New pop-up on Darby

EXCITING: MEET Restaurant at Honeysuckle has joined the pop-up game by opening The Chop Shop at Darby Street Automotive Services. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers
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What do a mechanic and Brazilian street food have in common? Nothing, really –until last Friday, that is, when MEET Restaurant Honeysuckle launchedThe Chop Shop at Darby Street Automotive Services.

The MEET food truck will serve authentic Brazilian street food at 67-79 Darby Street, Newcastle, on Fridays from 6pm. On Saturdays and Sundays it is open from 9am to 3pm, and 5pm to 9pm.

On the menu? Gourmet toasties –thinksmoked brisket, jalapeno, cheeseand bacon jam and a side of pickles; or BBQ vegetable, cheese and chimichurri –as well asspit-roasted meats.

“We were always fond of the idea of doing different street foodand this environment allows us to get a bit more creative with our menu,” MEET co-owner Mitchell Steel said.

“There will be times when we have prior commitments and may not be available every weekend, though, so there may be opportunities for other vendors to jump in and see what this creative space has to offer.”

On the moveChef Jamie Thomas has moved on from The Family Hotel in Newcastle West and opened Winnie’s Jamaican at Finnegan’s Hotel. He also has his finger in the pie at Town Hall Bistro, where his business partner Luke Smith is serving modern English cuisine to punters who can’t get enough of his lamb’s fry, ox tongue and offal dishes.

Thomas was executive chef at Drink’n’Dine in Sydney for five years and in charge ofall six of their restaurants, including Jamaican joint Queenies.

“I sold my shares in the Familyand it was all amicable. Jamaican ismy favourite food to cook and I love the whole vibe. The first week at Winnie’s went really well, especially the lunches, and we got great feedback. But I’m under no real pressure, I’m just taking my time getting it off the ground.”

Changes at StarThe Star Hotel has a new winter menu which is described as “smart casual” and “simple food done well”. Highlights include a choice of five burgers with salads, grazing plates, four pizzas and mains like crispy pork belly and 12-hour braised beef cheeks.Meal deals are still on offer throughout the week as well as an ever-changing $10 lunch menu–this week it’s pumpkin soup; bacon, chilli and spinach fettucine; beef stroganoff;and a Moroccan chicken burger.

Feeling Lucky?Time is running out to take advantage of the Lucky Hotel’s school holiday deal –purchase any main meal for lunch between Monday and Wednesday and receive a “Kids Meal” and ice-cream dessert for free.

Winning winesHerald wine writer John Lewis says Pokolbin’s winning Brisbane Wine Show wines are now available for sale: McWilliam’s Mount Pleasant 2009 Lovedale Vineyard Hunter Semillon, best mature white and best semillon, $90at Marrowbone Road winery, mountpleasantwines南京夜网.auand in shops;McWilliam’s Riverina-sourced Hanwood EstateTouriga, $25 at mcwilliamscellar南京夜网.au,in wine stores and at Hanwood Estate cellar door;and Poole’s Rock 2016 Tasmania Pinot Noir, best pinot noir, $45 at poolesrock南京夜网.au, at 576 De Beyers Roadand in wine stores.

Family Food FightChannel Nine is working on new prime-time cooking competitionFamily Food Fight, wheresix food-loving families from across the country will go head-to-head in the kitchen in a quest to find Australia’s top food family. Chef and restaurateur Matt Moran, pastry chef Anna Polyviou and Hayden Quinn will be the judges, with food writer and critic Tom Parker Bowles appearing as a guest judge.

Street food buzzThe Beehive at Honeysuckle has introduced Street Nights by the City’s Lights on Friday and Saturday nights, 5pm until late. Ten international street dishes will be on the menu for $10 a plate.

Christmas tapasFernleigh Cafe is feeling festive. This month they will be serving tapas with a Christmas in July theme – think coconut sugar pork skewers; slow-roasted Kleftico lamb with skordalia; and rum balls with Tasmanian whisky custard and chocolate bark. The cost is $45 per person (BYO, no corkage) and tickets are selling fast.

Pasta at SproutIf you haven’t tried Sprout Dining’s $10 pasta menu on a Monday night, you should. Choices include naked squid and scallop fettucini with rocket, garlic and olives dressed with a light tomato cream; chilli, chorizo and pumpkin tagliatelle with Napolitana sauce, confit garlic and Romesco; and pork bolognaise spaghetti with tomato and salsa verde. The children’s menu is free and you can order dessert, too. It’s upstairs at the Crown & Anchor Hotel in Newcastle.

Cravings returnsThe new-look Cravings Restaurant at Hotel Delany is slowly taking shapeand owner Anthony Hird couldn’t be happier with the renovations so far: “We needed it –it’s been eight years since we last renovated and everything was brown. And dark.We are trying to change our demographic by making it more of a gastro-pub but we will keep some of the pub classics.”

He hopes the restaurant will be open for business later this month.

Cheese and wineDe Iuliis Wines willhost a special dining event on Saturday, July 29:Carne e Vino. From 11am to 4.30pm there will be live music, a meat and cheese demonstration, charcuterie lunch and cheese and, of course, wine. Tickets cost $120 ($100 DeWine Club members)by phoning Emma on 4993 8000, or emailing [email protected]南京夜网.au by July 14. Transport is available.

‘I felt like I’d been shot’: First-time mum left paralysed by rare medical defect

A month on from giving birth, Samantha Bulmer’s home is a hospital room. Photo: Jorge BrancoA month on from giving birth, Samantha Bulmer’s home is a hospital room.
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Four white walls and a bathroom, medications, trinkets, a bag in the corner, that bed that goes up and down at the touch of some buttons, a beautiful baby girl and legs that don’t work anymore.

Sometimes the muscles will cramp up, curling her body over, but she can’t feel them or move them.

Her legs clad in sloth-covered pyjama pants, sometimes they make her angry but they don’t do much else, for now at least.

The 32-year-old first-time mum’s birth horror story started on June 7. Numbness spread down her right leg, along with a shooting pain through the stomach carrying little River Lily Harlen, her soon-to-be “miracle baby”.

She didn’t know it at the time but these were the first signs of a rare defect lying dormant in her system, brought on by a pregnancy she didn’t think she would ever have.

Arteriovenousmalformations are a tangle of abnormal blood vessels, which can cause major issues with blood flow through arteries and veins.

According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, about 18 out of 100,000 people have them.

Out of that small number, only four in every 100 suffer a haemorrhage, bringing with it a 15-20 per cent risk of stroke and 30 per cent chance of brain death, with 10 per cent proving fatal.

University of Queensland neurologist Dr Alex Lehn says the location in the body is critical for the impact of an arteriovenousmalformation(AVM).

He says the problem can often go undetected for years and come and go with little or no consequence but can also be catastrophic.

“AVMs are still rare, and troublesome AVMs, the big ones, AVMs that rupture, are very rare,” he says.

Sam’s case is one of those.

As her womb grew larger, it began to pressure an artery, blocking blood flow and creating a pressure build up, which eventually burst, she says, remembering the series of violent incidents she felt in the lead-up to River’s caesarean birth.

“I felt like I’d been shot and I completely collapsed on the floor,” she says, describing the second of five attacks.

“I was screaming.”

The British-born bar staffer, who’s been in Australia for 10 years, was terrified something had happened to River and relieved “in the extreme” when she was given the all-clear.

She says it was the third such incident that left her paralysed, blood vessels bursting and causing swelling around her spine, robbing her of her ability to walk.

Samantha Bulmer is still in hospital because of her shock paralysis. Photo: Jorge Branco

“It’s started to go away but I’m not getting any feeling so it’s most likely the damage is done,” she says.

“When they spoke to me about the results from the MRI… he was telling me you’re not likely to walk again but there’s a chance you can.

“…If I can walk again, I promise I will walk again.”

Sam thought she and partner Elliot Harlen would have moved into their new house by now.

Instead, she’s still in the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, living for Saturdays when the 33-year-old logistics worker comes to visit.

“We bath River together and just do as much with her together as we can and then we just watch a movie. It’s just like being at home,” she says, her face lighting up.

“I forget sometimes that anything’s going on. You’re chatting with each other watching the tele and it’s easy to forget the reality around you.

“I just go back to normal when Elliot’s here.”

Sam says it’s a 40-minute drive each way from Browns Plains after a 12-hour workday for Elliot so a brief Wednesday evening and the extended Saturday are all they can manage.

Hair pulled back, lying back in a pink jumper, Sam is remarkably matter-of-fact, determined, when she talks about her physio, the battle to be able to walk again and care for River.

Samantha Bulmer and daughter River. Photo: Jorge Branco

It’s only when she thinks about what happens if the feeling and movement in her legs never come back that emotion overwhelms her briefly.

“I feel like I can face this and deal with it in my mind temporarily,” she says, eyes shining with tears on the verge of spilling over.

“If it was like one year and you’re going to get better, I feel like I can deal with it.

“But at the moment, I’m struggling with facing it, my whole life, that’s the hardest thing.”

The whole time her mum’s talking, River plays quietly, cooing with the hospital volunteer who comes in most mornings to give mum a break.

“Today she’s just been really fussy, wanting to have cuddles with me. She’s perfect,” Sam says.

From now, it’s about recovery. Sam is hoping for a transfer to the Princess Alexandra Hospital’s dedicated centre but acknowledges months of rehab awaits.

In the meantime,she’s hoping to raise enough money through an online fundraiserto fly family over from England to help support her when she gets out.

Eli teaches rivals a lesson

WINNER: Eli Richardson at the Eastern University Games last week. The former Pacific Dunes trainee won the event to earn a start at the national university games on the Gold Coast in September.Former Pacific Dunes trainee Eli Richardson will head to the Gold Coast in September for the Australian University Games after winning the qualifying tournament last week.
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The 27-year-oldstopped his traineeship two years ago to start a primary school teaching degree at Newcastle University but continues to play weekly competition golf.

He shot 75-75-76-75 at Waratah and Merewether to win the Eastern University Games title by eight shots from University of Technology Sydney’sLachie Robinson.

Wollongong’s James Anderson was another five shots back in third, and Charlestown’s Bryce Pickin, the tournament’s lowhandicapper at -0.3, was fourth.

Richardson,who plays off scratch, was part of Pacific Dunes’ winning A-grade division-two pennant team in March after recovering his amateur status at the end of 2016.He beat Muree’s Peter Gardiner 5&3 in the final.

University games have a reputation for placing as much importance on socialising as sport, but Richardson said the golf tournament was reasonably serious.

“It was pretty good, because there was quite a few low markers who played, a couple of guys from The Australian, so it was a pretty strong field,” he said.

“It wasn’t just a Mickey Mouse thing. Some of them were, but there was a few people who were actually trying to win it.”

He said he had no regrets about ending his traineeship.

“I was really enjoying the teaching side of it, but the pro shop side was a bit boring,” he said.

“I was running all the junior clinics at Pacific Dunes and enjoyed that, and primary teaching was something that I always wanted to do, so I ended up enrolling.

“I always wanted to get more into the teaching side of it.

“I think the reality of trying to make a playing career out of it is a bit of a fantasy unless you’re a superstar these days.”


Queenslander Jed Morgan was head and shoulders above the rest of the NSW Junior Championship field at Shelly Beach and Toukley last week, defending his title by 14 shots.

Morgan wonthe Asia-Pacific Golf Confederation Junior Championships in Taiwan inAugust to secure a start in a professional event on the Japanesetour.

The country’s top-ranked junior also won the Singapore Junior and Northern Territory Open in 2016 and blitzed the Queensland Junior by seven shots two weeks ago, including a final-round 63 at Bargara.

Morgan finished at 11 under over four rounds last week and was the only player under par. Branxton’s Corey Lamb was the best of the Hunter contingent in a tie for 11th at nineover.

Toronto’s Jacob Dundas came closeto a state age title in the 13-years division but lost in a play-off to Ali Rachid (Bardwell Valley).

Phone in Cessnock jail cell exposes law

Arrested: Police with one of six men arrested on serious drugs charges. Riad Taha was named as the drug syndicate’s mastermind.A SUCCESSFULappeal by a drug syndicate ringleader in Cessnock Jail has exposed a worrying gap in how NSW law can respondto security breaches by some of the state’s most serious criminals.
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Riad Taha, 30, was behind a $600,000 syndicate that planned to sell methamphetamine, known as ice,cocaine and firearms into the community until its memberswere arrested and charged in 2015. He was sentenced to eight years in jail.

But Taha beat the system in April after a NSW District Court judge was forced to grant his appeal against an extra three months in jailafter Taha was convicted of a security breach. He was charged after he was found with a mobile phone, SIM card and charger in his Cessnock Jail cell during a random search in January.

The decision waspublished online on Tuesday.

NSW District Court Judge Andrew Colefax said he had to acceptTaha’s argument aLocal Court magistrate had no power to add the three months to his longer sentence for the drugs offences because of a section of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act.

The effect of the section meansthere is“effectively no punishment available” to the Local Court whereprisoners serving jail sentences of more than five years arecharged with security breaches, similar to the mobile phone breach, while in jail, Judge Colefax said.

“This seems to me to be a highly unsatisfactory situation because the more serious offenders face no real disincentive to engage in serious breaches of security in the correctional context,” the judge said.

“There is no disincentive for them to have possession of (at least) mobile phones which is a serious breachof correctional security.”

Taha was to have served an additional three months in jail to start on January 10, 2020, which Judge Colefax said “might be thoughtto constitute considerable leniency” given the seriousness of the security breach.

“As it is, and as the Crown has conceded, I have no alternative but to allow the appeal on the state of the current law,” Judge Colefax said.

“The appeal is, with regret, allowed.”

The judge referred the matter to Attorney General Mark Speakman and Corrective Services Minister David Elliott.

Good Samaritans change a tyre and preserve a life

BLESSED: Grant Hopper believes his wife Emma wouldn’t be alive if it wasn’t for the help of two strangers. Mrs Hopper said “they were like guardian angels”. Picture: Sam Norris Two unknown men who helped changed a flat tyre at Salt Ash are said to have saved Emma Hopper’s life.
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The Tanilba Bay grandmother had woken with a bad headache and vomiting on June 11, and was soon on the road to hospital with her husband, Grant Hopper.

Despite his caution their blue Volkswagen struck a pothole on Lemon Tree Passage Road which forced Mr Hopper to pull into the service station at Pauls Corner.

“The doctors told me later that day that if we had been 10 minutes later, it would have been a very different outcome,” he said.

In the service station car park Mr Hopper noticed two men in the late 20s or early 30s.

“These two men were looking at us, they had four-wheel-drive utes with bikes on the back,” Mr Hopper said.

“I asked, ‘would you mind helping me’?

“It would have taken me half an hour but it only took him five minutes.”

Mrs Hopper had recently undergone radiation therapy for an in-operable brain tumor at the base of her brain, near the carotid artery and optic nerve.

A second tumour had also been removed from behind her nose and little did they know there had been a complication that had led to bacterial meningitis.

“We jumped the queue at the John Hunter, they put her straight into a bed,” Mr Hopper said.

“She was delirious, she didn’t know her own name.”

Mrs Hopper would spend the next 11 days in hospital on broad spectrum antibiotics where Mr Hopper remained at her side.

“It was only later I thought, ‘I wish I could tell them, what he had done, changing the tyre,” Mr Hopper said.

“It all happened so quick we didn’t even exchange names.”

Another two weeks has past since Mrs Hopper returned home with regular nurse home-visits.

Being immunocompromised, she often wears a face mask and the couple keeps anti-bacterial hand wash close to hand.

It’s given Mrs Hopper further opportunity to reflect on the events of that morning.

Between his distress and her fever their best guess is they set out between 7am and 9am on June 11.

“I don’t remember anything of that morning, I was throwing up in the car,” she said.

“But he’s saved my life, they were like guardian angels.

“I’m also thankful for my darling husband, without him, I wouldn’t be here either.”

The couple has five children between the ages 22 and 37, as well as three grandchildren.

Mrs Hopper was first diagnosed with meningioma in 2002 when they lived in Tamworth.

Surgeons then removed the baseball-sized tumour that at the time was said to have been the biggest excision a patient had survived at the John Hunter Hospital.

An MRI in 2010 found the latest tumours. They moved to Tanilba Bay in May where they aim to make the most of life.

“It’s beautiful here,” Mrs Hopper said.

“We love it.”

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Shepherds Hill fix won’t reverse move

Shepherds Hill fix won’t reverse move DISREPAIR: Newcastle Marine Rescue’s Graham Silcock and Ron Calman at the damaged Shepherds Hill cottage. Picture: Marina Neil
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HISTORIC: The Shepherds Hill battery observation post. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

DISREPAIR: The Shepherds Hill cottage with badly damaged roof after the April 2015 storm. Picture: Darren Pateman

SCENIC: The Shepherds Hill battery post and cliff-face. Picture: Peter Stoop

TweetFacebookTHE run-down Shepherds Hill cottage will be restored to its original condition, but its long-term tenant Marine Rescue Newcastle faces a move inland to Warabrook.

Newcastle council began renovations on Tuesdaytothe scenic,late-19th centuryKing Edward Park cottage thatwas badly damaged in theApril 2015 storm.

It will geta new roof,plumbing, cladding, posts and beams, and repairs to its wooden windows. The council will also, it said, demolish“unathorised extensions made by various tenants”.

“All works to be undertaken to restore the building will be overseen by a heritage architect,”Newcastle lord mayorNuatali Nelmes said.

“The future use of the cottage is yet to be determinedbut, whatever it is, it will become a community asset and focal point courtesy of its location at the top of King Edward Park on the Bathers Way.”

Marine Rescue Newcastle was forced out by the storm two years agoand has sinceoperatedfrom Kooragang Island in quarterson loan fromthe Newcastle Coal Infrastructure Group.

While hopeful the cottage’srepairs will hasten areturn to Shepherds Hill, unit commander Ron Calman said the organisation’simmediate future involvesa less-than-ideal move to Warabrook.

The unit was due tostay on Kooragang onlyuntilJune and, while grateful for the use of the Warabrook Community Centre, Mr Calman said it will be a costly movethat takesthe coastal volunteer service further from the coast.

“People are possibly not aware of the traffic that’s out there [off Newcastle’s coast], particularly in the summertime, and here we areheaded inland,” Mr Calman said.

“It’s a positive sign that they’re doing the repairs, but Marine Rescue Newcastle doesn’t have any concrete information [about returning to Shepherds Hill] from the council.”

The council gained approval for the restoration when it lodged a conservation management plan, together with a separate heritage application,for the Shepherds Hill sitewith the state government last December.

Work vehicles will be confined to the site.

Shepherds Hill Defence Group, as the cottage, battery observation post and gun placement are collectively known,sits on Crown Land for which Newcastle City Council is the trust manager.

The military installment wasdesigned to defend Newcastle’s burgeoning coal port after the 1878 Royal Commission into Colonial Defences. It served as an integral command position untilthe end of World War Two.

The observation post is one of the only coastal defence sites in Australia manned simultaneously during the war by the Royal Australian Navy, Army and Royal Australia Air Force.

Help at hand for sufferers of depression

Revolutionary: Psychiatrist Dr Vasantha Bhanu Pothala demonstrates the Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation machine, used in therapy for treatment-resistant depression at Toronto Private. Picture: Simone De Peak.SUFFERERS oftreatment-resistant depression can now access a revolutionary therapy in the Hunter that promises long-lasting results with minimal risk.
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Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) is used to treat severe depression. It is usually recommended only after medication and psychotherapy have failed. Upuntil now, Hunter patients have had to travel to Sydney to access it.Toronto Private Hospital has begun offering rTMS therapy.

Consultant psychiatrist Vasantha Bhanu Pothala said it “filled the gap” betweenmedication and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).

“Thisnew treatment is a good alternative for those people who are not responding to medication, and who experience side effects from the medication,” Dr Pothala said.

“ECT is for severe cases oflife-threatening depression, but it needs to be done under anaesthesia, and there are a number of risks associated with it, which is why it’s not suitable for everyone.”

Help at hand for sufferers of depression Revolutionary: Anna Campbell, executive assistant at Toronto Private Hospital, sits in to help demonstrate the Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation machine used for treatment-resistant depression as psychiatrist Dr Vasantha Bhanu Pothala adjusts it. Picture: Simone De Peak.

Revolutionary: Anna Campbell, executive assistant at Toronto Private Hospital, sits in to help demonstrate the Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation machine used for treatment-resistant depression as psychiatrist Dr Vasantha Bhanu Pothala adjusts it. Picture: Simone De Peak.

Revolutionary: Psychiatrist Dr Vasantha Bhanu and Jason Thomas, CEO Toronto Private Hospital, looking at the Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation machine used for treatment-resistant depression. Picture by Simone De Peak.

Revolutionary: Psychiatrist Dr Vasantha Bhanu and Jason Thomas, CEO Toronto Private Hospital, looking at the Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation machine used for treatment-resistant depression. Picture by Simone De Peak.

TweetFacebook When the drugs don’t work for depression, this might.Dr Pothala said rTMS therapy worked by using a magnet to target and stimulate specific areas of the brain.

Hesaid alarge number of studies had shown it to be effective in activating the parts of the brain that help to ease the symptoms of depression.

“It ismuch more suitable for people who cannot take medication, or do not respond to medication, and it is a treatment we can use without anaesthesia, with minimal risks,” he said.

“We target very specific areas in the brain that deal with depression and we activate them, and that helps to repair the neuronsto help the brain to repair itself. The effects are long lasting.”

During the sessions, an electromagnetic coil placed on the forehead sends pulses to a targeted part of the brain to stimulate nerve cells that can influence depression.

The hospital is offering the therapyto inpatients attending its Depression Management Program at no extra cost. Patients need private hospital cover for mental health admissions, or be prepared to self-fund.

Toronto Private Hospital chief executive Jason Thomas said the technology would supplement the services already offered at their Woodlands Mental Health Unit.

Dark Ages decision

NASTY: Maitland’s Tyler Le Prince-Campbell is treated for a facial injury during Sunday’s loss to Central at St John Oval. Picture: Max Mason-HubersThe Newcastle Rugby League match review committee decision that Central youngster Justin Worley does not have a case to answer after a stray boot left Maitland player Tyle Le Prince-Campbell with a fractured cheekbone is frankly outof the Dark Ages.
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The match review committee deemed that the incident was an accident. It may have been accidental, but what about the penalty for a reckless or, at best, a careless act which caused a serious head injury to an opponent.

Every other football code in Australia has declared players’ heads a no-go contact zone, but the Newcastle Rugby League is caught in some time warp and completely missed all the studies and empirical evidence which has sounded alarm bells about the long-term risks of concussion and head injuries.

The AFL is so serious it successfully appealed against its match review committee’s leniency in the sentencing of Richmond player Bachar Houli for throwing an arm back andstriking Carlton’s Jed Lamb. His suspension was doubled from two to four weeks.

Worley kicked out with his leg while being tackled and struck Pickers winger Le Prince-Campbell in the face. Video footage shows Le Prince-Campbell had clearly moved off his opponent when struck.

It also shows another Central player using the same flaying kicking action in the very next tackle, seemingly in an attempt to draw a penalty for being held down in a tackle.

The contact to Le Prince-Campbell’s face may have been accidental, but the tactic of the tackled player vigorously kicking his legs about is not.

Quite simply it is reckless and every bit as dangerous as raised knees, shoulder charges and head-high tackles which National Rugby League authorities have vigorously attempted to stamp out.

Pickers coach Trevor Ott complained after the game that the referee at St John Oval had not deemed the incident worthy of a penalty, and Maitland lodged a complaint with the NRL on Monday morning.

Ott told Fairfax Mediathat he was disappointed with the outcome and Worley should at least have been warned to be more careful.

“Our player’s head was nearly a good two and a half feet off the ground when the incident happened,” he said.

“Intentional or not it needed to be looked at because the kid’s got a broken cheekbone. It’s obviously struck him with a fair bit of force.

“They’ve had a look at it. People obviously have different opinions on things. We have ours; they have theirs.

“That’s what they’ve come up with.

“There’s not much we can do about it.”

Tyler Le Prince-Campbell

If the Newcastle Rugby League does not make protecting players from head-high contact a priority it risks a mass exodus at junior and senior ranks.

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Middleby gives Valo kick towards goal

RD 18: Saturday: Jaffas v Charlestown, Valentine v Maitland, Jets Youth v Weston. Sunday: Hamilton v Edgeworth, Broadmeadow v Adamstown.Valentine have gained a valuable player in attempts to improve their facilities.
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Former Jets chief Robbie Middleby, who now works for FIFA, coaches juniors at Valentine is helping the club in talks with Northern NSW Football and Lake Macquarie City Council about their future home.

Phoenixare at Belmont’sCahill Oval, a multi-sport pitch, but hope to move to CB Complex at Valentine.

The club, who have met with NNSWF and LMCC in recent weeks, have improved the CB Complex surface but it still requires fencing andamenities for officials to meet NPL standards.

Phoenix president Steven Screen said both venues were part of redevelopment master plans but nofunds had been allocated at Belmont.

“We​haven’t moved much further on whether to play therenext year,” Screen said of CB Complex, which is still years away from completed redevelopments.

”We are between arock and a hard place as to where best to put funds.”

It appears the club will remain atCahill Oval, which will be given anew surface of couch grass after this season.

** Valentine coach Darren Sills has declared American imports Jalon Brown and Alec Faulkner will stay with the club next season –if they can stay in the country.

Brown has been a revelation this year and is equal leading scorer in the NPL with 11 goals.Valentine hope to help the US pair find suitable work and overcome visa obstacles.

**IncomingCharlestown coach David Tanchevski has added former Jaffas defender Kev Davison to his 2018 roster as hecontinues to buildbehind the scenes.

Kevin Davison, right, in action for the Jaffas last year.

Davison, a former Australian Institute of Sport scholarship holder, played under Tanchevski at the Jaffas and was part of their 2014 premiershipside.

He dropped downthis year toZone Premier League toplay at the Newcastle Suns. Tanchevski said Davison was one of his first targets and he was thrilled to add him to Hamilton trio of Kane Goodchild, Scott Smith and Grant Brown as confirmed recruits.

The Blues, meanwhile, announcedformer coach Mark Wilson would return to take over theirunder-20s.

Court rejects $10.7m fraud appeal

HE was once thetrusted lieutenant of United Arab EmiratesbillionaireHis Excellency Nasser Lootah and co-director of his boss’shigh-profile Murrurundi horse-breeding farm.
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For years Rajesh Chimanlal Upadhyayaenjoyed a lavish lifestyle while working for theDubai-based owner of Emirates Park Stud.

But the relationship soured in 2011 when Upadhyaya was arrested by Australian police and found guilty of systematically defrauding the Upper Hunter studof $10.7 million by invoicing Emirates Parkfor thousands of tonnes of oats and hay which he never provided.

Last week, Upadhyaya had hisappeal against a12-year jail sentence, with a non-parole period of seven years and nine months,dismissed by a three-judge bench in the Court of Criminal Appeal.

Healso unsuccessfully appealed against $750,000 compensationhe was ordered to pay Emirates Park–the maximum the court could require.

His lawyer’s argued that the sentence, handed down in the District Court in August 2015, was“manifestly excessive”, partly because the impact on Emirates Park was only a“temporary setback”, mitigated by Mr Lootah’sfinancial position.

They were also unable to convince the judges to overturn thecompensation order despite the fact thatUpadhyaya’sAustralian assets werefrozen and sold by the bank.

The Sydney District Court heard in 2015 that Emirates Park losses talliedmore than $100 million during the time of the offences and the stud essentially“operates asHis Excellency’s hobby”.

WORLD CLASS: District Court Judge Donna Woodburne said the impact on Emirates Park was significant.

As co-director, Upadhyaya was given financial responsibility for the propertyandorderedhay and oats to feed thefoals and yearlingsbetween 2005 and 2010.

He was responsible forauthorisinginvoicesand signing cheques for payment.

However, at the same time, Upadhyaya had a controlling interest in two horse-feed companies–Tamworth Quality Grains and Feedpoint–which supplied Emirates Park.

He charged the studfor tens of thousands of tonnes of oats and hay which the feed companies were supposed to provide.

But the amount of feed ordered was up to ten times more than what the horses on the stud could ever possibly eat–and at times more than 90 per cent more than what was supplied.

Upadhyaya then filtered themoney back into his own pockets through various bank accounts, a credit card and other companies.

In 2006, Tamworth Quality Grain issued 26 fraudulent invoices to Emirates Park for more than 34,000 bails of hay valued at $783,705.

Upadhyaya paid the invoices by writing 19 cheques.

The next year, Tamworth Quality Grain invoiced Emirates for 4600 tonnes of oats.

This was despite the fact that the horses only ate300 tonnes of oats a year.

The annual invoiced sums ranged between$54,824, in 2005,to $1,816,223, in 2007. The first invoice overstated the feed supply by 28 per cent, the second by 33 per cent.

In the end, Upadhyayawas overcharging by up to90 per cent.

On oneoccasion, he ordered feedfrom a third-party supplier andEmirates Park paid for it, butthebulk of fodder was delivered to his own property,to feedhis own horses.

The District Court heard that Upadhyaya described to a psychologist the “flamboyant lifestyle” of lavish luxury he enjoyed working for Mr Lootah in Dubai.

But claimed when he moved to Australia to run the Murrurundi horse stud, he initially received a $5000 stipend every six months and then an annual salary of $25,000.

Billionaire: Wealthy Dubai businessman His Excellency Nasser Lootah owns the Murrurundi horse stud.

Upadhyaya initially pleaded not guilty to 11 counts of defrauding Emirates Park.

Following a lengthy trial, he was convicted of 14 counts of defrauding a body corporate while serving as a director. Hehad no previous criminal record.

Emirates Park, previously known as Blandford Park Stud,is situated on the New EnglandHighway.

Mr Lootah establishedhis Australian thoroughbred operation in the 1980s, which also includes a property in Victoria.

In recent years, his son, Hussain, has been heavily involved in running the business and announced a joint venturewith Aquis Farm,backed by Hong Kong billionaire Tony Fung, in April.

Under the deal, Aquis will manage Emirates Park Murrurundi stud and stallions Artie Schiller, Dream Ahead and Al Maher. Emirates will retain ownership of the farmand its broodmares.

The decision comes after Emirates Park decided to focus more intensively on growing its broodmare and racing interests.

Brown responds to Mullen comments

DISMISS: Newcastle Knights coach Nathan Brown. Picture: Jonathan CarrollNewcastle Knights coach Nathan Brown has refuted claims the NRL club has disowned Jarrod Mullen following a drugs ban and reckons theveteran playmaker would have helped improve results for the last-placed team in 2017.
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At training on Tuesday Brown responded to an interview Mullen’s mother, Leeann, did with 1233 ABC Newcastle that expressed concerns about a lack of support for her 30-year-old son and potential double standards after the Knights recently signedShaun Kenny-Dowall.

LEANNE MULLEN: “There’s a player in deep despair”

JARROD MULLEN: Speaks for first time since ban

ROBERT DILLON: Sporting Declaration fromJanuary 20

“We’renot making these decisions,” Brown said.

“If Shaun Kenny-Dowall wasn’tallowed to play Iwouldn’t have signed Shaun Kenny-Dowall.

“And I can tell you 100 per centI’ve saidafter many a game this year I’msure we would have won if Jarrod Mullenplayed. I wish Jarrod Mullen was here and fit but unfortunately he’s not.

“Unfortunately Jarrod’s retired now because of a situation the club didn’t create. Jarrod made a mistake, which is unfortunate and the club’s there to support him.

“If you spoke to Jarrod I think he wouldfeel our welfare department has supported him well and I’m sure behind the scenesGids [Knights chief executive officer Matt Gidley] has supported him very well as well.”

Mullen was handed a four-year punishment by the NRL drugs tribunalon May 2after theAustralianSports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) recorded a positive test to a banned steroid in November.

Kenny-Dowall, who joined the Knights after being released by the Roostersjust before the mid-season transfer deadline of June 30, pleaded guilty in court last month to possessing cocaine but escaped conviction.

The new recruit is expected to recover from a hamstring injury and debut for the Knightsagainst his former club in Sydney next Friday.

Mullen can no longer attend training based on ASADA regulations but Brown denied telling players not to mix with the former NSW representative.

“That’s very incorrect,” Brown said.

“We all went for lunch at his restaurant about threeor fourweeks after it happened and Jarrod was there.

“Where wecan’t associate with Jarrod is training and that’s because of ASADAnot because of the Knights or Nathan Brownor anyone else. And that’s because of something Jarrod did,not something the Knights did.”

The Knights, who lost their 14thgame of the season on Sunday, are favourites to collect a third straight wooden spoon this year.

Brown said he expected to name an unchanged squad for Saturday’s clash with Brisbane at home including under-fire five-eighth Brock Lamb and injured skipper Sione Mata’utia (fractured finger).

Maccas turning its back on shopping centres

Property experts say established fast food brands such as McDonald’s are losing favour with shopping centres.Australia’s best-known fast food chain McDonald’s is believed to be shunning shopping centres in favour of airports, railways and highways.
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McDonald’s is Australia’s second-biggest fast food chain by store numbers, and is opening between 25 and 35 restaurants a year.Of its 960 stores, just over 10 per cent are in retail precincts.

Property experts say established fast food brands such as McDonald’s are losing favour with shopping centres whichare keen to increase thenumber of food outlets in their malls from 10 per cent of stores to more than 30 per cent.

McDonald’s introduced newfitouts recently at its stores inWestfield’s Bondi Junction and Vicinity’s Chadstone mall in Melbourne, partly at the behest of landlords who want a more upmarket offering.

But industry insiders say McDonalds is pulling away from opening more stores infood courts, particularly at Westfield shopping centres.

Joshua Bannister, senior development director McDonald’s, told Fairfax Media the chain was primarily focused on restaurants with drive-thrus and stores around highways, railways and airports.

Mr Bannister would not be drawn on whether McDonald’swas winding back its presence in malls as some industry insiders maintain.

Food courts are turning away from fast food giants as they look to attract healthier offerings. Photo: iStock

Fairfax Media has been told McDonald’s has a $3 billion property portfolio in Australia and prefers to own rather than rent.

Industry insiders suggest McDonald’s,like many chains, is concerned by the stampede of food offerings into shopping centres.

The argument is there is littleincentiveto spend hundreds of thousands of dollars installing a kitchen in a shopping centre when the chainwould not enjoyexclusivity tocustomers.

“When it comes to food courts, what we find ourselves doing is partnering with the major landlords to understand what their design intent is.”MrBannister said.

“That partnership with major landlords is critically important in ensuring that we’re delivering something that is modern and relevant to customers. It’s an area where we challenge the retailers, we challenge the landlords.”

“As a McDonald’s Australia business we’ve got a seat at the table in terms of design issues.”

Mr Bannister added, “Of course, like any other business, we would want to do a review of our portfolio, we would want to understand commercially what is right for us.”

‘Sexier’ tenants soughtMcDonald’s is the best-known quick service restaurant in Australia, according to Emma audience data. It is also the second biggest fast food chain by stores, behind Subway, and has the biggest drive-thru network, said market research company NPD.

Drive-thru is the third most popular way for Australians to buy fast food. The most popular way is instore, followed by takeaway, drive-thru, at the food court and delivery/pick up, NPD said.

Joshua Bush, leasing executive at Colliers International, said most of McDonald’s revenue was from “drive-thrucustomers.”

“Big shopping centre owners want to get sexier-looking tenants. Maccas and Hungry Jacks are not seen as healthy or bespoke enough,” he said.

Food court space is more likely to be casual dining with a local operator like Rolld, Zeus Street Greek or Guzman y Gomez because they’re perceived to offer healthier options, he said.

Burgers account for 24 per cent of Australia’s $28.7 billionquick service restaurant market, according to NPD Group, and just over two-thirds of QSR sales come from chains.

“We are opening 25 to 35 restaurants a year. We are in a period of sustained growth,”Mr Bannister said.

“The other area where we are achieving growth and having great success is transport and infrastructure which is going through a period of sustained investment and development from government,” he said.

Scentre Group, which owns Westfield shopping in Australia, was contacted for comment.

Google maps Newcastle’s changephotos

Google maps Newcastle’s change | photos THEN: Devonshire Street, Newcastle
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NOW: Devonshire Street, Newcastle

THEN: Hannell Street at Wickham

NOW: Hannell Street at Wickham

THEN: Shortland Esplanade

NOW: Shortland Esplanade

THEN: Union Street, The Junction

NOW: Union Street, The Junction

THEN: Watt Street, Newcastle East

NOW: Watt Street, Newcastle East

THEN: Corner of Crown and King, Newcastle

NOW: Corner of Crown and King, Newcastle

THEN: Hunter Street mall from Perkins Street

NOW: Hunter Street mall from Perkins Street

THEN: High Street Maitland from Elgin Street

NOW: High Street Maitland from Elgin Street

THEN: Corner of Denton Park Drive and Aberglasslyn Road, 2008

NOW: Google Maps’ most recent shot of corner of Denton Park Drive and Aberglasslyn Road, 2010.

THEN: Mitchell Drive, Green Hills, in 2010.

NOW: Mitchell Drive, Green Hills, in 2017.

THEN: The Boulevard, Toronto

NOW: The Boulevard, Toronto

THEN: Laman Street

NOW: Laman Street

THEN: Darby Street

NOW: Darby Street

THEN: Beaumont Street

NOW: Beaumont Street

THEN: Corner Auckland and Hunter Streets

NOW: Corner Auckland and Hunter Streets

THEN: Sandgate

NOW: Sandgate

THEN: The intersection of High and Elgin Streets in 2008

NOW: The intersection of High and Elgin Streets

THEN: The intersection of High and Elgin Streets in 2008

NOW: The intersection of High and Elgin Streets

THEN: The intersection of High and Bulwer Streets in 2010

NOW: The intersection of High and Bulwer Streets in 2010

TweetFacebookIs there a street you want to see in this piece? Nominate it in the comments below.

Scaffolding tumbles off the Great Northern Hotel in the east end while the NeWSpace building rising from nowhere.

Both Laman Street and Toronto’s Boulevard are stripped bare of leafy canopies while foliage adds feet to its height on Darby and Beaumont.

Further afield a drive from Sandgate to Jesmond becomes less direct after a step back in time, while Maitland’s Levee gives the riverside precinct an overhaul.

The Stockland expansion hasaddedan extra bit of height over Green Hills’ Mitchell Drive while the Devonshire Street laneway, home to the famed Star Hotel building, is borderline unrecognisable.

Laman Street, NewcastleAuckland Street, NewcastleMaitland Road, SandgateMitchell Drive, Green Hills