have enough computers to allow all students to sit the test simultaneously. This will increase the already considerable disruption to the school and calls into question the legitimacy of the test if students can talk to others who have yet to complete the tests.”

Mr Fitzgerald said the public school system was not in a position to replace pen and paper tests with an online version.

“NAPLAN online is not a feasible proposition for many years, if at all,” Mr Fitzgerald said.

“There is no doubt that NSW is not yet ready to run NAPLAN online and it has the clear prospect of exacerbating inequality in NSW schools.”

But data collected by the NSW Department of Education show that the students who sat the school readiness test last week reported that they liked doing it on a computer. Of the 12,500 responses from students, more than 77 per cent were positive.

A spokeswoman for the department said there had been “no major issues” so far.

“The point of a readiness test is to flush out any problems before we make the move to formal online assessment of our students. We anticipate that in the readiness test, problems will occur. We want problems to happen now so that we can prevent them happening when the real testing begins,” the spokeswoman said.

Mr Stokes said NSW would not be moving to NAPLAN online until all problems and issues had been dealt with.

“All states and territories are committed to participating in proceeding with NAPLAN online as a condition of Commonwealth funding,” Mr Stokes said.

“However, I am very aware of the concerns of teachers regarding the practicalities of participation in this online program. I am also very supportive of the role of handwriting in undertaking tests.

“Effectively, we won’t be proceeding to online testing until all concerns expressed by teachers and schools are resolved and all risks are addressed.”

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Serena Williams during the women’s singles final at the 2017 Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne. Photo: APSerena Williams, the tennis player frequently referred to as “the #goat”, has opened up to Vogue about how she worries her “game face” may be misinterpreted.
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“I feel like people think I’m mean,” she said. “Really tough and really mean and really street. I believe that the other girls in the locker room will say, ‘Serena’s really nice.’ But Maria Sharapova, who might not talk to anybody, might be perceived by the public as nicer. Why is that? Because I’m black and so I look mean? That’s the society we live in. That’s life. They say African-Americans have to be twice as good, especially women. I’m perfectly OK with having to be twice as good.”

In an ironic, and depressing, turn of events, her feelings about race and experiences on the women’s circuit have been twisted by a British tabloid to claim Williams was speaking directly about an alleged feud with Sharapova.

The Daily Star interpreted her nuanced thoughts as: “Maria Sharapova slammed by Serena Williams AGAIN: ‘I’m twice as good as her’ “.

The report went on to read: “Williams lashed out at her Russian rival as she bemoaned the perception that she’s mean, saying it was down to race. ‘I feel like people think I’m mean,’ the 35-year-old said. ‘Really tough and really mean and really street’.”

The internet was not having it. Here’s what Serena ACTUALLY said: “They say African-Americans have to be twice as good, especially women”

Here’s what Serena ACTUALLY said: “They say African-Americans have to be twice as good, especially women”Here’s what the Daily Star heard:

— victoria sanusi ?? (@victoriasanusi) August 19, 2017Maria Sharapova slammed by Serena Williams AGAIN: ‘I’m twice as good as her’南京夜网/wpY4HMrUz9

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Downstream of the Berrima Coal mine. Photo: Ian WrightThe paucity of independent monitoring of waste water from coal mines in NSW is leaving communities exposed to decades of pollution, long after mining operations have ceased, Ian Wright, a leading water ecologist, said.
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Dr Wright, a senior lecturer at Western Sydney University, found discharges from the Berrima Coal mine, which owner Boral closed after more than a century of operations in 2013, had high concentrations of manganese, zinc and nickel that are hazardous to aquatic ecosystems.

“The impact on the Wingecarribee River biodiversity down-stream of the [Berrima] mine is greater than has been observed in mine drainage from any other Australian coal mine and is very high on an international comparison,” Dr Wright said in a submission about the proposed Hume Coal mine for the Berrima region.

Dr Wright told Fairfax Media that contaminants had at least trebled since the mine’s closure. Similar post-closure pollution has been evident from other mines, such as the Canyon Colliery in the Grose Valley.

“Berrima is a reminder of what’s ahead of us,” Dr Wright said. “The EPA regulates this mine but it’s completely ineffective, when it was operating and now when it’s closed.”

The impact from existing or abandoned coal mines is increasing, according the 2016 audit of Sydney’s water catchment. Water quality in Lake Burragorang, the city’s biggest reservoir, declined for key salinity, nitrogen and other measures since the previous report three years earlier.

Boral was monitoring pollution levels near the mine but also about 6 kilometres downstream, too far to get an accurate picture of Berrima’s pollution because other streams join the river in between.

“We will now consider [Dr Wright’s] findings but note that from our initial review, they do not appear to accord with other monitoring conducted downstream of his sampling points and as a result, will likely contradict other recent independent research commissioned by Boral,” a company spokeswoman said.

Dr Wright said similar problems were evident in the Blue Mountains, where WaterNSW had no sites monitoring water close to the Springvale mine near Lithgow nor four others that had closed nearby. The data used by the 2016 audit was sourced 100 km/h downstream, he said.

Discharges from all those mines, including Berrima, end up in Lake Burragorang.

“I’m not impressed by the lack of independent scientific data,” Dr Wright said. “WaterNSW should be sampling above and below every discharge point of major pollution.”

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A dejected Australia during game 1 of the Bledisloe Cup between the Australian Wallabies and the New Zealand All Blacks at ANZ Stadium in Sydney, Australia, Saturday, August 19, 2017. (AAP Image/Dean Lewins) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLYChristchurch: Wallabies defence coach Nathan Grey has taken responsibility for Australia’s inept showing on the weekend, saying it “stings” knowing his men conceded 54 points in the opening 48 minutes, but insists he believes he is the right man to help them out of their troubles.
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Grey is public enemy No.1 among rugby fans after the Wallabies leaked eight tries against the All Blacks, making the task of regaining the Bledisloe Cup incredibly difficult with a game this weekend in Dunedin.

“We’re not shying away from [the fact] that we weren’t great,” Grey said. “We were poor in that area and we’ve got to be better.

“It stings mate. It’s not great. It’s difficult. Against any opposition, but New Zealand in particular, you have to make sure you’re 100 per cent right. You can’t afford to be five or 10 per cent off and we probably were.

“Clearly I am the defensive coach so in terms of my brief, that’s something I have to look after and drive that, but it’s a collective team effort in everything we do.

“[I’m] very confident [I am the right man moving forward]. I love working with the players and with the coaches and being part of that group. At the moment from a defensive perspective things certainly need to improve and we are looking to do that this week.”

At the same time, as another assistant in Stephen Larkham alluded to on Sunday, the Wallabies believe there are positives to take from Saturday’s 20-point defeat from a defensive perspective.

They do accept there cannot be a repeat performance, but they need to find consistency or run the risk of being thumped again.

“In terms of fixing issues, we are searching for consistency and sticking to what we can try and do and if we do that we can apply pressure,” Grey said. “We showed that in fits and starts but nowhere near the level we wanted.

“Certainly some areas in the game we were able defensively to put them under some pressure and force a couple of turnovers and get a few tries. There’s certainly some positives from that perspective.

“Against quality opposition you just can’t provide little opportunities and little errors here and there because good teams capitalise on it and New Zealand did that quite well.”

Australia’s success at the 2015 World Cup was built on the foundations of tough defence but since then teams have improved in that department while the Wallabies appear to have fallen off a cliff, having conceded 132 points this year from four starts against mostly average opposition.

Grey acknowledged defence strategies had changed significantly since the World Cup and that it was up to the Wallabies to evolve or run the risk of being left behind.

“In terms of what’s different between now and then, it’s chalk and cheese,” Grey said. “Players are different, the way we are doing things are slightly different. You can’t look back and say ‘that was really great, why isn’t it happening now?’ You have to look forward and see what is happening at the moment. It hasn’t been great.

“If you are trying to defend the same way you were in 2015, you know you are going to come unstuck. Teams are constantly looking to change things and pull defences apart, as we are too. The game is constantly changing and you have to evolve.”

Asked whether players’ confidence had taken a battering after the one-sided result, Grey replied: “No, they haven’t been wounded. It’s a matter of looking where we can improve things. The guys are resilient, they’re professional football players. They go through situations where they see things go wrong.”

Grey said winger Dane Haylett-Petty would be “in the mix” for selection after missing Saturday’s match with a torn bicep.

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North Melbourne’s ability to land a major recruiting blow will play a pivotal role in Brad Scott’s future at the club.
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With Richmond on Monday still in the dark regarding Dustin Martin’s future, and Greater Western Sydney hopeful but not certain young star Josh Kelly will remain, it is now clear that the Kangaroos and their coach since 2010 will reassess his future should neither star midfielder come to Arden St.

In the event that the Kangaroos land at least one of the pair on a long-term contract, Scott, contracted until the end of 2018, will almost certainly receive a long-term extension. If not, he could leave the club and seek opportunities elsewhere in what would be an amicable departure.

Should the Kangaroos fail to lure Kelly or Martin, the club will continue a full-scale rebuild that has begun with 10 debutants this year. The question remains whether Scott would remain to oversee that rebuild.

If he was to leave, Scott would have the opportunity to pursue the vacant role at the Gold Coast Suns and potentially Collingwood, should the latter open up after the Pies hold a Tuesday board meeting to discuss Nathan Buckley’s future.

The Roos have won only eight of their past 35 matches since opening the 2016 season with nine-straight wins. Scott has said a decision won’t be made until after the end-of-season review.

Brownlow Medal favourites Kelly and Martin are on the cusp of finals campaigns, with their management maintaining a call won’t be made until the end of the season.

Martin’s manager Ralph Carr told Fairfax Media last month that could be as early as next week during the pre-finals bye. There was strong speculation on Monday night that Martin was set to visit his father Shane in New Zealand next week and would then make a call on his future. He had visited his father, a former Rebels motorcycle club president deported to his native country after he had his visa cancelled, during the mid-season bye this season.

Martin would return home to Melbourne with more than a week left to prepare for the Tigers’ return to the finals. Carr and the Tigers did not return calls.

The Kangaroos are after greater midfield depth and a marquee name to help sell the club.

Their hopes of doing that could be helped by losing to Brisbane on Saturday, thereby finishing at the foot of the ladder and having the No.1 picks in the national and pre-season drafts.

Both teams have five wins apiece, with defeat for the Roos confirming their first wooden spoon since 1972 when they had only the one win.

Martin is a restricted free agent, so the Tigers could match any offer from the Roos. Industry figures maintain the Tigers should be the first club to do that, if required, for they are in their “premiership window”. As of Monday, the Tigers remained uncertain about Martin’s future, with the prevailing view that if his decision is based solely on money, he will leave.

The Roos have offered Martin a six-year deal and have the salary-cap space to stretch his annual salary beyond the $1.2 million the Tigers have tabled.

Kelly, whose father Phil played for North in the 1980s, has been offered a nine-year, $9 million offer by the Kangaroos. Carlton and St Kilda are also chasing him.

If the Roos retain the top pick in the draft, Western Jets midfielder-forward Cameron Rayner has been touted as the top talent – and similar to Martin in his on-field traits. Bendigo Pioneers midfielder Paddy Dow and Dandenong Stingrays midfielder Luke Davies-Uniake have also been tipped as No.1 picks.

The Kangaroos maintain they will head to the Gabba determined to win – despite the potential benefits of losing.

“Do I need to say it again and again and again, every single week? Yes, we are desperate to win,” Scott said after the loss to St Kilda on Sunday.

“What we are trying to do is set a platform for the future and that doesn’t come through one draft pick or another. It comes through setting the standards you want everyone to adhere to; a level of competitiveness that is infectious throughout the club.

“I firmly believe that if you think you can manipulate things to try and get a slightly better player than another, then that will come back to bite you at some point, if not in the short term, definitely in the long term.

“The difference between, what is it, pick one and pick four? It’s going to be a good player, it’s going to be a very good player ??? we value the competitiveness and the values of our football club much higher than three differences in the draft.”

That the Roos have lost six matches by less than three goals this season has been seen as a sign they could quickly vault up the ladder in 2018.

They have several list-management decisions to make, for veterans Jarrad Waite, Lachie Hansen and Scott Thompson, the latter set to play his 200th game, are among those facing uncertain futures.

Ruckman Todd Goldstein, who has been battling form and personal issues, has two years remaining on his contract but could yet part ways should there be rival interest. Braydon Preuss is seen as being ready to step into the No.1 role.

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A dejected Australia during game 1 of the Bledisloe Cup between the Australian Wallabies and the New Zealand All Blacks at ANZ Stadium in Sydney, Australia, Saturday, August 19, 2017. (AAP Image/Dean Lewins) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLYChristchurch: The Wallabies don’t usually spend a full week in New Zealand before a Test match but after what happened on the weekend, now is the perfect time for players to get away from Australia and clear their minds.
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In the aftermath of the Wallabies’ 54-34 defeat to the All Blacks in Sydney, players have taken the loss hard given there was genuine optimism going into the first Test of what is now a non-interrupted international season.

The Wallabies have opted to set up base in Christchurch, four and a half hours drive north of Dunedin, the venue for Saturday’s second Bledisloe Cup Test.

Christchurch is a dilapidated city, still recovering from the devastating earthquakes of 2011.

Hence, the squad will relish a few days of solace and some time to begin soul-searching following what was arguably the side’s toughest game for several years.

Daggers are not just being thrown at the Wallabies from disgruntled fans but also by a number of New Zealand media outlets.

Chris Rattue from the New Zealand Herald has called for “hopeless” coach Michael Cheika to be sacked.

“The Australian coach has an aggressive demeanour and talks a good game, but the results – particularly against the big guns – are pretty hopeless and don’t appear to have any upward swing involved,” Rattue wrote.

The solution being put forward is for a New Zealander to coach the Wallabies, something that even given the state of the game in Australia, would not sit well with the fans who pay their money. Or would it?

It is not just Cheika who is being hounded but also defence coach Nathan Grey, except by Australia rugby lovers who cannot get their head around why the Wallabies have gone backwards since the World Cup.

For as much as the keyboard warriors are angry the Wallabies conceded try after try on Saturday at ANZ Stadium, Kiwi fans are equally as filthy that their team was so meek in the second half.

Here’s a statistic that might boost the Wallabies’ spirits a little.

The All Blacks have conceded more than 34 points just twice in their last 167 matches.

Speaking to a taxi driver shortly after arriving at Christchurch airport, it was obvious he was more frustrated at the All Blacks’ poor defensive effort in the second half than the overall result.

If a casual rugby fan was as annoyed about that, imagine how the All Blacks are feeling about it.

Some say New Zealand took their foot off the gas but such is the All Blacks mindset they will be upset they did not put 70 points on the Wallabies.

The message out of Wallabies camp will be that the focus has to be on themselves, not on the All Blacks and their capabilities in front of a home crowd.

Human nature says players’ confidence will be shattered. After a month-long preparation, where we were told they were as fit as ever, all the Wallabies have to show for it is the cold shoulder from a large portion of supporters.

The Wallabies could, however, be motivated by fear. Countless people have laid the boot in after the weekend’s result and one can only imagine what will happen if Australia front up at Forsyth Barr Stadium without their head in the game.

And then there is the actual goal of trying to save the Bledisloe Cup.

No doubt Cheika will continue to back his men in public and argue the Wallabies can come away from New Zealand with a win, but it will be interesting to see if players are as bold with their statements given the cracks that were exposed in Sydney.

Some bookies have the Wallabies at the incredible odds of $13 compared to the All Blacks at $1.02.

All the talk has not been on who, but how many.

Australia has lost its last 20 matches on New Zealand soil and the last time they tasted success there was in 2001 in Dunedin.

The Australian public is sick of hearing explanations from the Wallabies about why they are not up to scratch but the simple fact is this: a win in Dunedin would completely change the narrative of this year.

The Wallabies have five days in the cold of enemy territory to conjure up something special.

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