Socceroos impress Sepp Blatter ? Fat chance

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AUGUST 18 2017

Vince Rugari

Disgraced former FIFA president Sepp Blatter reckons the Socceroos are “overweight” and are built more like a rugby team.

In a bizarre attack on the Australian national team, Blatter said he came to the conclusion after watching Ange Postecoglou’s team play on television during the recent Confederations Cup.

“I saw them on TV yesterday. They looked like a rugby team,” Blatter said in remarks published by Swedish newspaper Expressen in July.

“Some of their players were overweight. They need to work out more. They need to run more.”

The Socceroos earned rave reviews for their performance against Chile in their final Confederations Cup match, which ended in a 1-1 draw.

They were also applauded by Germany’s World Cup winning coach Joachim Loew after losing their opener 3-2, while they also fought out a 1-1 draw with Cameroon.


Blatter was slapped with a six-year ban from all football activities last year for approving a dubious PS1.35m payment to UEFA boss Michel Platini, who was also banned.

Blatter made the comments while trying to explain how football was a game “anyone can play”, including women of all shapes and sizes.

“In men’s sport it’s different, because the athletes are so big. Like in the Australian national team,” he said.

The Socceroos return to action on August 31 in their penultimate World Cup qualifier against Japan in Saitama.




Source  :  The Canberra Times

Sam Kerr scores four goals in Sky Blue FC comeback win

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AUGUST 20 2017 – 2:40PM

Claire Siracusa

Matilda Sam Kerr has made history in the National Women’s Soccer League – again.

Kerr sparked – and completed – a huge comeback for Sky Blue FC on Sunday, scoring a league-record four goals and missing a penalty as her side stole a 5-4 win over Seattle Reign.

No NWSL player had previously scored four goals in a match – Kerr scored her four goals in a half. She now has 15 goals for the season – three ahead of her nearest competition, Seattle’s Meagan Rapinoe.

Kerr’s excellent form is sending records tumbling this year. She became the league’s all-time leading goalscorer in July, when her match-winning hat-trick over Kansas City took her to 34 career NWSL goals.

She was also a member of the Matildas side that notched an historic first win over the US, at the Tournament of Nations, in July.

Trailing 3-0 at half-time, Sky Blue looked set for defeat before Kerr hit her straps. Her first goal came just minutes into the second half, dribbling through traffic and over the line.

Her second goal, in the 68th minute, was more impressive. Kerr got on the end of a long ball inside her attacking half. One-on-one with a Seattle defender, and with another closing in, Kerr took the ball inside the area and fired on across goal into the bottom left corner of the net.

Kerr’s hat-trick came in the 71st minute. It would be her second of the season – another league record.

She notched it in style, controlling a looping pass just past the halfway line amid four Seattle defenders. Taking off, Kerr slowed down on the edge of the area, and still surrounded by defenders, curled her shot into the top right corner.

With scores level at 3-3, the game wasn’t done with yet. Seattle took the lead back in the 85th minute with Kiersten Dallstream scoring off a deflected save.

But Sky Blue equalised in stoppage time thanks to a header from Maya Hayes, before earning a penalty in the 93rd minute for a handball inside the area.

Kerr took the penalty but sent her shot into the crossbar, leaving scores tied at 4-4.

But the Aussie wasn’t done with yet.

She latched on to a 94th minute corner kick, sent in by Taylor Lyttle, rising above four defenders, and sending a floating header past yet another defender and the Seattle keeper to steal the win.

Kerr’s heroics sparked a wave of support and admiration on social media from teammates, opposition and the general public.

The win leaves Sky Blue just three points off fourth spot and a place in the playoffs.

Kerr was recently shortlisted for FIFA’s Best Women’s Player award. She is likely to be in action for the Matildas on home soil for friendlies against Brazil in Penrith and Newcastle in September.



Source  :  The Canberra Times

Mile Jedinak must play to survive Socceroos cut

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AUGUST 20 2017 – 5:10PM

Socceroos skipper Mile Jedinak will be available for the World Cup qualifiers against Japan and Thailand if he gets through club duty this week unscathed.

Coach Ange Postecoglou told ABC’s Offsiders he had been in regular contact with Jedinak, who was selected in his preliminary 30-man squad despite struggling with the groin injury that kept him out of the Confederations Cup.

But he expects Jedinak should be right, provided he plays and recovers well from at least one of Aston Villa’s two matches this week.

“He’s an important part of what we’ve been building and what people don’t know is he’s been playing hurt for probably the last 12 to 18 months for us,” Postecoglou said.

“(He) always puts his hand up. If he gets through 90 minutes, he’ll be there for sure.”

 Villa face Wigan Athletic at home in the EFL Cup midweek, then travel to face Bailey Wright’s Bristol City in the English Championship at the weekend.

Postecoglou is due to trim his squad by seven players this week.

Several of his European-based players are in tip-top form, with Tom Rogic dominant as usual for Celtic and Aaron Mooy enjoying a terrific start to life in the Premier League with Huddersfield Town.

Winger Mathew Leckie also made a stunning debut for Bundesliga side Hertha Berlin overnight, scoring twice in a 2-0 win to celebrate the birth of his daughter last week.

The Socceroos forward, who joined from Ingolstadt in the off-season, eluded a defender with a clever flick and finished in style just after the restart, and then blasted home after Stuttgart failed to clear a corner.

Leckie had failed to score in his last 30 matches, his most recent goal coming in May last year against Bayer Leverkusen.

He has now scored three goals against Stuttgart, his best return against any Bundesliga outfit. His Socceroos teammate Mitch Langerak was left on the bench on Saturday as Stuttgart’s back-up goalkeeper.

Australia need at least four points from the two games – against Japan in Saitama on August 31, then against Thailand in Melbourne on September 5 – to qualify directly for the 2018 World Cup in Russia without relying on other results.

“Getting a draw and then trying to win at home, which we’ve done fairly consistently, is one method but I’d rather go over there and try and win that (Japan) game,” Postecoglou said.

“That’s what I want to test. We’ve worked with this team for the last four years to play well in big occasions when the pressure’s the most, and this is it.”

If the Socceroos finish third in Group B, they can still qualify if they win two dual-legged play-offs – first against the other third-placed Asian side in Group A, then the fourth-placed qualifier from North and Central America.


Source  :  The Canberra Times

OneSky added to Defence’s Projects of Concern list

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OneSky will replace the existing TAAATS system. (Airservices)

Defence’s participation in the Airservices Australia-led OneSky program to acquire a joint civil and military air traffic management system has been placed onto the government’s Projects of Concern list.

As a consequence, the project, which aims to replace the currently separate civil and Defence air traffic management systems under a single program, and is known to Defence as Project AIR 5431 Phase 3 Civil Military Air Traffic Management System, now faces increased ministerial involvement and oversight.

“This is a highly complex, inter-departmental project of national significance that has experienced some substantial challenges getting into contract,” Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne and Minister for Defence Senator Marise Payne said in a joint statement on Friday.

“The challenges revolve around issues with ensuring value for money for the taxpayer.”

The move is thought to be unprecedented for a project to be added to the Projects of Concern list before it has gone to contract.

The federal government named Thales as the successful supplier for OneSky at the 2015 Avalon Airshow.

Since then, Airservices has been negotiating with the the company ahead of signing formal contracts, with some preliminary work undertaken via a series of “advanced work orders”.

Last week Airservices chair Sir Angus Houston told a Senate committee the contracts are close to being ready.

“We’re getting close, 99 per cent of the paperwork is contract ready, that means we’re getting very close,” Sir Angus told members of the Senate Rural and Regional Affairs Transport Legislation Committee on August 9.

Sir Angus also told the Senate Committee Defence would be shortly seeking government approval for its share of the program from the National Security Committee (NSC) of Cabinet.

With Parliament sitting in Canberra this past week, NSC may have met to discuss OneSky, among other matters, possibly prompting the joint ministerial announcement on Friday.

Defence and Airservices are jointly funding the OneSky project, with the total cost estimated to be near $1 billion.

An Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) report published in April questioned OneSky’s value for money, suggesting Australia could end up paying too much for the combined civil and military air traffic management system .

Specifically, the ANAO was critical of how the tenders were evaluated.

“It is not clearly evident that the successful tender offered the best value for money,” the ANAO report said.

Further, the ANAO said it was “not clearly evident that the successful tender is affordable in the context of the funding available to Airservices and Defence”.

Airservices’ most recent five-year corporate plan noted “OneSky and its enabling projects account for $652 million” in capital expenditure over the next five financial years, through to the end of 2021-22.

While Defence had previously capped its financial commitment at a “not to exceed” price of $244 million, Sir Angus told the Senate Committee Defence would seek from the NSC final approval for some form of cost increase.

Parts of the new OneSky system were expected to be operating by 2018, with the full operating capability expected in 2023, two years later than the original 2021 completion date.

Meanwhile, the AIR 5431 Phase 1 Deployable Defence Air Traffic Management and Control System project has also been added to the Projects of Concern list.

Indra was awarded this project in 2014 to deliver a mix of mobile and transportable air traffic control radars and supporting equipment to allow Defence to control and monitor air traffic while deployed on operations.

“The project has experienced schedule delays since approval, and initial delivery is expected almost two years later than originally planned,” the Ministers said.

The addition of the two projects to the Projects of Concern list is unrelated, although they are part of the same program.


Source  :  Australian Aviation

Australian government says MH370 search remains suspended

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A supplied image of ATSB investigators looking at a wing flap believed to be from MH370. (ATSB)

Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester says new data purporting to show the probable location of missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 is insufficient evidence to resume the search effort.

On Wednesday, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) published two reports prepared by Geoscience Australia and the CSIRO analysing satellite imagery taken some two weeks after the Boeing 777-200ER 9M-MRO disappeared enroute from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on 8 March 2014.

The imagery, obtained from French authorities, identified 12 objects that were “probably” manmade, as well 28 items that were “possibly” manmade.

“The dimensions of these objects are comparable with some of the debris items that have washed up on African beaches,” the report said.

“To completely reject the possibility that any of these objects are pieces of 9M-MRO is difficult to defend.

“But there is no evidence to confirm that any of these objects (let alone all) are pieces of 9M-MRO.”

The movements of these items during the following three and a bit years due to ocean drift was determined using data from several types of earth-observation satellites, as well as Australia’s most powerful super-computer and more than a decade of government investment in operational ocean modelling.

“Taking drift model uncertainty into account, we have found that the objects identified in most of the images can be associated with a single location within the previously-identified region suggested by other lines of evidence,” the report found.

“Furthermore, we think it is possible to identify a most-likely location of the aircraft, with unprecedented precision and certainty.”

This location was in an area at latitude 35.6°S and longitude 92.8°E, the report said.

However, ATSB chief commissioner Greg Hood cautioned the image resolution was “not high enough to be certain whether the objects originated from MH370 or are other objects that might be found floating in oceans around the world”.

“Clearly we must be cautious,” Hood said in a statement.

“These objects have not been definitely identified as MH370 debris.”

Australia, China and Malaysia agreed to suspend the search for the aircraft in January after scouring 120,000 square kilometres of the Indian Ocean.

The three countries said at the time they would be open to resuming the search effort if there was credible new evidence which led to the identification of a specific location of the aircraft.

On Thursday, Chester described the satellite imagery as “of interest” but nothing that confirmed the location of MH370.

“Certainly, we believe that the imagery indicated that they were manmade objects in the water but that is consistent with other imagery that has been recovered in other oceans of the world when you find manmade objects in the water,” Chester told Australia’s Sky News channel.

“So it is not a precise location as some people might like to think.”

Chester said there had been no request from the Malaysian government for Australia to resume the search effort.

“As it stands today, the underwater search does remain suspended but we’ll certainly be part of any conversation with the Malaysian Government, at some stage if that is required,” Chester said.

It was reported a US company had offered to resume the search on a no-find, no-fee basis.


Source  :  Australian Aviation

Brisbane Airport reports strong lift in international passengers

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Air Canada Boeing 787-8 C-GHPQ at Brisbane Airport. (Nathen Sieben)

Brisbane Airport posted its largest increase in international passengers in 12 years in 2016/17 as airlines added more overseas services and flew fuller aircraft.

There were 5.64 million international travellers at Brisbane Airport in the 12 months to June 30 2017, up 6.9 per cent from the prior corresponding period.

It was the fastest pace of growth since 2004/05, when international traffic jumped 19 per cent according to the Brisbane Airport website.

Brisbane Airport chief executive Julieanne Alroe noted there were an additional 425,700 seats to and from the airport in 2016/17, including new flights from Air CanadaChina Eastern and Malindo Air, while other carriers boosted frequencies on existing routes.

“The real gains this year have been made through the increase in international travel which has been stimulated by a 7.9 per cent boost in overseas flights,” Alroe said in a statement on Friday.

“Consistently high loads have contributed to this great result.”

There will be further growth in international flights in the current year, with Cathay PacificSingapore Airlines, Emirates and China Airlines all scheduling frequency increases, while Hainan Airlines is launching new flights to Shenzhen.

In contrast to the strong growth in international traffic, domestic passenger numbers at Brisbane Airport was flat in 2016/17, edging just 0.2 per cent higher to 17.2 million.

Brisbane Airport said domestic traffic was “heavily impacted by Cyclone Debbie and capacity consolidation”.

Total passenger numbers rose 1.8 per cent to 22.9 million.

Meanwhile, Sydney Airport has reported a 3.7 per cent increase in total passengers for July.

International passenger numbers rose 6.7 per cent in the month to 1.4 million, compared with the prior corresponding period, while domestic passengers rose two per cent to 2.4 million, Sydney Airport said on Friday.

Sydney Airport chief executive Kerrie Mather said July’s international figures were underpinned by 5.5 per cent capacity growth and one percentage point increase in average load factors.


Source  :  Australian Aviation

Singapore Airlines to deploy A350-900 to Brisbane

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Singapore Airlines 9V-SME touches down at Melbourne Tullamarine. (Rob Finlayson)

Singapore Airlines has announced that Brisbane will become its second Australian port to receive Airbus A350-900 services, starting from October.

The first A350 flight to Brisbane will be on October 15, when the aircraft takes over the SQ235/256 rotation – a morning departure from Brisbane and an overnight service from Singapore – currently operated by A330-300 equipment.

Over the following three months, SIA will gradually switch over a second and third daily rotation to the A350-900. Therefore, from January 2018 three out of four of SIA’s daily Brisbane flights will be served by the A350-900.

SIA previously announced it would grow Brisbane-Singapore services to 28 flights a week (ie four times daily) from August 22, from 24 weekly flights currently.

Configured with 253 seats comprising 42 in business, 24 in premium economy and 187 in economy, the A350’s arrival will also mark SIA’s introduction of premium economy on the Brisbane route for the first time.

By contrast the A330-300s and 777-200s SIA has been using to Brisbane have 285 and 266 seats, respectively, spread across business and economy.

Singapore Airlines regional vice president Tan Tiow Kor said the use of the A350-900, as well as the schedule increase to four times daily, was in response to growing demand from the Queensland market.

“While this growth is across all cabin classes the demand for additional premium cabin options has been encouraging,” Tan said in a statement on Tuesday.

“With the growing number of A350 aircraft entering our fleet it makes sense to deploy three of them to Brisbane to help meet the premium market demand that we are seeing.”

The Singaporean flag carrier has 67 A350s-900s on order, including eight ultra long range modelsthat will be used for nonstop flights from Singapore to Los Angeles and New York starting in 2018.

SIA already operates the A350-900 on the Melbourne-Singapore route. It currently has 16 of the type in service.

Brisbane Airport chief executive Julieanne Alroe said the boost to the number of business and premium economy seats through the SIA’s use of the A350-900 reflected well on the economic outlook for the period ahead.

“Any extra or upgraded service to Brisbane Airport helps boost the economy and will benefit all of Queensland as visitors connect onto other popular intrastate destinations, as well as visiting local hot spots like the Gold and Sunshine Coasts,” Alroe said in a statement.

SIA will be the second airline to offer A350 flights to Brisbane after Cathay Pacific introduced the type on its nonstop Brisbane-Hong Kong services in March.


Source  :  Australian Aviation