AUSTRALIAN coach Mickey Arthur is upbeat about the possibility of Shane Watson returning for next week’s second Test in Adelaide, but the all-rounder and vice-captain has been told he will need to prove his fitness as a bowler and will not be considered as a batsman only.
Watson strained a calf muscle while bowling for New South Wales in a Sheffield Shield match in Brisbane 12 days ago, forcing his withdrawal from the first Test at the Gabba.
His replacement, Rob Quiney, scored only nine with the bat at No. 3 but made a strong impression with the Australian hierarchy, taking two outstanding catches and, according to Arthur, fitting in well.
If fully fit, Watson would slot straight back in at the expense of the Victorian and there is an increasing likelihood that both will be named on Friday in an extended squad for Adelaide, with the all-rounder getting the nod if his calf is cleared by team physiotherapist Alex Kountouris.
Arthur said on Wednesday Watson would return to bowling practice on Friday. ”Watto has had two net [sessions]. He’s come through them very well.
”He did a bit of running [on Tuesday] and he came through that well. He’s having a bowl on Friday and we’ll see later in the week, and into next week, exactly where Watto is.”
If Watson can bowl in Adelaide he would add vital additional balance to a bowling attack that early in the Gabba Test struggled to make an impact against the top-rated South Africans, with left-armer Mitchell Starc also providing a different flavour if he is brought into the side for Ben Hilfenhaus.
Australia has previously baulked at picking Watson as a batsman only and that is a mantra it will not retreat from in this series.
Australian general manager of team performance, Pat Howard, said on Wednesday that selectors decided on a series to series basis whether Watson had to play as an all-rounder, or could be chosen as a specialist batsman, and against the Proteas it had been decided he must be in a position to bowl.
”If the Test match was tomorrow he wouldn’t be playing,” Howard said. ”But he’s progressing and I think when the team goes [to Adelaide] on Sunday we’ll have a far better indication of where he is at.”
Howard said it would count heavily against Watson at the selection table if he could not bowl. ”The value and the balance of the team is what the selection panel talk about. It’s the selection panel’s call when they come together on this,” he said.
”The ability for people to take up bowling slack is important, so without making it a Shane Watson conversation, the ability to take overs up was pretty well demonstrated in that first Test.”
Hilfenhaus lacked penetration in Brisbane and selectors will consider him making way for Starc on an Adelaide track in which Starc could take advantage of the rough produced by spinner, Nathan Lyon.
”Mitchell is playing a shield game at the moment – we’ll see how he goes in that one and it might give us another option come Adelaide,” Arthur said.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.
PAUL Davis usually finds it hard to smile at this time each year.
On Monday, the Central Newcastle rugby league coach and former Balmain Tigers five-eighth will commemorate the third anniversary of the death of his 15-year-old son.
Paul Davis-Welsh was killed in a car accident at Kempsey just days after being named in the NSW under-16 Indigenous team to play the curtain-raiser to the inaugural NRL v Indigenous All Stars exhibition game on the Gold Coast.
Paul had signed a three-year contract with the Titans and had the world at his feet.
Davis still chokes back tears when he talks about his son, but that pain was eased last weekend when his 16-year-old daughter, Nakia Davis-Welsh, was selected in the Australian Indigenous Women’s All Stars team.
The Year 10 Hunter Sports High School student had not played organised rugby league until six weeks ago, when she helped the Mindaribba Sisters win the annual Koori Knockout at Raymond Terrace on the October long weekend.
‘‘She got picked for the NSW Indigenous team from there and they went to Queensland at the weekend and played the Queensland girls, then she texted me after that and said, ‘Dad, I got in,’’’ Davis told the Newcastle Herald last night.
‘‘I couldn’t believe it. She’s only 16 – 17 next April.
‘‘We’re over the moon, me and my family, because my son was killed in a car accident three years ago.
‘‘This weekend is the trials for the Indigenous under-16s, and three years ago he got chosen in that team, then three days later he was killed in a car accident.
‘‘It’s mixed emotions for us … We were over the moon that she was even considered for it.’’
Three of Nakia’s Mindaribba teammates, Candice Clay and sisters-in-law Rebecca and Emma Young, will join her as Newcastle’s four representatives in the 20-woman squad to play before the NRL v Indigenous All Stars game at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on February 9.
‘‘I still can’t believe it. It’s a privilege to be picked,’’ Nakia said.
Davis’s role as Central coach set Nakia on the path to All Stars selection.
Central’s captain is former Knights forward Michael Young, whose sister is Emma and wife is Rebecca.
‘‘Mick was getting a team together for Mindaribba for the Aboriginal knock-out carnival, and he asked me if I knew any girls who wanted a run,’’ Davis said.
‘‘I told him my daughter’s played touch before but she’s never played league before but … she’s been to Canberra playing AFL with the school team and was player of the tournament.
‘‘She plays netball … CHS touch football, now she’s in the Indigenous All Stars team.
‘‘It’s been a hard road for us … but Nakia is helping to fill those gaps.’’
GOOD NEWS: Paul Davis with daughter Nakia last night. Picture: Simone De Peak
THE Obeid family used ‘‘inside information’’ that coalmining would start in NSW’s Bylong Valley to snap up farms sitting on lucrative coal deposits, a corruption inquiry has heard.
The Independent Commission Against Corruption is investigating former Labor minister Ian Macdonald’s decision in 2008 to open the Bylong Valley to coalmining and how it benefited another ex-minister, Eddie Obeid.
Mr Macdonald is accused of doing the bidding of Obeid family members, who allegedly hid their involvement through complex trust and company structures.
Confidential documents made by Chris Rumore, a lawyer for the Obeid family, were shown to the inquiry yesterday, revealing the Obeids knew about a government expressions of interest (EOI) process to open up coalmining in the Bylong Valley before the EOI was issued.
One of the documents referred to a meeting between Mr Rumore and Paul and Gerard Obeid, two sons of Eddie Obeid, on June 23, 2008.
The government EOI was issued on September 9, 2008.
‘‘The Obeids were telling you that an EOI would issue … and they knew that it would relate to obviously coal,’’ counsel assisting the inquiry Geoffrey Watson put to Mr Rumore.
‘‘Yes,’’ Mr Rumore replied.
The inquiry has previously heard only high-level officials inside the department of primary industries or the minister’s office should have had access to the ‘‘inside information’’.
The inquiry was told that in 2008 the Obeid family acquired two properties in the coal-rich Bylong Valley located close to another property, Cherrydale Park, that Eddie Obeid had acquired in September 2007.
Mr Rumore said the Obeids stood to gain financially from the purchases after the EOI was issued and mining leases were granted over the land.
‘‘I was always told that the Obeids expected that when the mining lease was granted that their property would increase three to four times its current value as a rural property,’’ Mr Rumore told the inquiry.
Mr Rumore said at the time he did not consider the EOI information was secret because it was openly discussed by the Obeids.
Earlier, John Cherry, a former accountant and farmer who sold Cherrydale Park to the Obeids, said Eddie Obeid wanted to change details on documents to hide his involvement.
Mr Cherry said Mr Obeid wanted to make the changes to create the appearance that ‘‘he was against coalmining in the Bylong Valley’’.
The inquiry will continue today.
TESTIMONY: Lawyer Chris Rumore, right, leaves after giving evidence.
THE ‘‘for sale’’ signs will be officially slapped on the state’s electricity generators today with state cabinet signing off on the sale process.
The sale, which includes the Hunter’s power stations and other electricity assets, could raise up to $3billion.
But debts of the generators would need to be settled from the gross proceeds.
The government is also facing a potential loss of $1.5billion on the Cobbora coalmine that it will also seek to sell or lease.
Treasurer Mike Baird said the sales would still proceed only if they were of net benefit to taxpayers.
Proceeds would be invested in state infrastructure.
The sale process would be carried out over 2014 and 2015, with legislation enabling the privatisation having passed state Parliament earlier this year.
The government would begin with Eraring Energy and Delta West.
The former Labor government sold the rights to trade their output under its ‘‘gentrader’’ contracts.
The government would now offer the generators themselves to the gentrader owners, TruEnergy and Origin Energy.
Macquarie Generation, which operates the Upper Hunter’s Bayswater and Liddell power stations, and then Delta Central Coastal, which runs Colongra and Vales Point power stations, would be offered through a competitive bidding process.
Coal- and gas-fired power station developments sites at Bayswater, Tomago and Munmorah would also be sold.
Macquarie Generation can generate about 29per cent of the state’s electricity and Delta Electricity about 28per cent.
The power stations are major employers in the region.
The government agreed earlier this year that permanent power station workers would be given a four-year job guarantee, as part of negotiations with Shooter and Fishers Party MPs.
Mr Baird said the sale would save the state about $1billion in ongoing operation and refurbishment costs, and a further $6billion that would otherwise be needed to meet future electricity demand.
Proceeds from the sale of the state’s electricity generators will be invested in infrastructure.
BOORAGUL teen Blake Tweedie, who has emerged from a coma after a horrific accident, had his spirits lifted with a visit from Knights star Jarrod Mullen.
Mr Tweedie, 18, faces a long recovery, having become a paraplegic with brain damage after being hit from behind by a four-wheel-drive.
Mr Mullen visited Mr Tweedie in John Hunter Hospital recently, giving him a signed jersey and hat.
‘‘The club got the call after Blake’s accident because he is a mad fan and his family thought we could help lift his spirits,’’ Mr Mullen said.
‘‘We were more than happy to spend some time with Blake.
‘‘He is obviously doing it tough but he responded to us, which was great to see.’’
Mr Mullen hoped he brightened his day and ‘‘helped in some way’’.
‘‘I told him we would come back to check on him and I would take some of the other boys with me,’’ he said.
Mr Tweedie’s mother Melissa Tweedie, of Toronto, said she appreciated the Knights’ compassion.
The Newcastle Herald reported last month that a vehicle hit Mr Tweedie while he was walking home from Booragul railway station with two mates along the side of Toronto Road near St Paul’s High School, Booragul.
The impact threw him 20metres through the air.
After emerging from a coma, Mr Tweedie was moved from intensive care to the hospital’s high-dependency unit.
‘‘They’re not sure how much brain damage he has until he goes to Sydney in a fortnight for rehab,’’ Mrs Tweedie said.
Mrs Tweedie said her son had died twice, once on impact and a second time on the operating table.
It will be a long road ahead for Mr Tweedie, but he has improved and started to communicate.
Mrs Tweedie said her son would be in rehabilitation for about 12 months.
While he could not talk, and needed speech therapy, he was texting.
‘‘We took him his iPod to listen to music and the next minute we gave him his phone and he was texting,’’ she said.
THUMBS UP: Knights star Jarrod Mullen visits Blake Tweedie in Hospital after the teenager emerged from a coma. On October 5 the Newcastle Herald reported a vehicle hit Mr Tweedie.