Feuding Facebook cousins refuse help

Fraudulent Facebook accounts, threats to kill an unborn baby and revenge attacks were some of the allegations made by feuding cousins in court on Thursday.
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The two teenagers, who had refused mediation, represented themselves in Maitland Local Court on Thursday during an apprehended violence order hearing.

One of the cousins, a 19-year-old Maitland man was seeking an AVO for the protection of him and his pregnant girlfriend, but his female cousin refused to consent to the orders.

The man alleged that his cousin posted threats to kill the couple’s unborn child on Facebook.

The magistrate Darryl Pearce read out some of the threats: “I wanna kill you and the baby whether it’s alive or not you’ll be giving birth to a dead baby.”

The woman denied posting the comments and said at the time there were three fraudulent Facebook accounts in her name that she had since reported.

The man said in addition to threats online his cousin had verbally abused his girlfriend, allegedly calling her a “s—-” and goading her to fight.

He said on one occasion his cousin parked outside his family home and yelled: “Come out s—- let me knock you out”.

“Unless an order is made someone is going to get hurt,” the man said. During her evidence, the woman said her cousin had recently been convicted of egging her car.

“I was trying to seek revenge, everything was happening,” the man said.

The court heard the cousins had been referred to mediation but the man failed to attend because of work commitments.

Mr Pearce said the woman had made sufficient threats to warrant an order.

“There is a clear impression that both sides are in part involved in abusive language and threats to each other,” he said.

A 12 month AVO against the female cousin was granted.

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Football mad Rutherford celebrates 45th birthday

PARTY TIME: Rutherford Football Club president Michael Waeger with (from left) Ryan Bolam, Ryan Hodges, Brock Boyd, Sam Cauchi and (front) Harry Waeger.These juniors represent the latest crop of footballers from the western suburbs of Maitland.
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Ryan Bolam, Ryan Hodges, Brock Boyd, Sam Cauchi and Harry Waeger are some of the hundreds who call Norm Chapman Oval home on a Saturday morning throughout the winter months.

The Saturday morning games have been a fixture in the area since 1967 when the Rutherford Football Club formed, with young boys and girls testing their wares in the green and white uniform.

The main difference being, 45 years on from Harry Hethrington’s first team, numbers are at an all-time high.

“The last couple of years has seen a big growth,” club secretary Kylie Parsons said.

There are nearly 550 registered members of the club about a decade on from a merger between the junior (Dragons) and senior (Rams) clubs.

Of the 42 Rutherford teams 37 are junior ones and many are part of the Football Federation Australia-backed small-sided games. More than 350 families, including president Michael Waeger’s, are involved at the club.

And a recent venture online, an addition of a club website, has reported more than 110,000 hits in four months.

To mark the occasion the club will hold an anniversary disco at Maitland City Bowls, Sports and Recreation Club on Saturday night followed by a dinner on August 4 at the same venue.

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Support for pick-up rolls in

PICK-UP NEEDED: Kevin Dever, of Rutherford, says a kerbside council pick-up is needed. Thirty years ago, before Kevin Dever left Beresfield for Rutherford, there was a kerbside, bulky waste pick-up.
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“Half of it would get recycled before it was collected,” he said.

“Someone would say ‘that’s a nice lounge,’ and take it.

“I don’t see a problem with that.”

Mr Dever was one of 64 respondents to the Mercury’s campaign calling on Maitland City Council to implement a kerbside pick-up service.

In addition to the coupons, readers have posted numerous comments on the Mercury’s website stimulating robust debate.

The campaign will continue this week.

Mr Dever said it was a convenience back then, but essential now.

“There are a lot of pensioners in this area without a trailer and the vouchers are useless,” he said.

“The tip is too expensive and if they don’t do something about it the illegal dumping is only going to get worse.”

As a resident of Vindin Street, the pensioner is tired of people dumping rubbish in the reserve behind his home and against his neighbour’s fence.

“People been dumping stuff behind there for years and things have only been getting worse,” he said.

“You name it, old mattresses, prunings, even household garbage – food scraps – it’s just getting worse.”

Mr Dever said for any retiree having to rely on family to get rid of rubbish it was an insult to their independence.

“My son-in-law had to help me with the last load and now I’ve got some timber out of the garden to get rid of,” he said.

“He works a seven day roster at the pits and has a family so it might be a fortnight before he has time.

“If you haven’t got independence you’ve got nothing.”

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Sport? It’s a load of bull

PROTEST: (From left) Lucia Webster, Amy Johnson, Callie Redman (front) and Lily Denshire.A small group of young animal liberationists will launch an assault on a professional bull riding competition in Newcastle on Saturday night claiming the sport is inhumane and cruel to animals.
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Headed by young psychology student Amy Johnston, the group of about 20 will also use the protest – at the Brendon Clark Professional Bull Riding event – to call for the sport to be banned across the Hunter.

Maitland women Callie Redman, Lucia Webster and Lily Denshire have supported the call.

“These animals are enslaved and taken out of their natural environment to perform and that’s cruel,” Ms Hill, 22, said.

“Bull riding is outdated and belongs in the dark ages, we are in a new era now and more advanced so we don’t need to do this anymore. I am still quite shocked that we support it in any way.”

But PBR Australia general manager Glenn Young said the protesters’ claims could not be further from the truth.

“There is a lot of misguided information out there, but from our perspective the bulls are treated with as much respect as the human athletes who ride them,” Mr Young said. “Most of our bulls live longer than most cattle in the industry and about 90 per cent of them will go back to the paddock for breeding after their careers and will die from old age.”

Ms Johnson, 23, of Newcastle, disagreed.

“We want this sport to be banned because there is no way this industry will ever be humane,” she said. There is this great quote saying that genetics load the gun and the environment points the trigger and that’s relevant here.”

The protest will be held outside the Newcastle Entertainment Centre between 7pm and 8pm.

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Watson brings union skills to Maitland’s pack

NATURAL TALENT: Pickers lock Margaret Watson has made light work of the the transition to league from union.Margaret Watson is no stranger to the football field but she is making the most of her newly adopted code.
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The Maitland Pickers recruit finally gave in to her persistent companions at the start of this season and started playing rugby league after years in the rugby union ranks.

It was a tough call to make for the Shortland-based 25-year-old after a great deal of success in the rival sport, most notably Australian representation in 2008.

But in 2012, with the Pickers entering the Sydney Women’s Metropolitan Rugby League competition, Watson committed to both codes.

Watson captains the University team in the Hunter Women’s Rugby Union competition and backs up for the Pickers, or vice-versa depending on the weekend’s draw.

Regardless of the heavy workload and regular travel to Sydney, fatigue is a non-issue for the talented sportswoman and her performances have been impressive according to Pickers skipper Bec Young.

“She [Watson] is our fittest player by far and she has been getting points [from the coaches] almost every week,” Young said.

“She started in the centres but Mick [coach] moved her to lock because of her tackling technique and she has been absolutely killing it.

“She is a good goal kicker as well so I guess she brought all of her skills across [from union].”

As a group, the second-placed Pickers hope to bounce back when they meet Auburn at Lidcombe Oval on Saturday (4.45pm) following a 58-16 loss to competition front runners the Canley Vale Dragons at home last round.

This was their first loss since May after winning five consecutive matches.

NSW representatives Young, Julie Young, Candice Clay and Eunice Grimes will all be available for the fixture but will miss the following weekend with a state clash against the Australian Armed Forces women’s squad in Sydney.

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Block winners get back to their day jobs

HOME: The Block winners Brad Cranfield and Lara Welham.The Block winners Brad Cranfield and Lara Welham are back home after a whirlwind of media attention since they won the Channel 9 reality renovation show on July 1.
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The East Maitland couple had more than 60 interviews the day after their $606,000 win was televised and Mr Cranfield said it was an unreal experience.

“It was pretty crazy, the interviews started at 5.20am and went until 4.30pm and were spaced every five to 10 minutes,” he said.

Their terrace house went to auction on the Saturday night and they had to keep the big secret about their win until it was televised the next day.

“We had 30 to 40 friends and family come to Melbourne from Brisbane, Sydney and Newcastle to watch the show on Sunday night with us and I was excited to see their reaction,” Ms Welham said.

“They were so excited for us.”

The couple, both aged 30, appeared on The Footy Show last week, and have also been interviewed by radio hosts Eddy McGuire and Kyle and Jackie O.

“It was great to be interviewed by them, they are people we listen to all the time, so it was a bit surreal,” Ms Welham said.

“We got back to [East Maitland] at 1am on Friday morning and when we went to Charlestown and Kotara that day for a quick shopping trip people kept coming up to us and talking to us and getting photos with us,” Ms Welham said.

“It was sweet.”

The couple will keep their day jobs and look for land near Maitland for their dream home.

The house is in three pieces

and has been stored at Rutherford since they had it moved from Merewether.

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Rodeo world’s rising star returns home to wow Hunter

Lachlan Richardson. Bull riding sensation Lachlan Richardson has arrived home from the US for the Australian Tour but he won’t be contesting the Gresford Rodeo.
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Richardson has competed in his home town event “plenty of times before” but this Saturday night at Newcastle Entertainment Centre the 19-year-old will make his debut at the Brendon Clark Invitational.

The event, named in honour of Morpeth raised Clark, brings together 22 of the best bull riders from Australia and across the world.

Richardson’s hat has been thrown in the ring after what has been a stellar 12 months for the softly spoken and shaggy haired teenager.

He joined the Professional Bull Riders (PBR) Australia Tour late last year and after strong performances in the regional Touring Pro Series made the decision to test his wares against top quality opposition in the sport’s heartland – the US.

This paid off immediately for Richardson with a startling debut in the Cup Series feeder program with a $38,000 win in Uncasville, Connecticut, where he was the sole rider to cover all four bulls.

People quickly sat up and took notice.

Richardson now sits number one on the rankings for World Title rookie and Australian rookie of the year, while he is second in the race for the Australian title.

In the national standings he is narrowly behind Dave Kennedy, which puts greater emphasis on the upcoming Brendan Clark Invitational and the following Brisbane Invitational (July 14) and PBR National Finals in Sydney (July 21).

But not a bad position to be in for Richardson, who is fulfilling a boyhood dream that was born as a 10-year-old.

“When we were younger me and my two older brothers [Tim and Cliff] used to do our local rodeos in Dungog and after having a go I just kept riding,” he said.

“It [going to the US] was something I always wanted to do – big money, the top bulls and the best riders in the world.”

Richardson joins Clark, Seaham’s Ben Jones and Rothbury’s Jason O’Hearn as the local contingent for Saturday’s event, while Port Macquarie’s Farley brothers, Jared and Pete, are part of the Australian squad.

The international line up includes Matt Bohan, Havre Stewart and Chase Outlaw.

Gates open at 6.30pm.

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Fatal crash claims a young life

TRAGEDY: Kane Harding as he appeared on his Facebook site.Police are calling for witnesses of a fatal crash that claimed the life of a young man near Cessnock on Tuesday.
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A KTM 450cc and Toyota Rav4 collided on Congewai Street, Aberdare, east of Kearsley Street, about 5.35pm.

Facebook was flooded with tributes yesterday, naming the crash victim as 18-year-old Kane Harding.

The rider and his pillion passenger were flung from the bike.

The rider suffered serious injuries and was treated at the scene by paramedics. He was airlifted to John Hunter Hospital in a critical condition where he later died.

His male passenger, 17, was also taken to the John Hunter Hospital with minor abrasions, while the 58-year-old female driver of the Rav4 was taken to Maitland Hospital for shock.

Police are preparing a report for the coroner. Anyone who witnessed the crash or can help with any information, is urged to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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Mustangs primed to reduce gap on Bears

Maitland Mustangs coach Luke Boyle stresses a point to his players during a time out. The Maitland Mustangs have the chance to reduce the gap on second-placed North Bears on the Waratah Championship League competition ladder this weekend.
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The boys in black and white host the Norths Bears at Maitland Federation Centre on Sunday.

The Bears are sitting in second after an 11-3 start to season 2012 while the Mustangs are third with a 9-6 win-loss record.

A win at home would reduce the margin between the combatants and confidence remains high in the Mustangs camp despite three defeats from their last four outings.

A 93-80 victory against Penrith on Sunday was some comfort after a 67-60 Kibble-Mallon Cup defeat at the hands of competition leaders Newcastle on Saturday, which was preceded by upsets from the Sydney (79-59) and Central Coast (78-70) in consecutive weeks.

“It’s not so much back to the drawing board,” Mustangs coach Luke Boyle said.

“We need to keep doing what we have been doing but change a few little things.”

Boyle said he expected the Bears’ new coach Ben Knight to be the main danger for the visitors on Sunday afternoon.

“They are playing pretty well for a team that hasn’t changed that much from last year,” he said. “They have a couple of new players but they are being trained by Ben Knight, which must have made a bit of a


The Mustangs are hoping to welcome back Butch Hays for the round 14 fixture while injured skipper Josh Clifford will take no part in the rest of the season after leaving for a European vacation during the week.

Tip off is 3pm.

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Ground closed: the all too familiar call

FRUSTRATED:Griffins president Shaun Yates whose club has been denied access to King Edward Park for a month. Sports clubs are calling for Maitland City Council to reinstate powers rescinded in 2007 regarding the state of play on sodden ovals.
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The recent closure of grounds – that many deem unnecessary – has created a backlog of games affecting players across numerous codes.

The council was forced to defend its blanket ban approach this week as clubs became increasingly angry.

“The ground closure procedure is currently under review and, should it result in any amendments, any changes will be communicated to the affected sporting bodies,” community and recreation services manager Lynn Morton said.

“Council officers are always prepared to meet with sporting bodies to discuss their views on opportunities for improved service delivery.”

Maitland Magpies and Thornton Redbacks, members of the North Coast Football League, have lost multiple games to ground closures.

Maitland Pickers have lost two games; the second of which was a catch up scheduled for June 9 and enforced despite a day of drying conditions.

In AFL, Maitland junior Saints have lost half their training sessions to ground closures.

But junior rugby league has been one of the sports hardest hit.

Maitland and District School Boys Rugby League president Dave Watson said clubs should have their powers restored and enable them to override council when conditions improve quickly.

“We want to send a message to council that the community should be running this,” he said.

“We just want it put back the way it was prior to 2007.”

Up until that point council would determine closure before the weekend, but if clubs felt the grounds had dried sufficiently to allow play, presidents and secretaries had the power to overturn the council ruling.

More than 2500 players are registered in the junior league competition making the sport one of the hardest hit by the cancellations. Parents, who invest hundreds of dollars in registration and kit, travel from as far as Dungog for training to find grounds closed at the last minute.

Ms Morton said council staff were simply following guidelines.

“Council’s technical staff assess each of the sports grounds on the Friday morning using a risk assessment matrix with a decision made by mid Friday afternoon as to which grounds are fit for play,” she said.

“This in turn is communicated to the sporting bodies so that they have sufficient time to advise their club members.”

Thornton-Beresfield juniors president Peter Martin said the closure affected the bottom line of the cash-strapped clubs, run by volunteers, dependent on canteen sales.

“We have to pre-order all supplies for the canteen; you don’t just call up Friday night and because the ground closures aren’t decided until 3pm, it’s just impossible,” he said.

The Griffins, one of the largest junior clubs in Maitland, have been denied access to King Edward Park for a month.

Club officials hope to squeeze in two days of play this weekend but clouds on the horizon have the council ready to shut them down.

Meanwhile it’s been game on at Kurri Kurri and Cessnock where grounds have received as much rain, if not more.

Griffins president Shaun Yates said the clubs could be trusted to make the call on play.

“It should come down to the president and the secretary to look at the ground and make the call,” he said.

The closures have disappointed the Griffins’ 340 registered juniors eager to engage in some healthy competition and activity.

“On Monday both grounds [Shamrock and King Edward Park] were closed again,” he said. “It’s only grass, it will grow back.”

Sitting on the sidelines has been a disappointment for the juniors, who idolise their National Rugby League stars.

“Kurri and Cessnock are training and we’re not, so we’re at a disadvantage,” he said.

“We’ve got nine representatives who can’t train and have barely played.”

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