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Boot loot brought to heel By Laura Michell A room piled high with work boots and shoes – believed to be thousands of pairs stolen from houses across the northern suburbs in the past six years – has been uncovered by police. Whittlesea police uncovered the haul during a search of a Mernda house last week. The pile comprised more than 2000 pairs of work boots and sneakers. A Mernda man, 43, was arrested at his Falkirk Drive home on November 13 after police executed a search warrant at the property. Victoria Police spokeswoman Leonie Johnson said the man had been charged with theft and handling stolen goods. The discovery follows a police appeal in September after several reports were made about shoes being stolen in the Mernda area. The appeal gained prominence on social media, with residents contacting Crime Stoppers with information. “It is alleged the shoes were taken from the front doors of homes in the Doreen, Mernda, Watsonia North and Craigieburn areas over the past six years,” Ms Johnson said. Anyone whose shoes were stolen will have a chance to be reunited with their footwear, with police vowing to make the haul available for identification by the public at a later date. Residents have taken to social media in recent days thanking police for catching the alleged thief, with many saying they felt safe to resume leaving their shoes outside their houses again. The man has been bailed to appear at Heidelberg magistrates court on April 13, 2018. Police are asking anyone with further information to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or at

(Joe Mastroianni)

Adoption, the cat’s whiskers This bundle of fur is among 200 cats searching for a new home. RSPCA Victoria is attempting to find forever homes for 200 cats to make room at its shelters. The animal welfare organisation is expecting thousands of homeless kittens to arrive at its shelters in coming months, with cats able to breed up to five litters during spring, summer and autumn. In the past financial year, 4000 kittens arived at the RSPCA, with most of the animals arriving between November and April. To encourage as many people as possible to adopt a cat, the RSPCA will reduce adoption fees from $120 to $39 from Thursday, November 23, until Sunday, November 26. Kittens under four months old will still cost $195. Every cat available for adoption has been desexed, microchipped and vaccinated and had veterinary checks. Cats will be available for adoption at the Epping Animal Welfare Facility, 20 Companion Place, and Sunbury Petbarn, 17 Horne Street. Details: NELL FROM PET BARN WITH CAT MIMMI

Laura Michell

The pile of stolen shoes and work boots. (Supplied)

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Mernda gets its police station By Laura Michell Mernda police station is open – almost four years after a community campaign for a station in the growth suburb began. Victoria police opened the 24-hour station, on the corner of Bridge Inn Road and Pimpinella Pass, on Sunday morning. The $15 million station will house specialist resources such as the Whittlesea family violence unit and Sexual Offences and Child Abuse Investigation Team (SOCIT) and be staffed by 45 new police officers.

Superintendent Tim Hansen describes the station as “a police station for the future”. “But the most important element of this police station will be the 45 new police members based there,” he said. “The improved police response and benefits from these additional resources will be felt by people living in every suburb of Whittlesea and the surrounding area.” Mernda residents, led by new councillor Tom Joseph, campaigned for a station in their suburb amid concerns about the rising number of burglaries and break-ins in the area.

The station’s opening has caused concern in Whittlesea township, with residents fearing it will lead to the closure of their station. But, in a letter to the community, superintendent Hansen said Victoria Police was committed to keeping that station open and operating as usual. “I can assure you all police serving across the northern suburbs of Melbourne are committed to working with their community to make the northern suburbs a safer place to live,” he said. “The Mernda police station comes with the opportunity to better understand the

specific policing needs of the surrounding communities, including the Whittlesea township and the nearby rural community. “As we measure and monitor this policing over the coming 12 months, I wish to allay any fears regarding the operation of the Whittlesea police station.” Latest Crime Statistics Agency data shows that in the 12 months to June, there was a 3.9 per cent increase in crime in Mernda, with 1346 offences reported to police. Across Whittlesea, crime rose 3.8 per cent, with 16,095 offences reported.

Broadmeadows strugglers tell their stories Controversial television series Struggle Street has made its way to Melbourne’s outer northern suburbs – despite Hume council objecting to filming in the municipality. The second series of the SBS show was filmed across Queensland and Victoria and highlights the struggles of people battling poverty, mental health issues, drug problems, homelessness and unemployment. Among the Victorians sharing their stories in the six-part series are three Broadmeadows residents – Nick, Allan and Tamara. Last year, Hume council knocked back a request from production company Keo Films to film the new season on public land in Broadmeadows, with former mayor Helen Patsikatheodorou saying the suburb should not be made fun of. Struggle Street executive producer David Galloway has defended the decision to film in Broadmeadows, saying the show was not about Broadmeadows but rather the hardship being experienced by ordinary Australians. “Every suburb there are people doing it tough,” he said. “These are issues being experienced in every postcode.” Mr Galloway said everyone featured in the series wanted their stories to be told. Former Ford worker Nick was made redundant last year after working for the car manufacturer for 22 years. He fitted the dashboard to the last Falcon manufactured in Australia. Nick wants to find a job to support his wife and 11-year-old son, but is unsure where he will find work. He is also worried about former colleagues, many of whom he knows struggle with reading and writing. He is one of more than 1200 adults in Broadmeadows who are unemployed. Allan, who is originally from the Cook Islands, is struggling with crushing debt. He had accumulated $35,000 in debt from fines and loans, but hopes starting his own gardening business will help lift his family out of poverty. Single mum Tamara is struggling with debt after being caught up in a vocational training

Clockwise from above: Allan; Nick; Madisyn and Tamara; and Michelle and Jess in Stuggle Street. (Pictures: Supplied)

loan scheme. She is trying to create a better life for herself and daughter, Madisyn, by starting her own cleaning business. Single mum Michelle, and her 21-year-old daughter Jess, also from the outer north, feature in the series, as well. Michelle quit her job as a pharmacy assistant three years ago to become Jess’ full-time carer. Jess has a rare genetic condition and autism. The family’s Centrelink benefits are not enough to cover their costs. SBS television and online content director Marshall Heald said the series offered a “really

raw, unflinching and honest portrayal of hardship”. He said 2.99 million Australians lived below the poverty line, with 105,000 people homeless. He hopes the series would put issues such as homelessness, poverty and unemployment on the national agenda. Hume mayor Geoff Porter said the real story of Broadmeadows was one of “pride and determination”. “While some people in Broadmeadows face challenges, just like others in suburbs across Australia, our community is home to some of

the best and most hard-working people you’ll ever meet,” Cr Porter said. “The future of Hume, and particularly Broadmeadows, looks bright, with recent reports showing above average gross regional production rates, strong business growth and, most importantly, a significant increase in the number of local jobs.” Struggle Street will air on SBS on Tuesday-Thursday from November 28 at 8.30pm. Laura Michell

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New tactic to cut suicide rates By Laura Michell

The trial, launched by Yan Yean MP Danielle Green and Eastern Melbourne Primary Health Network (EMPHN) last week, is one of 12 place-based suicide prevention trials across the state. EMPHN chief executive Robin Whyte said Whittlesea was chosen to participate in the trials because it has one of the highest suicide rates in Victoria. The primary health network said there was a number of factors driving up Whittlesea’s suicide rate, including the high number of people experiencing psychological distress,

Community and sports groups, healthcare workers, emergency responders and education providers across Whittlesea are on a mission to reduce the municipality’s suicide rate. The groups met in South Morang last week as part of the state government’s Whittlesea suicide prevention trial. They are hoping to develop suicide prevention initiatives, with survivors and people who have lost loved ones to suicide urged to have their say on how support services can be improved.

the rate of disadvantage in the community and the municipality’s large Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population – which is the fourth largest in the metropolitan area. The government hopes the trials will reduce the stigma around suicide and give people and their families the support they need, with an aim to halving Victoria’s suicide rate by 2025. Ms Green said the loss from suicide was a tragedy and had a lasting impact on individuals, families and communities. A second workshop will be held on

Wednesday for community groups, carers and people with lived experience of suicide to have their say. A third workshop, specifically for people who have experienced suicidal thoughts or survived a suicide attempt, as well as carers, friends and families who have lost loved ones, will be held on Tuesday, November 28. Both workshops will be at the Plenty Ranges Arts and Convention Centre, 35 Ferres Boulevard, South Morang, from 6-8.30pm. To register, visit suicide_prevention_workshops

Heartfelt celebrations For the past 10 years, William van Gaal has been running Northern Health’s cardiology service. The director of cardiology started at the health service in October, 2007, when its cardiology unit was opened at Northern Hospital in Epping. Associate Professor van Gaal said the cardiology service had accomplished a lot in the past decade – including the opening of the cardiology ward in 2016. The ward, which includes the coronary care unit, provides access to coronary care and inpatient beds for cardiac diagnoses. “We are dealing with a catchment of increased risk as levels of heart disease and issues with high-blood pressure are more prevalent in Melbourne’s northern suburbs,” Associate Professor van Gaal said. “One of the most important changes to our cardiology service was the introduction of a

24-hour emergency services, meaning that people in the northern community who have a cardiac emergency have access to the best possible care close to home. “[A] key area of focus in developing our services over the past decade has been in access – increasing capacity and capabilities to provide care to those who need it most in our community.” Northern Health is this month celebrating 10 years of cardiology services. Associate Professor van Gaal said it was “imperative” the cardiology team remained at the forefront of research and technology in the years ahead to continue caring for the north’s rapidly growing community. Laura Michell Recent patient Ghassan Khabbaz with Associate Professor William van Gaal. (Joe Mastroianni)






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The Autonobus is Victoria’s first driverless shuttle bus. (Supplied)

Uni trials driverless bus Students at La Trobe University are getting a taste of the future, with the university trialing Victoria’s first driverless shuttle bus. The Autonobus will transport students around the university’s Bundoora campus as part of an eight-month trial, which brings together word-leading experts in automated vehicle technology. From April next year, the bus will shuttle students along Science Drive from transport interchanges and carparks, and will allow them to hop off at their chosen destination. The bus is fitted with 360-degree cameras and multiple sensors, allowing it to detect hazards and avoids collisions. La Trobe University Vice Chancellor John Dewar said the university was keen to lead the way.

“Our researchers have the expertise and track record in developing technology that links business, enhances mobility and shapes smart cities of the future,” Professor Dewar said. The state government has provided $375,000 for the trial through its Smarter Journeys Programs. The trial, which runs until July 2018, will examine the safety, operations, passenger experience and integration of the bus. Roads and Roads Safety Minister Luke Donnellan said automated vehicles would change how Victorian’s travel. “That’s why we’re investing in the trials that explore ways technology can be used to reduce congestion and keep people safe on our roads,” he said. Laura Michell

Five people have been arrested as part of a 12-month investigation into an alleged drug syndicate operating across Melbourne’s north-west. Police executed seven search warrants at properties in Campbellfield, Broadmeadows, Jacana, Glenroy, Hadfield and Preston about 7am on November 14. The syndicate was allegedly involved in drug trafficking, burglaries and thefts across the north-west. A Jacana man, 23, and a Hadfield man, 20, are both facing 14 charges, including burglary and theft-related offences. They will face Melbourne magistrates court on November 21. A Glenroy man, 20, is facing 21 charges, including burglary, theft of motor vehicle and drug-related offences. He will face court on March 20, 2018. A 16-year-old girl was arrested and is expected to be charged on summons with burglary and theft offences. A Broadmeadows man, 22, was arrested and released pending further inquiries.

Craigieburn trees destroyed

Ten semi-mature tress have been chopped down at Highgate Reserve in Craigieburn. Hume police said the trees, planted near Essex Way and Grand Boulevard, had been chopped down since October 22. Contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000. FOR BREAKING NEWS, VISIT Web: Northern Star Weekly @nstarweekly @star_weekly

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MP witness to traffic chaos By Laura Michell VicRoads will be asked to assess the parking and traffic chaos around Epping Views Primary School and make suggestions on how the traffic flow can be improved. Roads Minister Luke Donnellan visited the school earlier this month to experience how difficult the morning drop-off is for himself. During his 30-minute visit to the school, Mr Donnellan observed long queues of traffic along Dunolly Street, where parents were double parked and others were driving on

the wrong side of the road to pass other cars. Nearby St Arnaud Street was filled with cars parked along both sides of the street, leaving parents little room to squeeze through. Mr Donnellan said while the school’s traffic and parking problems were not unique, they were among the worst he has seen. Mr Donnellan, who was invited to the school by Thomastown MP Bronwyn Halfpenny, said he would ask VicRoads engineers to assess the situation. He will also look at ways to encourage more students to walk to school.

“We would prefer to get more people to walk. Far too few people are getting their kids to walk to school these days,” he said. Whittlesea councillor Stevan Kozmevski, who joined Mr Donnellan on the tour, said the issue was affecting the safety of the community. As reported by Star Weekly, the council voted last month to ask the state government to provide funding to fix traffic problems at five local schools, including Epping Views. Cr Kozmevksi said another proposal to improve traffic around the school would be put to tonight’s council meeting.

Lalor gardeners plot a party The Lalor Community garden will throw open its gates this Saturday for its 10th anniversary. The Duncan Road garden, started by Plenty Valley Community Health and now run by the garden members, is about both gardening and socialising. President Steve Allport said the garden had 55 members, with students from Peter Lalor Vocational College and Merriang Special Development School regularly visiting. Mr Allport said the garden was multicultural, with members coming from many different backgrounds. “We do a lot of socialising – people like to come down for a cup of coffee or tea, bikkies and a chat,” he said. The garden will be open from 10am-2pm on Saturday. Entry is by gold coin donation. Laura Michell


Tis the season to drive safely Hume home owners planning to deck their houses in Christmas lights are being urged to think about traffic and pedestrian safety before switching on their displays. The council is asking residents of homes with high volumes of visitors to get in touch with the council’s traffic management team ahead of the festive season to discuss any safety concerns. Mayor Geoff Porter said the council could help residents ensure traffic around popular Christmas light displays was safely managed. “Council knows that many residents go through weeks, months and sometimes years of effort to put together some magnificent displays,” he said. “The last thing anyone wants is for someone to be hurt or injured on their way to see a Christmas light display.” The council is also calling on residents to ensure they are aware of traffic as they make their way around the neighbourhood displays. Cr Porter reminded drivers to be courteous and considerate of others, ensuring they park legally, without blocking footpaths, driveways or roads. “As with every year, we want everyone to be able to enjoy the city’s Christmas light displays safely,” he said. “Families visiting displays need to ensure younger children are supervised at all time, especially when walking to and from Christmas light displays.” Laura Michell

Lalor Community Garden is celebrating its 10th anniversary. (Damjan Janevski)


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WANT YOUR EVENT LISTED? Community Calendar is made available free of charge to not-for-profit organisations to keep the public informed of special events and activities. Send item details to Star Weekly Community Calendar, Corner Thomsons Road and Keilor Park Drive, Keilor Park, 3042, or email to Deadline for copy and announcements is noon Tuesday.

Shop local for handmade Christmas presents at the Boutique Makers Market on Saturday, November 25 from 4-8pm at Mernda Village Community Activity Centre, 70 Mernda Village Drive. ■ 0413 756 654

Temporary closure of bicycle path Construction zone


Artists from across Whittlesea will showcase their work at a new exhibition at The Great Hall at Whittlesea council, 25 Ferres Boulevard, South Morang from Wednesday, November 29-Tuesday, December 19. The theme of this year’s exhibition is new beginnings. ■ 9217 2143

Temporary closure of bus stops Rd

Gordons Rd

Temporary road closure

Southbound traffic

Northbound traffic

Game of Thrones trivia night

Are you a Game of Thrones fan? Think you know everything there is to know about the series? Then head to Whittlesea library, 57-61 Laurel Street, on Wednesday, November 22, 6-7pm for a trivia night. Open to over 18s only. Bookings required. ■ 9716 3028

Alternative U-turn location Stagecoach


Nanna’s market

Plenty Road traffic changes

Browse through the stalls at the Nanna’s Makers Market at the Uniting Church hall, 105 Schotters Road, Mernda, on Saturday, November 25. Every stall features handmade goods such as jams and preserves, children’s clothes, scarves and jewellery. ■

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Bring your excess fruit, vegies, herbs, seedlings and eggs to swap with other locals keen on gardening at the Hume Home Harvest on Wednesday, November 22 at Tullamarine library, 58 Spring Street, 1-2pm. ■ 9356 6966

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Thank you for your patience while we construct the Mernda Rail Extension.

Learn the ins and outs of solar power at an information session on Wednesday, November 29 at Creeds Farm Living and Learning Centre, 2 Snugburgh Way, Epping, 6.30-8pm. Organised by Whittlesea council and energy experts, Positive Charge, the session will help you make sense of solar power and work out if it might be right for you. Registrations essential. ■


Plenty Road changes – near Gordons Road shifted onto the temporary lanes to enable construction of the western side of the Plenty Road rail underpass • Left-in access to Gordons Road from Plenty Road will be closed, with left turn only from Gordons Road west onto Plenty Road remaining

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Make good on those Christmas promises Christmas is nearly here again… and it’s probably about now you’re remembering all of the new appliances promises you made yourself after spending hours in the kitchen last Christmas.... and forgot about until now. The oven that needs an upgrade to cope with yet another family Christmas lunch roast with all the trimmings, the bigger fridge to fit just a few more dessert plates and the dishwasher that can not only cope with the multitude of dirty dishes but actually clean them properly too. So many good intentions to make Christmas feast cooking a breeze this year and where did those 12 months go? Never fear, Harvey Norman is here to ensure there’s still time for those Christmas promises to be kept! Westinghouse WVEP615S/W PyroClean oven (pictured) Easily clean this multifunction oven using minimal effort and without harsh chemicals. Safely heat the oven to a high temperature to turn different levels of grease and grime into ash. Then just quickly wipe the residue away. Westinghouse French-door refrigerator WHE6060SA (to fit 90cm cavity) Clever engineering allows this to be installed with minimum gaps on the sides. A huge 605-litre capacity means maximum storage for all fresh produce. It comes with a filtered water dispenser, FamilySafe lockable compartments and selfclose main freezer drawer. Westinghouse dishwasher WSF6608X Not only do dishes come out perfectly clean and dry – this one has spacious FlexRack cutlery trays and adjustable baskets to accommodate up to 15 place settings. An 30-minute program is ideal for lightly soiled dishes and a sensor adjusts the wash cycle to match soil levels.

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Gingerbread Christmas cookies INGREDIENTS Cookies • 160g unsalted butter • 140g castor sugar • 180g brown sugar • 3 eggs • 2 tbsp molasses • 500g plain flour • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder • 2 tsp ground cinnamon • 3 tsp mixed spice • 2 tbsp ground ginger Lemon Icing • 1 1/2 lemons, juiced • 300g pure icing sugar, sifted METHOD Cream butter and sugars in a food processor. Add the eggs and molasses and process until combined. Add remaining ingredients and bring together to a smooth dough. Rest in the fridge for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 180C fan-forced or 200C conventional. Line a baking tray with baking paper. On a floured surface, roll out dough to 1 centimetre thick and cut out cookies. Lift on to lined tray, leaving a couple of centimetres between each, and bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly golden. They will still be a little soft when they come out of the oven so leave to cool on the tray. To make the lemon icing, mix together the icing sugar and lemon juice until you have a thick honey-like consistency - adjust with more sugar or juice if needed. Dip the cooled biscuits in the icing or decorate using a squeeze bottle or piping bag - you can also set edible silver balls in the icing to add a little more sparkle - and place on a rack to set.

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Bulldogs take control

Sport Shorts NMCA

Rivergum is well on its way to victory in the North Metro Cricket Association’s Jika Shield. Preston Baseballers were bowled out for just 83. Matt Perri took 5-30 with Daniel Young taking 4-23. In reply, the Kookas were 1-64 off 12 overs with James Bonnici 46 not out. Lalor Warriors made 4-171 before rain halted play.

By Tara Murray

Bundoora United is in control of its rain affected game against Mernda in the Diamond Valley Cricket Association’s Money Shield. The Bulldogs bowlers started on fire, taking four quick wickets and had Mernda in trouble at 4-25. The Demons steadied before losing two more wickets before the rain hit. The rain meant just 50 overs were bowled, with Mernda in trouble at 6-96. Scott Barnett continued his good form, doing most of the damage with the ball for the Bulldogs, taking 5-18 off 16 overs. Mitch McAuley was a lone hand for the Demons, finishing the day at 51 not out. Only one other player reached double figures. Lalor Stars will resume at 1-6 in reply to Eltham’s 146. Paul Higgins took four wickets for the Stars. Plenty Power were 9-166 when the rain hit against Mill Park. Aaron Mills and Matthew McMaster took three wickets each for Mill Park. Heidelberg is 2-146 against Banyule and Lower Plenty has Research Eltham Collegians in trouble at 8-94. Similar to the Money Shield, all the Barclay Shield games had an early finish on day one because of the rain. Epping had Montmorency at 4-81 when their game was halted by the weather. John Lever and Marcus Murphy have two wickets each. Bundoora will resume at 6-117 against Lower Eltham. Shupinder Taggar and Narinder Sharma scored 32 apiece for the Bulls. Old Paradians had Riverside 3-100 in their match. Diamond Creek is 3-85 against Rosanna, while Macleod is 4-169 against North Eltham Wanderers.

Premier Cricket

Plenty Valley’s Rhiannon O’Donnell has signed with the Melbourne Renegades for the upcoming Women’s Big Bash League competition. It’s the first time the 19-year-old has been part of a WBBL squad.


Ezi Magbegor has been named in Basketball Victoria’s under-20 team for next year’s national championships. Magbegor, who grew up in Craigieburn, was part of last year’s winning Victorian team and is currently playing in the Women’s National Basketball League. Former Hume City Broncos coach Katrina Hibbert has been named coach of the under-20 women’s side.

Premier cricket

Greenvale Kangaroos got a second win in Victorian Premier Cricket, defeating Casey-South Melbourne in the final over of their T20 clash. FOR MORE SPORT, VISIT Web: Northern Star Weekly @starweeklysport @star_weekly Bundoora United celebrate the wicket of Jack Jerabek.

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SPORT Craigieburn regroups back in familiar territory Craigieburn is looking to regroup after a tough Essendon District Football League premier division season. The Eagles went without a win this year after coming up from division 1, hurt by a number of premiership players leaving the club and key injuries to others. Eagles coach Peter Bugden said while it was a tough season, a number of their younger players would benefit from the experience gained in the top division. “We survived premier division football,” he said. “Yes we have gone straight back down, but we lost eight premiership players when we went up.

“We had major injuries to Aaron Kite, Ryan Bongetti and Josh Young. We were in games for quarters and halves. We just didn’t have the frontline talent across the board.” This off season has been a very different one, with the Eagles busy on the recruiting front. Heading back to division 1, they have added several players, with 15 having already put clearances in to join the club. Bugden said he hoped there would be another two or three big names to come. Dean Limbach and Shannon Smith lead the signings for the Eagles. Bugden said Limbach, who was drafted by Richmond and spent time playing in the VFL, would provide a key target

up forward, while Shannon Smith would help provide leadership. Others to put in clearances are Jack Chapman, Aydin Kesici, Adam Bardan, Nathan Bourke, Luke Chapman, Benjamin Gibson, Josh Dall’Est, Boston Haehae, Rick Williams, Beau Vowles, Jesse Martini, Salvartore Scuderi, Giordano Scuderi, Liam Middleton and Korey Kesici. Bugden said the man doing all the hard work behind the scenes is Lance Whitnall. Whitnall, a former AFL player, has joined the club as its senior football manager and will also be an assistant coach. Bugden said Whitnall deserves a lot of

credit for the new signings. Former Epping and Mernda coach Steve Power will also be part of the coaching set-up. The Eagles have lost Jeremy Page and Josh Young. Page is returning to his old club Whittlesea where he is nine games away from life membership, while Young has moved to EDFL rival Jacana. In another good sign, the club will also have an under-19 team, again after failing to field a team this year. Bugden said they already had 24 players interested in playing in the under-19 side. Tara Murray

Cannon sweats on draft By Tara Murray Calder Cannons’ Mitchell Podhajski has a nervous week ahead before finding out whether he’s done enough to get himself on an AFL list for next season. Podhajski’s name has been mentioned as a possible draftee, but the man himself isn’t sure whether it will happen or not. “Straight after the combine it was a really weird feeling – there’s nothing more I can do,” he said. “I’m starting to feel pretty nervous … sometimes I think I’ve done enough and other times I’m not sure. “I’ve got my VFL options sorted if it doesn’t work out.” Podhajski started the year looking to cement his spot in the Cannons side after playing eight games last year, and he did exactly that. He finished third in the Cannons’ best and fairest and was named in the TAC Cup team of the year. Podhajski said he was happy with how his season panned out. “I got into the squad and I trained hard and I put on a bit of size,” he said. “I didn’t limit what I could achieve this year. I didn’t set my goals too high and I was keen to reach those goals. “I progressed each week.” The first goal for Podhajski was to make the Vic Metro squad and play at least one game – which he did. With still half a season left after the national championship, Podhajski wasn’t going to rest on his laurels. “There was still a long way to go in the season,” he said. “I wasn’t happy to settle with that and would have regretted not pushing myself and continuing to play well.” As the season wound down Podhajski continued to work hard ahead of the national combine and aimed to bring down his two kilometre time trial. He said the combine was an unusual situation. “For me it’s probably the only chance I will speak to clubs. They know what my performances are like, so it was about impressing them with my personality. “I thought I did well.” The 18-year-old, who is studying at university, said if he doesn’t get selected he won’t be giving up on his dream of playing AFL just yet. “I’ve already put in how many years and I’ve worked really hard since under-16s and especially the last 12 months. “I’m not going to drop the bundle if I don’t get picked up this year. There’s still plenty of years to go.”

Mitchell Podhajski has his fingers crossed he’s done enough to get drafted. (Damian Visentini) 14 NORTHERN STAR WEEKLY \ NOVEMBER 21, 2017

Ryan Pearson put in another strong performance at the top of the order. (Mark Wilson)

Bats finish the job Plenty Valley was among the big winners in the Victorian Sub-district Cricket Association on a weather-marred day on Saturday. With wet weather during the week and a storm hitting Melbourne in the late afternoon, only three of the north-west division matches were completed. After a dominant day one display against Werribee, the Bats had the time to seal their third win for the season on Saturday. Resuming at 1-44, needing 157 for victory, it was a steady batting performance for the top and middle order. Simon Bray and Ryan Pearson resumed on day two and picked up where they had left off the week before, putting on 38 to start the day. Pearson fell for 40 and then Bray 11 runs later for 46 to give the Tigers some hope, but it was short-lived. Daniel Heatley lost his wicket for 36 with victory in sight, but it didn’t matter with the Bats hitting the winning runs just before tea, finishing 4-156. The win takes the Bats to third on the ladder. Kew and Brunswick were the other two teams to get wins before the rain hit. The Bats face Taylors Lakes over the next two weekends, before playing the undefeated Brunswick team. Meanwhile, Saturday’s storms also played havoc with the Bats’ Victorian Premier Cricket women’s side. The Bats’ match against Melbourne was abandoned without a ball being bowled because of the ground condition. Tara Murray



Son of a gun prepares to live the AFL dream

Patrick Naish is about to realise his dream of playing AFL. (Shawn Smits)

Northern Knights’ Patrick Naish is waiting on the AFL national draft like many other teenagers around the country. While the fate of many are unknown, Naish knows he’s almost guaranteed to be selected, it’s just a matter of which team he’ll go to. Richmond has nominated Naish as a father-son pick. And while Naish said going to the Tigers would be a dream come true he knows the move isn’t guaranteed and another club could swoop on him earlier in the draft. Either way, he’s happy. If he is picked up by the Tigers, he will be following in the footsteps of his father Chris Naish, who played 143 games for the yellow and black. “I’ve barracked for them my whole life,” Naish said last week. “I was chatting to dad the other day about it and we were saying I’ve just about reached my

dream of hopefully getting drafted. “To play at Richmond is a dream, even to play AFL is one.” Naish, who has spent some time at Richmond over the past year, said his experiences at the club had helped his football. “I spent a couple of weeks in the pre-season getting to know everyone and getting to know myself in an elite environment,” he said. “I was with them all day, every day. I spent a lot of time with the backline group and guys like Brandon Ellis were really good helping me out. I went in and did revision sessions throughout the year and got in there whenever I could.” The 18-year-old this year combined Northern Knights, school football and being part of the AFL academy. He admits it was difficult at times. “The key thing was to be organised,” he said.

Jaguars on the front foot By Tara Murray Jacana is in a solid position against Roxburgh Park in the Victorian Turf Cricket Association’s north A1 match. In a battle between the only two Hume-based teams in the A1 division, it was the Jaguars who came out on top after day one. They made 199 after being sent in, bowled out in the 65th over. Jaguars’ captain-coach Luke Macumber said it was a decent score to set the Falcons. “The pitch was unfavorable for batting so we were pretty happy with it,” he said. “Everyone chipped in. We had three guys who made 30-odd and another couple of guys made 20-odd. “Everyone played their role.” Wicketkeeper Jesse Sawbridgeworth top-scored with 39. Rain meant the Falcons innings couldn’t get under way. Despite missing Rhys Brown through injury, Macumber, who made 34, said he was confident they could bowl the Falcons out to get the win. “I think we’ve got enough bowlers to get the job done. We want to play finals … so it’s a win we need to get.” Macumber, who is in his first year at the club, said it had been a little bit challenging at times. The top side sits 1-2 and outside the top four. “I’d say the season has been 50-50 at this point,” he said. “We had one game when we only had 10 players as someone didn’t show up and that hurt. “We’ve had to move a guy on, but we’ve had really good numbers at training and things are going well.” Macumber said if they can win another two or three games before Christmas it will put them in a good position to finish in the top four. All the other grades were affected by rain at the weekend, with many sides to resume batting on day two. In the senior division, Tullamarine found the going tough against Spotswood. The Demons struggled all day and at 8-79 looked like they might not even pass triple figures. With the tail wagging, the Demons finished the day at 9-103. Opener David Manktelow top-scored with 31. Greenvale Kangaroos made 5-190 against Doutta Stars before play for the day was called off. Anthony Barton was 87 not out. Craigieburn had its struggles with the bat against Aberfeldie in north-west division. Craigieburn was bowled out for 122. Captain Sammy Laffan top-scored with 36. In north-west A1, Westmeadows was 4-136 when the rain hit against Altona Roosters. Danny Law top-scored with 58 for Westmeadows.

Warren Dix provided a handy contribution at the top of the order. (Marco De Luca)

“I’m not the most organised bloke and I had to adapt. I got used to it as the year went on. “I’ve played with a lot of enjoyment this year,” he said. “I was playing with my mates for the last time and I let results take care of themselves. “Everyone puts pressure on themselves with football, I just wanted to enjoy it.” Naish, who plays prominently as a midfielder, knows he has work ahead of him before stepping onto the AFL stage. With school exams out of the way, he said he would try and relax and spend time with family, his girlfriend and friends before the draft. “I was a midfielder as a kid and enjoy playing on the wing,” he said. “I enjoyed playing a bit forward and I see myself as a versatile player. Tara Murray

Broncos look to US imports Hume City Broncos have announced the signing of two imports for next year’s Big V women’s state championship season. After a disappointing 2017, which was affected by import changes and player unavailability, the Broncos are keen to regain their place at the top of the competition. Americans Lisa Murphy and Kelly Hardeman will join the existing core group of players at the club. Murphy comes to the Broncos after an impressive college career, during which she broke the NCAA record for field goal percentage. She was named first team American twice and led Carnegie Mellon University to a conference title this year. She’s currently playing in Denmark. She’ll be joined at the Broncos by Hardeman, who graduated from college last year. During her time at college, she was named PacWest division player of the year and in the All PacWest first team of the year for three years running. Hardeman has also had a stint playing in Denmark. Broncos coach Michael Thomas said the two would add to what is an already strong line-up. “The club is very pleased to have two quality people and players in Kelly and Lisa join our program,” Thomas said. “They are mobile athletes and will make an impact at both ends of the floor and are a great fit for the style of play that will characterise the Lady Broncos’ effort in 2018.” Viv Saad, Mua Laloifi, Nicole Zammit, Sophie Byrnes and Nikki Spencer have all signalled their intentions to return. Thomas said that group, along with Jess Azzopardi, Hannah Mrakov, Ellen Wright and Jamie Germaine-Gray, who have all tasted state championship basketball, would give the club confidence it could play finals again. Broncos’ director of women’s coaching Glen Milner said the club had the right foundations in place across its two women’s sides for an exciting future. Tim Devlin will coach the youth league women’s side. “Tim is proving to be a great acquisition and is working well with Mick to assess and develop our home-grown talent, while having our under-18 and under-16 coaches Brooke Davenport and Antonio Lewis also assist at the Big V level strengthens the bridge to our under-age program.” Ebony Sans and Tegan Hindle have joined the youth league side. Tara Murray 15 NORTHERN STAR WEEKLY \ NOVEMBER 21, 2017

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