Snub spurs Oates on to Maroons recall

The stage is set for a State of Origin audition to remember as Queensland hopeful Corey Oates fires up for an NRL clash against the man who took his Maroons jersey – Valentine Holmes.

Brisbane winger Oates admits he let his Origin I snub affect his form but is now more determined than ever to regain his Queensland spot as he prepares for Saturday’s clash with Holmes’ Cronulla.

Holmes will don the No.1 jersey for the Sharks but it’s his No.2 Maroons jumper Oates has in his sights.

Oates played the last of his four Origins in game one last year before being replaced by Holmes.

The Sharks flyer has not looked back since, scoring five tries in three games for Queensland.

After not getting a courtesy call from Queensland coach Kevin Walters about his Origin I snub, Oates said he was fired up to provide a not-so-subtle reminder to Maroons selectors when he lines up against Holmes.

Queensland’s team for June 24’s Origin II clash in Sydney will be named on Monday.

“I didn’t get anything (phone call from Walters). It lit a fire in my belly,” Oates said.

“I might have let it get to me too much.

“But this week I will be clearing my mind and offering a lot more.”

Oates admitted he didn’t help his Maroons cause in the Broncos’ last-round loss to Melbourne but hadn’t given up on realising his Origin dream again.

“Just because I have played four games, it doesn’t mean I want to just forget about it. Every week I am trying to do my best and trying to get into contention for Origin,” Oates said.

“Last week I don’t think I did myself any favours but this week I will be focusing on getting back to my game.”

Holmes again showcased his brilliance with a stunning 85m intercept try in Queensland’s 22-12 Origin I loss to NSW in Melbourne.

Oates still reckons he has a sniff of Origin II.

“I feel like we are very different players. Val is an electric winger who can slide through gaps. My gaps have to be a little bit bigger,” Oates laughed.

“But I try and create my own thing, get that go-forward for the team.”

Oates has one less rival for a Maroons backline spot after Brisbane captain Darius Boyd’s surprise representative retirement this week.

“I congratulate him on a wonderful rep career. I think he will be (considered) one of the best players to have ever played for Queensland or Australia,” Oates said of 28 Origin veteran Boyd.

“It took us all by surprise. We knew nothing of it but I wish him the best.”

Australian Associated Press

Qld govt moves on abortion, not euthanasia

Annastacia Palaszczuk says the Queensland government is watching the Victorian euthanasia situation.The Queensland government will look carefully at the result of voluntary euthanasia laws in Victoria, but will prioritise abortion law reform in this term of government.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk was quizzed on the issue in question time in state parliament by independent MP Sandy Bolton, who asked whether the government would have an inquiry into introducing assisted dying laws.

Ms Palaszczuk said it was watching the Victorian situation closely, however was also waiting on the Law Reform Commission’s report into abortion, which was the major reform priority for Labor before the next election in 2020.

“I saw my grandfather pass away from cancer, I have seen friends pass away as well, we want to make sure their last journey is a peaceful and safe one,” Ms Palaszczuk said on Wednesday

“So we will look very carefully at what is happening in Victoria, I think it is something Queenslanders do want to have a conversation about, but in the meantime can I emphasise that our priority in this term is abortion law reform.”

It comes after the premier this year ruled out looking at the issue in 2018, after the multi-million dollar estate left by former Brisbane lord mayor Clem Jones announced it would be backing a campaign to push for assisted dying laws in the state.

Assisted dying laws passed in Victoria late last year.

People applying to use the scheme must be determined by multiple doctors to be suffering intolerable pain and be of sound mind.

Abortion law reform was on Queensland Labor’s agenda in its first term of government, with the procedure still a criminal offence in the state, although the matter was delayed in the hung parliament.

There are estimates one in 25 Queensland women has to travel interstate for a termination.

Australian Associated Press

Sydney Swans mull changes, Jack to return

Match committee meetings have rarely been straightforward this AFL season at the SCG, but that will ring particularly true ahead of Friday night’s blockbuster between Sydney and West Coast.

The Swans, who are riding a five-match winning streak to sit third on the ladder, are yet to name an unchanged team this year.

That trend will continue in round 13, with coach John Longmire mulling how to stop the ladder-leading Eagles’ 10-game winning run.

Veteran Kieren Jack will return from a hip injury, while defender Aliir Aliir might possibly be recalled to help shut down one of the league’s most-potent forward lines.

Jack missed the Swans’ last-start win over St Kilda, in which they kicked the opening nine goals of the game.

The 30-year-old was restricted badly last year by a hip injury, but Longmire indicated the latest problem was nowhere near as serious.

“He’s pulled up well,” Longmire said on Wednesday.

“It was important he didn’t play last week; it gives him the best possible chance of playing this week. He’s not over the line, he’s got to train but he’s a chance.

“He ran Monday and ran well, so that’s a good sign that he’s actually in a lot better shape than last year.”

Jack trained strongly on Wednesday behind closed doors, with football manager Tom Harley later confirming the Swans “expect him to play”.

On other potential changes, Longmire was understandably giving little away ahead of a “massive” game against the “best team in the competition”.

Counterpart Adam Simpson revealed on Wednesday that Jarrod Brander would debut in the injury-enforced absence of Jack Darling, but was saying little on other changes.

Aliir, who has impressed in recent weeks in the NEAFL, might help to bolster Sydney’s defence but also be thrust into the ruck to offer Callum Sinclair some support against former teammates Nic Naitanui and Scott Lycett.

“Aliir is a possibility,” Longmire said.

“Harry Marsh can play taller.

“They might have lost Darling but they’ll be very strong … they’re sitting on top of the ladder for a reason.

“Naitanui is back to his best … but Sinclair has been going quite well and our boys at ground level have been having a real crack.”

Youngster George Hewett is set to be given another tagging assignment, but Longmire admits it will be tricky to identify the Eagles’ most-dangerous threat in the engine room.

“We expect all of our midfielders to have run-with roles when the opposition has got it,” he quipped.

Australian Associated Press

What’s Selling: Another sale over $1 million for Dudley’s Thomas Street

QUICK INTERESTDudley’s Thomas Street broke the million-dollar mark for the first time in April and a second home has continued the trend.

McKiernan RealEstate first sold “a character cottagewith a modern extension” at No.15 for a street record $1.125 million and this month solda contemporary two-storey residence at No.4 for $1.02 million.

“We found our buyers in the first week of marketing,” agent Andrew McKiernan said. “Two sisters that grew up in the area bought it.”

Read more: House of the Week | Relaxed coastal living in Dudley

FAST SALES IN CHARLESTOWN DEVELOPMENTFour of five townhouses in a new five-residence complex in Charlestown’s Kahibah Roadwere secured within the first fortnight of being marketed.

The one remaining home at 170 Kahibah Road has three bedrooms and two bathrooms and is being sold off the plan for $699,000.

An artist’s impression of the remaining townhouse for sale in a new five-residence development for Charlestown.

Construction has begun on the development being marketed by Ray White’s Teresa Heighington.

Century 21sold a refurbished two-bedroom townhouse in Charlestown’s Mulbinga Street for $440,000 and Creer Property sold a residence in the same complex for $445,000.

A three-bedroom home on a block over 700 square metres in size on Warners Bay Road, Charlestown marketed by Century 21 was bought for $565,000.

THE HEIGHTS OF CARDIFFRobinson Property’s Mike Flook has sold a four-storey, split-level home with a bush outlook at 144 Reservoir Road, Cardiff Heights for $715,000.

Mr Flook said the three-bedroom residence on 607 square metres of land provided “good value” when it hit the market last month.

This split-level home in Cardiff Heights was rated “good value” before it sold for $715,000.

Century 21’s Aaron Walter sold a four-bedroom home on a bush blockover 1200 square metres in size in the suburb’s Dewrang Close for $704,000.

According to Australian Property Monitors data, the median sale price in Cardiff Heights has rose from $496,000 in 2016 to $565,000 last year.

MEREWETHER HOME SECURED BEFORE AUCTIONThe median price for a home in Merewether rose from $1.4 million in 2017 to $1.5375 million for the first 32 sales this year, according to Australian Property Monitors data. But there are still some homes selling in the sought-after suburb for under $1 million.

Onein Ulick Street marketed by McGrath Estate Agent’s Simon Wall and set for auction this weekend with a price guide of $850,000lasted just 16 days on the market before being bought for $942,750.

This home in Merewether’s Ulick Street was secured before auction for $942,750.

A trend has seen buyers priced out of Merewether looking to nearby Adamstown Heights, where the median price for the first 10 sales this year was $753,000.

Green Street Property sold a three-bedroom home in Adamstown Heights’ Wade Street this week for $685,000.

It was positioned on 687 square metres of land with district views.

The median sale price, according to APM data, for Adamstown Heights grew from $625,000 for 81 sales in 2016 to $715,000 for 105 sales last year.

Read more: Property news from around the region

AFL boss McLachlan backs embattled Suns

Gold Coast coach Stuart Dew says the Suns have let themselves down after two heavy AFL defeats.AFL boss Gillon McLachlan says there would’ve been “outrage” from a Melbourne-based club if they were forced to endure a demanding schedule like the Gold Coast.

The Suns have been slammed for their 108-point loss – their sixth defeat in a row – to fellow expansion club Greater Western Sydney on Saturday.

That followed a miserable comeback game at their Metricon Stadium base a week earlier when Geelong thumped them by 85 points.

But McLachlan points out the Suns’ demanding early season schedule when played away from home for 10 weeks due to the Commonwealth Games.

“This is the nature of our industry, it’s suddenly a crisis after they’ve had two terrible losses,” McLachlan told SEN Radio.

“I’d love to have a Melbourne club and the outrage (if) they hadn’t played at home.

“Gold Coast have only played in the state twice, one was at the Gabba and once was at Cairns. The rest have been on the road, including China.

“There needs to be a bit of context about that.”

Although criticism is flying in, first-year coach Stuart Dew concedes it is warranted.

Despite sitting 15th on the ladder, Dew says his team is in “good spirits” and he believes his players can bounce back against St Kilda this Saturday.

“There has been (harsh criticism) but that’s warranted when you have a performance like (against GWS),” Dew said on Wednesday.

“I think we’ve really let ourselves down on the back of poor contest and work-rate, so we’ll look for a big improvement in that area.”

Dew says the resilience of his side needs to improve after scoring a total of just two points in their last three final quarters, but he doesn’t believe fitness is to blame.

“The game is done at three-quarter time and the whole team knows that,” Dew said.

“The disappointing part was we set ourselves to try and win that last quarter to salvage something from the game, and we didn’t and that’s why it blows out.”

Australian Associated Press