Hawk Grant Birchall back after two-year absence

West Coast are strengthened by the return of star forward Josh Kennedy in a clash of last year’s grand finalists that is sure to shape the composition of this year’s top four. Hawthorn, with a chance to deal a massive blow to Fremantle’s finals chances, have included Birchall as well as first-year Hawk, veteran forward Chad Wingard. Conor Glass has been dropped but Hawthorn have also lost Jack Gunston to injury. ‘‘I’m just really excited to get back out there again,” Birchall told the club’s website. “It’s been a tough…

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New footpath could ‘kill’ iconic Sydney event that has been seen by millions

Organisers of Sculpture by the Sea, which pops up each spring near Bondi Beach and ploughs almost $40 million into the city’s economy, have said the new pathway is such an eyesore it will “kill” the event. Sculpture by the Sea founder David Handley told news.com.au the site of the new walkway, through Bondi’s Marks Park, would mean fewer large blockbuster artworks would able to be installed, while artists would be less willing to send their works to Australia. “Artists from around the world respond to this location; this is…

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Stuber is dumb, lumbering and tired

One of them is fresh, hilarious and oh-so-charming. Stuber is the other one. If you buy a ticket expecting Stuber to be anything other than a staid, brainless exercise in mild amusement, the joke’s on you. And it’s not a particular funny joke. Movies like Stuber have a purpose. It’s the ultimate switch-off movie that requires nothing of you except to suspend your disbelief — not because it’s fantasy, magical realism or sci-fi but because it’s riddled with plotholes and makes no logical sense. Sometimes, very occasionally, you’re in the…

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Brad Fittler’s message to his NSW Blues with four minutes left in the decider

The Maroons knew it too. It’s why they tried to wrestle their way to a series win, starting in the first game at Suncorp Stadium. It’s why NSW struggled in the first half of the decider as referees Gerard Sutton and Ashley Klein did the greatest “look at moi, look at moi” since the final episode of Kath and Kim, blowing penalty after penalty. After Maroons prop Josh Papalli scored in the dying stages of the Origin decider, Fittler instructed trainer Knowles to deliver a clear message.Credit:AAP Fittler brought Olympic…

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NRL denies ordering referees to put whistle in back pocket

“You have to look at the game in context. It was an Origin decider with two teams absolutely desperate to assert their dominance on each other early in the game, and that brings with it pushing the rules to the limit. The referees had to react to that. “I’ve said all year we want the referees to stay out of the game, but only when the players allow them to do that. “I honestly believe if they hadn’t taken firm action in the first half we wouldn’t have seen the…

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Did Kate Middleton just secretly troll Meghan Markle?

That’s the question being tossed around online after Kate wore a pair of earrings that had belonged to Diana to wee Archie’s MI6-esque Top Secret christening. While superficially Kate’s choice of shiny, expensive baubles for the event might seem trivial, like everything Windsor-related her preference is being intensely scrutinised — and much of the internet has found her wanting. The earrings in question are significant because Diana herself had worn them to Prince Harry’s baptism in 1984. According to a vast number of Twitter commenters (many of whom seem to…

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Surprising industries to boom during recession

Employment numbers are flailing and a recent leading business survey from NAB declared the retail sector was “clearly in recession”. But a new report from industry research firm IBISWorld said there will be a handful of sectors which could boom during a looming recession. Senior analyst Tom Youl said households will see little benefit over the next 12 months as both wages and household consumption are expected to experience modest gains. RELATED: Survey declares ‘grim’ retail sector in recession RELATED: Unemployment data shows fewer Australians have jobs RELATED: Economy slows…

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Booksmart is one of the best teen comedies

There’s nothing like that moment in time, so close to being an adult, but still mucking around in juvenile antics with abandon. There’s always a dream girl or boy to chase, a nerdy reputation to shed and a last chance to prove something. Dazed and Confused, American Pie, Can’t Hardly Wait and Superbad are only a small sample. The list goes on and on. Now there’s Booksmart. In many ways, it trumps most of its predecessors, injecting a fresh perspective into a genre with so many limits. This is right…

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Brad Fittler’s NSW Blues miracle 25 years in the making

Any predicted mental demons from past Origin misses clearly weren’t entertained by the man himself, who didn’t hesitate. Loading In an emotional post-match interview, his father Wayne spoke about the joy of his son now being able to share and understand what he had experienced as both a player and then a coach at this level. In the sheds his beautiful mum Terri spoke about a difficult day leading up to kick-off. Hopefully without betraying confidence, she told me of how stressful it was to know that regardless of how…

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RBA research shows climbing debt is hitting household spending

This “balance sheet” approach to looking at households reflects long-term economic theories, including the permanent income hypothesis that was first developed by Milton Friedman in the late 1950s. But the RBA’s Fiona Price, Benjamin Beckers and Gianni La Cava found that in Australia, the increase in debt over recent years was directly linked to the drop-off in household spending that has hit the broader economy. They found a 10 per cent increase in debt could reduce household spending by 0.3 per cent. While debt levels fell in the wake of…

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