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Dirty pool problem By Laura Michell Hume council is spending close to $500 a week on aqua nappies in a bid to prevent ‘code brown’ incidents at Craigieburn’s Splash Aqua Park and Leisure Centre. The $35.5 million centre has been closed six times as a result of faecal incidents in its toddler and leisure pools since it was opened on October 2. The most recent closure was on January 19 as families flocked to the pool to escape the heat. In a bid to combat the problem, the council began offering free aqua nappies to patrons just before Christmas. Centre staff also installed additional signs and began providing multilingual brochures advising of the importance of swimming nappies.


If you visit the centre, please follow the pool etiquette - Daryl Whitford


School rules for a Newbury lad

(Shawn Smits)

The council said these incidents were not typically experienced at the municipality’s other aqua centres in Broadmeadows and Sunbury. It said the cost of cleaning the pools after an incident could be anywhere between $500 to $2000. Pools need to be closed to ensure proper disinfection and chemical treatment, with the cleaning time ranging from 30 minutes to 12 hours. Council’s corporate services director Daryl Whitfort said all patrons needed to “do the right thing”. “We are calling on Splash patrons, especially those with young children … to take appropriate measures to ensure their children have appropriate pool attire, including aqua nappies for younger children or not attend the centre if they are unwell,” he said. “The Splash Aqua Park and Leisure Centre is a fantastic facility for the whole of our community to enjoy, so if you visit the centre, please follow the pool etiquette and water safety rules so that everyone can go home happy and safely.” The closures have frustrated swimmers, with many taking to Facebook following the most recent closure. Some described the incident as “vile” and “disgusting”, while others called for the council to implement a no nappy, no swim policy at the centre.

For five-year-old Nykolas, next Wednesday can’t come soon enough. The Craigieburn boy has eagerly been counting down the days until he starts school, even asking Santa to bring him money instead of toys for Christmas so he could buy his school uniform. Nykolas will be among the new prep students starting at Newbury Primary School. Two new schools will open in Hume and Whittlesea this year, easing the pressure on existing schools. Oscar Romero Primary School will open in Craigieburn, providing a third Catholic primary school for the suburb, while Edgars Creek Secondary College will open in Epping North. Laura Michell

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Suburbs boom as prices take off By Laura Michell Epping, Mill Park and Doreen have been named as suburbs to watch this year, with the Real Estate Institute of Victoria tipping them to be among Melbourne’s strongest property markets. The suburbs were among 10 named by the REIV, following steady price rises in 2017. President Richard Simpson said Epping recorded some of Melbourne’s highest auction activity in 2017, with more than 350 houses under than hammer and a clearance rate of 85

per cent. The median house price rose more than 20 per cent last year, reaching $633,000 in December. “Strong buyer demand in Melbourne’s outer ring has boosted values in the suburb. Homes sold by private sale have also been highly sought after with properties selling in a median of 30 days in November,” Mr Simpson said. In Mill Park median prices rose 21 per cent to $687,500 in 2017, and the REIV expected the suburb to remain popular with buyers this year. Mr Simpson said the private sale market in


I think its affordability is attracting buyers

Mill Park was one of the best in Melbourne, with houses selling in a median of just 25 days. In Doreen, prices rose 12 per cent last year to $612,000. Mr Simpson said the Mernda rail extension project was helping to drive up house prices in the suburb, despite it being 30 kilometres from the city.

Class action over toxic fire gathers pace

Club serves up an ace

Close to 180 residents and businesses from Coolaroo and Dallas have registered to become part of a class action against the operators of a recycling plant at the centre of a toxic blaze last year. The lawsuit against SKM Services, which owns and operates the Coolaroo Recycling Plant, was filed in the Supreme Court by Maddens Lawyers last July, just days after the July 13 blaze. It is seeking compensation for residents and businesses for loss and damage that occurred as a result of the fire. Madden Lawyers principal Brendan Pendergast said many businesses in Coolaroo and Dallas were significantly impacted as they were forced to close their doors and cease trading for a number of days. He said the impact of the fire on businesses included loss of income associated with the forced closure, damage to equipment and stock from smoke, soot and ash, and extensive cleaning costs. Mr Pendergast said some businesses had reported losses in excess of $200,000. The fire at SKM’s Maffra Street plant shrouded parts of the northern suburbs in smoke and forced Dallas residents out of their homes. Five people, including a four-year-old girl, were taken to hospital with smoke-induced conditions, while another eight were treated at a community relief centre. SKM filed its defence against the lawsuit late last year, with the matter set to return to court in June.

For the past five years, Andrew MacNeill has been determined to help West Lalor Tennis Club grow. Mr MacNeill joined the club 20 years ago after hearing about it through friends, and five years ago, joined its committee to lend a hand. Two and a half years ago, he was elected president. In recent years, the club’s membership has grown from around 100 members to around 430 registered members, while a new court booking system has been introduced and work has started on improving facilities. Last year, the club was named one of Tennis Victoria’s top 50 clubs and was a finalist in the Victorian Tennis Awards. Mr MacNeill’s role in the club’s growth was recognised recently, with Tennis Victoria naming him as one of three Victorian Community Champions. Tennis Victoria said West Lalor’s growth was “mainly due” to Mr MacNeill’s innovations and hard work, adding that he had secured sponsors for the club, new signage to increase awareness of its location and helped grow its social media presence. Mr MacNeill said the award was recognition of the hard work by the club’s committee over the years. “To feel that I’m doing something which helps everyone play tennis, helps the club grow and helps the community, it’s great to be recognised for all that work put in,” he said. The club will hold an open day on Saturday, February 3, from 11am-2pm. There will be plenty of activities and a free barbecue lunch. At Kingsway Drive, Lalor. Details: /westlalor Laura Michell


- Ryan Di Natale

The list of suburbs to watch comes as the REIV reveals its top-10 Melbourne growth suburbs for 2017 – including Thomastown and Lalor. The median price in Thomastown rose 29 per cent last year, to $688,000, while in Lalor prices rose by more than 26 per cent to $699,000. Love Real Estate Thomastown director Ryan Di Natale said prices in Lalor have been steadily climbing for the past three years. “I think its affordability is attracting buyers. It is still one of the most affordable areas in the northern corridor,” he said.

Andrew MacNeill with Ava, 8, Emily, 5, and Connor, 3. (Shawn Smits)

Laura Michell

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Now screening near you Hundreds of families are expected to flock to Craigieburn next month for the annual Highlands movie night. Organised by Highlands Residents Group, the open-air cinema will include a screening of The Boss Baby Baby, as well as a sausage sizzle and children’s activities, including a jumping castle and music. The event raises money for the group’s events, as well as local charities and Craigieburn Scouts. Highlands Residents Group president Stuart Hodgson said the evening was popular with families.

“We are really looking to capitalise on the success of previous years and the response from the community has been fantastic,” he said. “We wouldn’t do this for the community without [the Scouts]. The movie will be held at Highlands Lake Reserve, North Shore Drive, Craigieburn, on Saturday, February 10 from 7pm. Tickets are $5 or $18 for two adults and two children. To book, visit: Laura Michell

Ausdance Victoria will host free dance workshops in Doreen and Mernda in February and March. The sessions, which will be held every Wednesday from February 7 to March 28, are open to people of all ages and abilities. Parents and bubs sessions will be held at Orchard Road Community and Early Learning Centre, Doreen, from 10am, while adult sessions will be held at Waterview Pavilion in Mernda from 1.30pm. Details: 9217 2172

Council out and about

Whittlesea council is set to hold a council meeting away from its South Morang civic centre for just the second time. The council’s February 6 meeting will be held at Barry Road Community Activity Centre, 36 Barry Road, Thomastown, from 6.30pm. FOR BREAKING NEWS, VISIT Web: Northern Star Weekly @nstarweekly @star_weekly


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Trio honoured for service By Laura Michell A parachuting safety expert, a tireless community volunteer and a family violence reform advocate – all from Whittlesea – are among those included in this year’s Australia Day honours list. Doreen’s Johannes Chitty and Whittlesea townships’s Marilyn McQualter were admitted to the Order of Australia, while Bundoora’s Claire Waterman received a public service medal. Mr Chitty was recognised for his services to parachuting. He has been involved in the Australian parachuting industry since 1964. “I was a teenager and went to the local parachuting club in Chapel Street, Prahran. I found out I was too young to jump, but I hung around and learnt how to pack parachutes,” Mr Chitty said.“When I was old enough to jump, I did my one jump and realised it was much easier to pack the parachutes than unpack them in the air.” From there, Mr Chitty worked at a Moorabbin parachute company during the Vietnam war helping to make and pack military parachutes. He is also heavily involved in rigging, working to teach others how to pack, set up and repair parachutes, has helped design a new safety harness and is a member of the Australian Parachute Federation. Mr Chitty said he enjoyed learning about the technical side of parachuting and working with others to improve safety. Long-time Whittlesea resident Mrs McQualter was recognised for her service to the community. She has lived in Whittlesea for 35 years. Mrs McQualter is a volunteer with the Moira Kelly Creating Hope Foundation, helping to

Johannes Chitty and Marilyn McQualter were admitted to the Order of Australia. (Pictures: Shawn Smits)

look after children and acting as Ms Kelly’s personal assistant. She also volunteers with Oriel House, the Whittlesea Country Women’s Association, and is the welfare officer for the Rotary Club of Whittlesea. In 2015, she was named as Whittlesea’s citizen of the year. Mrs McQualter said volunteering was “very

important to her”, adding that she enjoyed giving back to the community. She is particularly passionate about helping children, having volunteered with the creating hope foundation for 20 years. “I enjoy my role as the foundation helps the children the rest of the world forgot,” Mrs McQualter said.

Bundoora’s Ms Waterman was honoured for her work in bringing about family violence system reforms. Her work has contributed to improved policy, legislation, training and advice on a whole-of-government level, resulting in enhance safety measures to support survivors and holding perpetrators of violence to account.



Fired up for a fast start

Ring Road set for rebuild

By Laura Michell New CFA recruit Nick Gardener didn’t have to wait long to fight his first fire. The newest member of Greenvale CFA’s team started at the station on Christmas Eve and found himself at his first fire just one day later. While the new firefighter and his team were not required to do much at the house fire, he said his adrenaline was pumping by the time he arrived at the scene. Mr Gardener is one of 81 new firefighters who joined the CFA in December after completing a 20-week training course.


I still get to work in a small team … and I am still - Nick Gardener serving


The Craigieburn, Sunbury and South Morang brigades were among those to welcome the graduates. A further 40 new recruits joined the MFB. Mr Gardener said the rigorous training program included a mix of theory and drills covering topics such as hot fire training, responding to rescues and the management of hazardous materials. He said his previous army training had helped him through the course, especially when it came to working in small teams. Mr Gardener said he decided to pursue a career in firefighting after 15 years in the army because he wanted his family to settle in Victoria. “I have a son and I wanted to follow a different career path for him,” he said. “Basically, in the army, you have to move around every three years.

Greenvale CFA recruit Nick Gardener. (Marco De Luca)

“Coming into this job, I still get to work in a small team and I am still serving as well, which I enjoyed in the army.” CFA chief officer Steve Warrington said the recruits completed a new course designed to provide CFA and MFB firefighters with the same skills and knowledge.

“The recruits have completed a rigorous program that gives them the ideal preparation to fulfil their critical duty of protecting lives and property,” he said. “They are also well-prepared to engage and work with the communities they serve – an equally important skill.”

The last stage of the M80 Ring Road upgrade – stretching from Sydney Road to the Greensborough Highway – is expected to start later this year. The work will complete the road’s $2.25 billion upgrade and is expected to be finished by late 2021. The upgrade will focus on a four-kilometre stretch from Sydney Road to Edgars Road. Dedicated lanes will be built from the M80 to Edgars and Sydney roads to remove the dangerous weaving that currently exists with drivers coming off the Craigieburn Bypass. A two-kilometre section of the road from Plenty Road to the Greensborough Highway will be upgraded from two lanes to three, while the highway interchange will also be upgraded. Roads Minister Luke Donnellan said the work would improve traffic flow. “This upgrade project will improve safety and reduce congestion for the 160,000 drivers who use this freeway each day, delivering better journeys for drivers, freight operations and the local community,” he said. Mr Donnellan said the road will remain open during the works, with lane closures to be confined to off-peak times where possible. The final stage of the upgrade is expected to cost $290 million and will be jointly funded by the state and federal governments. Laura Michell


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Urgency call on roads revamp By Laura Michell Whittlesea and Hume councils are calling on the state government to fund “desperately needed” road upgrades in the northern suburbs as part of this year’s budget. The councils have made a joint submission to Treasurer Tim Pallas seeking a northern outer suburban arterial roads package. They want the government to put up funding to duplicate and upgrade Bridge Inn, Childs and Epping roads; the duplications of Edgars, Donnybrook, Craigieburn, Mickleham and

Somerton roads; and the extension and duplication of Findon Road. The councils have been campaigning for a number of years to have the nine roads upgraded, warning that they are unable to accommodate the region’s rapid population growth. Hume mayor Geoff Porter said the roads package would deliver “desperately needed roads” for the northern growth corridor. He said the requested package would cut travel times, improve road safety and better connect communities in key growth corridors.

Hume council criticised the government last year for overlooking duplication of Craigieburn, Mickleham and Somerton roads in the 2017-18 budget, saying the community had been “left hanging”. Whittlesea mayor Kris Pavlidis said the roads package needed to be funded this year as many of the key roads across both municipalities were unable to meet the demands of large and increasing volumes of traffic. “Existing infrastructure is not coping with significant residential and industrial growth, creating costly delays,” she said.

“The City of Whittlesea and Hume City are experiencing unprecedented population growth and are developing as key economic hubs. Improved road infrastructure is desperately needed to keep our cities and state moving.” The submission follows a 2016 warning from Infrastructure Victoria that the drive from Epping to Melbourne’s CBD is predicted to take one hour and 45 minutes by 2046 unless congestion is addressed. The independent advisory body said the commute currently takes about 60 minutes.

Meet your next fur baby Anyone considering adopting a pet can head to Sunbury PETstock on Sunday – National Pet Adoption Day – to learn about the process and meet potential furry family members. The Sunbury store is home to rescue animals who have been left at Woodend’s Pets Haven animal shelter. After loving working alongside the rescue pets at the shop for years, Sunbury PETstock employee Kristen Rice adopted her own last year. Kristen and her partner Ty adore their rescue pet, Lenny, who is a blue, domestic shorthair cat. “We love him,” Kristen said. “He’s the most affectionate cat in the world.” “He sleeps on my head nearly every night – or he sleeps between us.” Kristen said for an unknown reason Lenny only has half an ear, which makes the couple love him even more.

Kristen said they would encourage anyone who is thinking about adopting a pet to come into the store and find out more. Pet adoption experts from local animal rescue groups will be at Sunbury PETstock, 85 Vineyard Road, from 10am-2pm on Sunday, February 4. Serena Seyfort

Sunbury store owner and manager Stephanie Duggan with a couple of domestic kittens. (Marco De Luca)

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MY PLACE Amanda Radovic helped launch Mernda Parkrun last June, giving the communities of Mernda and Doreen a chance to meet their neighbours while exercising. She speaks with Laura Michell. We live in Doreen. We moved here from Greensborough in 2011, so coming up for seven years.

Why do you think it is important to have community sessions?

The roads. Plenty Road and Yan Yean Road are so congested – it takes ages to travel anywhere.

Parkrun isn’t so much an exercise session, but rather a community activity. It’s as much about running as it is about families going for a gentle stroll, as it is about volunteers coming along and helping and being involved in their local community. My father only ever volunteers at parkrun – he never participates in the running or walking – yet he looks forward to it as much as my super competitive running brother and husband. What is so magical about parkrun is that it is all-inclusive. It doesn’t matter your pace, your form or technique. What matters is that the community is getting together, people are getting out in the fresh air and moving – and making friends in the process.

How did you become involved with parkrun?

Why do you think parkrun is so popular?

In January, 2016, Sarah, a friend of mine, told me about this “awesome” thing called parkrun in Diamond Creek. She explained that it was a timed five-kilometre run every Saturday at 8am and it was free because it’s run by volunteers. So I came along with my daughter and Sarah to try it out. My mind was blown – it was an awesome experience. Diamond Creek is a very busy parkrun – they often get in excess of 300 runners and walkers. So in May, we tried out the newly launched Lalor Parkrun. By the end of the year, I was a run director at Lalor Parkrun and was entertaining the idea of founding a parkrun in my own neighbourhood. Initially, we had a course set in Doreen, until one of the parkrun event ambassadors mentioned the possibility of the Mernda course.

Because it’s so simple. You register once, it’s on every Saturday at 8am and you come as often or as little as you wish. It’s family friendly – you’ll see families pushing kids in pushers, people walking or running with their dogs, fast runners, mid-paced runners, slow runners, walkers, strollers. It’s such a positive way to start your weekend.

What do you like about the area? I love the country feel in the suburbs. The community is friendly and we have lots of open spaces to enjoy the great outdoors. I love running and walking and the area is perfect for it. What, if anything, would you change?

What is your favourite local place to spend time? Mernda Parkrun - I mean it. At parkrun, we call Saturday “parkrunday” … it’s our favourite day of the week. We get to spend it at the beautiful park, with friends from our local community, and get the high from going for a run, too.

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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.

Farmers market

Visit the Merrifield Farmers’ Market on Saturday, February 3, 8.30am-12.30pm, to browse stalls from some of the best local food producers. At the corner of Balmain Road and St Georges Boulevard. ■

Make music

Visit Broadmeadows Civic Plaza until Sunday, February 4, and make some music on a piano installed in the plaza by Arts Centre Melbourne. The piano is one of 20 in public locations across Melbourne as part of the international Play Me, I’m Yours exhibition. At 1093 Pascoe Vale Road. ■

Book sale

Peruse thousands of pre-loved books at Craigieburn library’s book sale on Saturday, February 3, 10am-1pm. Take home a bag of books for a gold coin donation. At 75-95 Central Park Avenue. ■ 9356 6980

Boomerang bags

Join volunteers at Thomastown library on Tuesday, February 6, 10am-noon, to make boomerang bags. The bags, which are made from upcycled materials, are made for a community bag-share program. At 52 Main Street. ■ 9464 1864


Summer reading club

Celebrate the end of Hume Libraries’ summer reading club with a magic show at The Age Library, 1093 Pascoe Vale Road, Broadmeadows, on Monday, February 5, 4-5pm. ■ 9356 6900

Open day

Visit Mill Park Tennis Club on Sunday, February 4, and take part in the club’s open day. There will be tennis activities

The B&D Smart Phone Garage Control Kit allows you to control and monitor your garage door via your smart phone device from wherever you are – at home or in the office. One lucky reader will win a ControlA-Door (new motor) with B&D AutoLock installed, plus a Smart Phone Kit (turning it into an additional remote control). To enter, click on the WIN tab at www. and follow the prompts. Entries close at 11:59 pm on Sunday, February 4 and will be drawn the next day at 380 City Road, Southbank, 3006. Entrants must be over 18 years old and reside in Victoria. See our Competition Terms & Conditions for more details. All winners will be contacted direct by the prize supplier within seven days of the winners being drawn.

Outdoor cinema

Make your way to Roxburgh Park’s Homestead Community and Learning Centre, 30 Whiltshire Drive, on Saturday, February 3, for a free screening of Moana. The movie is part of Hume council’s summer sessions movie series. There will be food stalls and fun from 6pm, with the movie kicking off at 7pm. BYO chair or rug. ■


for all ages and abilities. At 280 Gordons Road, South Morang, 10am-noon. ■ 9401 4223

Volunteer youth mentors

Raise Foundation is seeking mentors from Whittlesea and Hume to work with high school students for two hours per week during terms two and three. Mentors need to be over 21 and have a genuine interest in working with young people. ■



A Christmas bite of the Big Apple By Ewen McRae There’s something magical about Christmas in New York. While in Australia we’re used to scorching heat, swimming pools and street cricket on December 25, we still grow up with every Christmas movie showing us a white Christmas and a jolly Santa in a thick coat. I ventured over in December to experience Christmas and New Years in the Big Apple, and with high expectations it met every one. Obviously flights and accommodation are inflated at this time of year, so it’s important to be organised if you’re thinking of doing this trip. Look to book your flights when there’s a deal or sale on in the middle of the year, and keep an eye on hotels or Air BnB rates in the lead up, you can grab a bargain if you’re looking at the right time. I was able to get an Air BnB apartment in the East Village for about $180 a night, which is about as good as it gets if you plan to stay in Manhattan, and that’s the perfect location to get anywhere and also escape the midtown crowds. If you’re there on Christmas Eve it’s well worth heading up to the Rockefeller Plaza to mingle with the crowds under the famous Christmas tree. I was standing under the tree when it started to snow and you feel like you’re in one of so many Christmas movies. It’s a nice chilled way to start the celebrations. It’s worth mentioning early that you will need to pack warm, with most days hovering around -4 and nights dropping further as the wind picks up. Christmas Day in New York gives the chance to do things a bit differently, and since I was travelling solo I decided to take in the traditional NBA game at Madison Square

Garden, with the New York Knicks a feature of every Christmas in the city. If you have the chance to head along I would highly recommend it, the atmosphere is electric. The city itself is pretty quiet on Christmas

Day (I went to an Australian expat bar to spend the day with fellow travellers and watch the Boxing Day Test), but the days following provide plenty of chances to get out and experience the holidays in one of the world’s great cities. If shopping is what you’re looking for, head

up 5th and 6th Avenue and you’ll find pretty much anything you could want, or to escape the worst of the crowds head down to SoHo and get yourself some new threads. The Empire State Building is always worth checking out, but if you don’t want to wait

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Opposite page: New York City skyline. Above, clockwise from left: Rockerfeller Plaza Christmas tree; Skating in Central Park; Brooklyn Bridge; Washington Square Park; Times Square, New York; Central Park; Museum of Natural History; NBA game at Madison Square Garden. (Pictures: Ewen McRae)

in lines for an hour and still want that photo of the New York skyline, visit the top of the Rockefeller Centre. You can book online and just show up at your allocated time. A couple of short lines and you’re up on the top for the views. This also has the advantage of getting the Empire State Building in your photos. If you’re at Rockefeller, it’s only a short walk to the bottom of Central Park to go ice skating – if that’s your thing – or wander through the park towards some of the best museums

around. The MET and the Museum of Natural History are quite close to each other, about 15 minutes walk up the park. No trip to New York would be complete without a walk over the Brooklyn Bridge, so wait for a clear day and make the trek over. Not just an amazing engineering feat, it also has great views across the river towards Manhattan. While you’re on the other side, go and explore Brooklyn and Williamsburg, the latter of which is one of my favourite parts of the city

with a wide variety of bars, cafes and shopping to pique any interest. In terms of nights out, you’re spoilt for choice. The East Village has a number of small bars with great craft beer, there’s the chance to catch a show on Broadway, or head to the Comedy Cellar for one of their iconic underground comedy nights. If you’re still in New York at New Years you’re very lucky. If you want to see the ball drop in Times Square, be warned. It is ridiculously packed,

and you’re stuck outside on a freezing night with no chance of getting out. I opted for one of a number of New Years packages at a bar downtown. Do some research on what you’re looking for (rooftop, club, dive bar etc) and you’re sure to find some good drinks packages, DJs or bands to ring in the new year in style. On top of all that there’s still the Statue of Liberty, Chelsea Pier/Market, the World Trade Centre Memorial, Wall Street, and infinitely more to make for an unforgettable time in an amazing city.

Don’t be the odd one out Keep up to date with all your local news........print, online and facebook

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Lalor Warriors have already conceded first innings points against Holy Trinity in the North Metro Cricket Association’s Jika Shield. The Warriors were bowled out for just 82, with Todd Hughes top scoring with 26. Holy Trinity was 8-136 at stumps. Rivergum has a fight on its hands against North Brunswick/Rosebank. The ladder leaders were bowled out for 139, with James Bonnici top scoring with 38. North Brunswick/Rosebank was 1-12 at stumps.

By Tara Murray


Plenty Power got the win against Bundoora United in Diamond Valley Cricket Association’s Money Shield. Starting the match on Australia Day and finishing on Saturday, the Power made 3-187 with 12 overs to spare in reply to United’s 8-182. Mathew Ross made 96 not out for United. Meanwhile, the rest of the DVCA games started on Saturday and will finish this weekend. Lalor Stars have already claimed first innings points against Mill Park, while Mernda is 1-8 chasing Lower Plenty’s 135. In the Barclay Shield, Epping needs 260 against Riverside, Bundoora made 158 against Diamond Creek, while Old Paradians need 190 against Montmerency. FOR MORE SPORT, VISIT Web: Northern Star Weekly @starweeklysport @star_weekly Haseeb Qureshi top scored for Greenvale Kangaroos in what was a disappointing day. (Damien Visentini)







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It was a nightmare for Greenvale Kangaroos on Saturday in Victorian Premier Cricket as they stare down the barrel of an outright defeat against Fitzroy Doncaster. The Kangaroos struggled with the bat after being sent in and were bowled out for just 99 in 55 overs against the second placed side who is fighting for the minor premiership. The Kangaroos started poorly and were 3-5 and then 4-13, before a mini-comeback. They then lost 4-3 to crumble from 5-85 to 9-88 and were out a short time later. Haseeb Qureshi top scored with 39, as just three players reached double figures. Fitzroy Doncaster wasted no time getting the runs making 4-120 in 31 overs. The Kangaroos got an early wicket, but there was little joy after that with James Rosewarne the pick of the bowlers for the Kangaroos with two wickets. Instead of batting out the remaining overs of the day, Fitzroy Doncaster decided to declare with a lead of 21, making the Kangaroos face five overs before stumps. If the Kangaroos’ day thought it couldn’t get worse, it was about to, on the back of a brilliant spell from Trent Lawford. Lawford took 3-6 off three overs, to have the Kangaroos in trouble at 3-6, still 15 runs behind Fitzroy Doncaster with a day to play. Lawford finished the day with eight wickets, having done the damage in the first innings as well. Zaheer Hussain and James Grixti are the not out batsmen for the Kangaroos.


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SPORT Pingers counter departures with signings, optimism

Jordan Wilkins will return from injury this year. (Shawn Smits)

Epping expects to be among the mix come finals time in Northern Football League division 3 despite a number of off-season changes. The Pingers, who were knocked out in the preliminary final last year, have lost a third of their players. Coach Greg Whitcroft said there were a number of different reasons for the turnover. “We’ve probably lost eight players from the finals side last year,” he said. “Daniel Moore has moved interstate for work and Shane Wood has retired, while Aaron Willitt has gone to play in the country. “I was disappointed some other players couldn’t see it through.” While several players have left, the Pingers have signed several to step into the side. Among the signings are Lalor’s Jason Kelly, goal-kicker Sage Dicello and Reed Jepson.

Jordan Wilkins, who was part of the Pingers’ grand final side in 2016 while still playing under-16s, returns after missing last year with injury. On top of that, Whitcroft expects some of the club’s younger talent to keep progressing. “Bill Hughes, Jake Perry and Dallayce Taylor are all going quite well at training,” he said. “They’re getting better and better. I think we’ll be quite a young, fast side which is quite competitive.” Whitcroft said the Pingers were also likely to field an under-17 team this year, unlike last year. The loss of Willitt, who led the Pingers in goal-kicking last year, means the senior side will have a different forward set-up for the coming season. Whitcroft said they would look to have a more even spread up front.

“At times we were too Aaron-centric,” he said. “He’s a good player, but we went to him too often and didn’t use other forwards enough – it made us a predictable side.” Whitcroft said the club was still talking to a number of players and hoped to announce a few more signings in coming weeks. “It’s still a little unknown at the moment,” he said. “We’re still looking to add another four or five players. We’re in negotiations with some good players. “With what we have now, I think we will still challenge. If we get what we want, we’ll be in right in the mix.” Epping will kick off its season against Reservoir on April 7. Tara Murray

Eagles learn how to win By Tara Murray The results are starting to go Craigieburn’s way in Victorian Turf Cricket Association north-west. Promoted during the off-season, the Eagles had been in all their matches but one before Christmas, but had struggled to get the results. A win in November and one in the first round back after Christmas were big confidence boosters for the side. Eagles playing coach Chris Laffan said having a more settled side had helped them feel more at home in the higher division. “It’s made a difference having our best XI,” he said. “We knocked off Aberfeldie before Christmas and knocked off Druids last round, and both are finals contenders. “It was about getting the first couple of wins, feeling more secure in the division and then playing more of our game. “We are an attacking side and we’re playing that way now.” Backing up the performance against Druids in the previous round, the Eagles secured first-innings points against PEGS on day one on Saturday. The Eagles’ bowlers had a day out, dismissing PEGS for just 56. Laffan said it wasn’t looking that way early in the innings. He said that when PEGS were 0-26, he and captain Sammy Laffan were thinking it was a good day to bat first. “We then got 10-30,” he said. “Mick Bury, Josh Eaton and Daniel English got three wickets each.” Laffan said the inclusion of Eaton, who joined the club early in the season, had given the side a much-needed third strike bowler. “It means you can keep your foot on the throat for longer during the innings and stop that extra 20 to 30 runs,” he said. “He’s young, but he’s just as experienced as everyone else.” With the bowlers having done the job, the Eagles’ batsmen set about getting the runs needed for first-innings points. With weather affecting several matches already this season, Laffan said getting the points on day one was vital. The Eagles finished 6-61. “We lost a couple of wickets in the last couple of overs,” Laffan said. “It would have looked a bit different being four wickets down. He said the side would love to grab an outright victory. “We’ve got an attacking group and we want to keep the momentum going,” he said. An outright win would move the ninth-placed Eagles even further ahead of bottom side Laverton. The Eagles are currently five and half points clear of bottom place. 14 NORTHERN STAR WEEKLY \ JANUARY 30, 2018

Bundoora RSL’s Luke Aiello sends one down. (Damjan Janevski)

Bundoora cling to finals’ hopes

Mick Bury was among the wickets for Craigieburn on Saturday. (Damjan Janevski)

In north-west A1, Westmeadows skipper Tarek Moughanie made 152 not out in his side’s 3-276 against Footscray United. The Warriors were well in control at stumps, having United 8-77.

In senior division, Greenvale Kangaroos are in a good position against Tullamarine to get their first win of the season. The Kangaroos bowled the Demons out for 116 and were 1-19 at stumps.

Bundoora RSL suffered a disappointing loss in Bowls Victoria Pennant Premier Division, further denting its top-four hopes. Facing eighth-placed MCC, seventh-placed RSL entered the match as favourites, but it meant little. RSL could not pick up any points in the 84 (18)-58 (0) loss, with at least a margin of four shots in each rink. RSL remains in seventh spot but now only one point clear of MCC. RSL sits 21 points outside the top four. RSL will be hoping to get back on the winners’ list this week against Mentone. It’s not all bad news for RSL; Josh Corless was named in the Victorian side to face South Australia in February and March. In division 1, section 2, ladder leaders Whittlesea were at their best in a win against second-placed Yarra Glen, winning 120 (18)-58 (0). They open up a 25-point lead at the top of the ladder and are 49 points ahead of third-placed Bundoora RSL (2). RSL also had a strong win defeating Diamond Creek 76 (18)-61 (0). In division 2, section 2, ladder leaders Lalor easily accounted for West Coburg. All four Lalor rinks got up in the 115 (18)-62 (0) win. Lalor also got the win in division 2, section 3 along with top side Epping, and Whittlesea (2) and Bundoora RSL (3) both lost. Tara Murray



Hume Bombers are ready to take flight in the EDFL A new football team will take to the field in the Essendon District Football League this year. The Hume Bombers, which were formed late last year, are looking to field at least two junior sides this season. The formation of the club comes on the back of the successful Bombers Gurdawara Craigieburn Auskick Centre, which was set up in 2014 to give Indian children the chance to learn football. Bombers president Avtar Singh said it was an exciting time for the football community in the area. Singh helped set up the Auskick centre and last year received AFL Victoria’s Multicultural play with passion award. “We started the Auskick Centre four years ago,” he said.

“We worked with AFL Victoria and Essendon to establish a multicultural Auskick Centre in Craigieburn and it has slowly grown to field our own club. “A lot of kids and families didn’t know what football was so this is a great achievement. We’re getting people into football and introducing it to the community.” The club will play its home matches at John Laffan Reserve in Donnybrook, and will do some training at Craigieburn. Eventually a new facility is expected to be built as part of the Cloverton estate. Singh said the club was looking to field under-9 and under-13 sides this season and to expand from there. It is looking for coaches, volunteers and players for the upcoming season.

“It will be a challenge and a different experience for us,” he said. “Auskick is different. “We’re looking for people who are interested in getting involved.” Singh was full of praise for the support AFL Victoria, Essendon and now the EDFL had given to get firstly the Auskick centre and now football sides up and running. Essendon club representatives are expected to visit the club in March as part of the AFL Community Camp. Long term, Singh said the club would look to field senior teams. EDFL chairman Brett Scott said the league was proud to accept the application from the club. The application was approved on the basis that the EDFL board was satisfied the club has a real likelihood that it will be able to field two

teams in an open age division and a team or teams in each of the underage competitions conducted by the league within eight years. “We look forward to working with the Hume Bombers to provide exciting opportunities for the Cloverton and Donnybrook community,” Scott said. “Rarely do we get the chance to work with a community to establish a club from the beginning. “With the substantial growth in population and the support of the Hume council and AFL Victoria, the EDFL and the Hume Bombers look forward to the challenge.” For more details go to https://www.facebook. com/Hume-Bombers-479209362287981/ Tara Murray

Young Bats show plenty of promise

Sophie Reid is run out for 19 after a good start for the Bats. (Shawn Smits)

Bats’ total falls short By Tara Murray Plenty Valley has fallen victim to tight bowling from Essendon Maribyrnong Park in Victorian Premier Cricket T20. Looking to get ahead of the ledger in the T20 competition, on Wednesday night the Bats came up against a determined EMP side seeking to do the same. Bats coach Adam Drinkwell said his side was unable to make the most of a good start. “We started well with Rhiann [O’Donnell] and Sophie [Reid],” he said. “We were in a good position after six or seven overs to launch a big assault. “EMP bowled tightly and bowled to their plans … we weren’t able to get any momentum in the last 10 overs. We scampered to 90 off our overs.” Reid top-scored with 19 in the total of 5-90 as five out of the seven batters reached double figures – but none could pass 20. Drinkwell said they thought they were 30 to

40 runs short of having secured a competitive total. That proved to be the case, with the Bombers making 3-93. “We needed to get early wickets if we were any chance,” Drinkwell said. “They got off to a flyer, making 26 off the first three overs. It was hard to slow them down from there.” Providence Cowdrill took 2-15 off four overs to show more positive signs since joining the club midway through the season. Cowdrill has taken 14 wickets in seven games across all grades for the Bats. Drinkwell said he believed her progress would be ongoing. “She took five wickets against Dandenong and she looks to make runs in the middle of the order, so is a good acquisition,” he said. “She’ll be better in the one-dayers when she can settle into a long spell.” The loss leaves the Bats sitting 2-3 with one round of the T20 competition remaining. Drinkwell said they were hoping to square the

ledger this weekend, before taking confidence into the one-dayers. “We are continuing to improve and we are a different team to last year,” he said. “We need to close out games with both the bat and ball.. “We need to settle into the games and play long, hard cricket and learn from the games earlier in the season. “Hopefully, we’ll get a few more wins and get some more confidence.” Meanwhile, in Victorian Sub-District Cricket Association north-west, the Bats have slipped from second to fourth after losing to Yarraville. Despite having 8-298 on the board, the Bats weren’t able to get the win with the Eagles hitting the winning runs in the last over. The Eagles finished 8-298 on the back of a 100 to skipper Matthew Love. Matt Hewat and Ashur Morrison took two wickets each for the Bats. The Bats now sit in fourth, nine points behind Melton.

Plenty Valley’s Victorian Sub-District Cricket Association under-15 Craig Shield campaign came to an end at the quarter final stage last week. After building throughout the group stage, the Bats fell just short against Altona in the quarter finals on Tuesday. The A’s made 8-143 off their overs, with the Bats falling just short, making 9-135. Bats coach James Dickinson said while the side was disappointed to be knocked out of the competition, the players had continued to develop throughout all the games. “We had a very good tournament,” he said. “We lost the first game to Kew and then started to get better and really improved with the batting intent and willingness to score runs. “Things didn’t go our way against Altona. Altona played a little bit better and they got the win. “We thought we could have gone a bit further but it didn’t happen.” For the Bats, it was their two opening batsmen that were the standouts across the tournament. Skipper Jai Lemire and Julian Drohan both averaged at least 40 with the bat. Drohan become the first Bats player to score a century in the history of the Craig/Hatch Shield. Dickinson said both revelled in the chance to open the batting in every game. “Jai is a great batsman who didn’t fail once,” he said. “He’s classy with hands and with the gloves as well. “He came on leaps and bounds. “Julian is seen more as a bowler. He was given the opportunity to open and gained so much confidence. “It’s good reward for the hard work he has done to get there.” Kaiden Arthur was the pick of the bowlers, and also chipped in with 61 in one game. For most of the players it was their first chance to play cricket on turf. Dickinson said he was hopeful that some of these players would make the step in the subbies cricket next season. It was the first foray into coaching for Dickinson, who is the Bats first XI skipper, and something he enjoyed. “It took a bit of getting used to, but I was lucky a few parents helped out,” he said. “Darren Callahan [club president] said there was an opening and I decided to dip my toe in the water. “It was good fun with the young fellows. I might do a bit more coaching of the junior stuff now.” Tara Murray 15 NORTHERN STAR WEEKLY \ JANUARY 30, 2018



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