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