Monthly Archives: October 2018

Quade Cooper in sevens heaven, but he still treasures Wallaby gold

After the kind of growing pains most people experience when moving overseas – language, lodgings, weather – Quade Cooper has started to not only adjust to life in Toulon but embrace his move to the French rugby giant.
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Increasingly content he may be, but the former Reds man has hardly given up on future appearances for the Wallabies despite finishing the World Cup campaign two caps shy of qualifying for the rule that allows overseas players to be selected.

When Cooper was picked in the World Cup squad, he looked all but certain to get to the 60-game mark, thus ensuring his continued availability for the Wallabies despite his change of location.

When it all ended on 58 matches, Cooper was stranded. Philosophical, but stranded all the same.

“When I was at the World Cup, I thought about it at the start of the tournament,” he said. “But I said: ‘If it’s to be it’s to be; if it’s not it’s not’.

“I’ve just got to be happy and content with my life at the moment. I’m playing over here in France. I’ve also got the opportunity to play some sevens and maybe go to an Olympic Games. I’m in no position to be complaining.”

His deal with the Australian Rugby Union’s sevens program will give Cooper at least three more occasions to wear a gold jersey, with the playmaker inked in for tournaments in Sydney in February, as well as London and Paris.

Cooper hopes he will be a sevens hit and be part of the squad that travels to Rio for the Games, where Cooper could run headlong into good mate Sonny Bill Williams, who on paper looks to be a nightmare opponent in the condensed form of the code.

It is going to be a genuine dream come true for Cooper should he make it to the Games. He has often envisaged the thrill of being part of the expanded Australian Olympic effort, as well as walking out in a ceremony surrounded by the best athletes on the globe.

But a good part of him will always want to play for the Wallabies in whatever capacity. At 27, he feels like he has more to give and has developed a strong relationship with Michael Cheika, who might yet conjure a way around the two-match deficit.

The Wallabies will embark on a grand slam tour at the end of the year, which could yet yield some possibilities if ARU management can think laterally enough to create some wiggle room.

And Cooper said there is no guarantee the 60-Test mark will not be reduced, although that would need to be carefully balanced out against the potential impact on the domestic game at Super Rugby level.

“That rule was just put in place, so whether it changes, whether it doesn’t … it might go to 50. Anything’s possible,” Cooper said.

“I hope I do get the opportunity to play some more Tests – that’s what I love doing – but at the moment I’m excited to come home and play in the sevens format in front of a packed stadium in Sydney.”

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Cole Classic: Olympian Wendy Robinson swims for the Rainbow Club children

James Collier,12, and brother Ben, 8, with Rainbow Club swimming instructor Wendy Robinson at Sutherland Leisure Centre. Photo: Louise KennerleyOlympian Wendy Robinson is no stranger to international acclaim, but the swimming instructor says that achieving smaller goals is giving her great satisfaction.
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Robinson, of Como, coaches children with disabilities to swim as part of her work with NSW charity the Rainbow Club.

One of her students, James Collier, 12, has attended Robinson’s weekly classes at Sutherland Leisure Centre for five years.

“He gets so much pleasure getting out of the wheelchair and just being able to float,” Robinson says. “He gets excited when he realises what he can do.

“To see them enjoying the water is great.”

Before she became an instructor 15 years ago, Robinson competed in triathlons and was an aerobics champion and professional swimmer.

She represented New Zealand in synchronised swimming when it was first introduced to the Olympic Games in 1984.

While her definition of success has changed since then, Robinson still challenges her students to swim to their capacity.

“We have small goals,” she says. “And we use tools that the kids are comfortable with.

“I teach a child with Angelman syndrome who gets immense pleasure from being able to roll from his front to his back in the water. And for him that’s a big deal.”

Other children in the club have overcome their fear of being horizontal in the water to go on to squad training.

“That’s what I enjoy most, working out how to get around each child to get them comfortable in the water,” she says.

On February 7, Robinson will swim the two-kilometre leg of The Sydney Morning Herald’s Cole Classic, the annual Shelly Beach to Manly ocean race.

She is drawing on a deep source of motivation: raising funds for the children she teaches to swim.

Robinson will use her performance at the Cole Classic as an indicator of the training she needs to complete the Malabar Magic, a 2.5-kilometre swim held later in February.

The Malabar ocean swim is dedicated to raising money for Rainbow Club, which provides swimming lessons to 450 children with disabilities across the state.

The Olympian hasn’t started training for either race yet but doesn’t seem too concerned.

“I completed the Sydney Harbour Swim six months after I gave birth to my daughter and came third in my category,” she says.

“I didn’t really train for that.”

Two children from the Sutherland Rainbow Club will join Robinson for the Malabar swim.

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Meet Rooster Teeth, the online video powerhouse coming to Australia

Rooster Teeth’s network of YouTube channels has a total of more than 25 million subscribers. Gus Sorola, director and co-founder of Rooster Teeth.
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Fans line up to get into the store at the RTX exhibition in Austin, Texas.

A handful of Rooster Teeth’s series, as seen on its website.

“We make videos for the internet. Not porn.”

That’s how Gus Sorola sums up Rooster Teeth, the video production company he helped found in 2003 that got its start using video games to act out short, animated comedies.

While mostly accurate, his description is decidedly modest, as in the last 12 years Rooster Teeth has grown to become one of the biggest networks of channels on YouTube, racking up more than 4.1 billion views on its primary channel alone.

If you’re older than 21 there’s a good chance you’ve never heard of the company’s videos or its fiercely dedicated fan base, but for hundreds of thousands of Australians — who consume 1.9 million Rooster Teeth videos every month — it’s the biggest thing on the internet.

It’s for this reason that Rooster Teeth is bringing its internet and gaming culture exhibition RTX to Australia this weekend, the first time the event’s been held outside of Austin, Texas.

“We’ve always had a good relationship with people in Australia. It’s one of the first places we came to promote Rooster Teeth in 2004”, says Sorola. “It’s one of our stronger countries outside of the US.”

“Obviously we appeal mostly to English-speaking countries, [but] we probably have more fans in Australia than Canada.”

An annual event comprising panels, live shows, competitions, meet-and-greets and games, RTX began in 2011 as an easy way for the team to keep in touch with its most dedicated fans all at once.

“We had a lot of fans making meet-ups and events all around the world,” says Sorola.

“There seemed to be enough demand, and we thought if we made our own they’d all come to us so we wouldn’t have to travel any more.”

RTX 2015 was reportedly attended by 45,000 fans.

While Rooster Teeth’s most distinguishing feature is its massive fandom, that’s built on the back of a long stream of video content that makes up its core business.

Rooster Teeth helped popularise the machinima film genre (manipulating video games to create cinematic content) with its first series Red vs. Blue. The series is still running 12 years later, and nearing its 400th episode. It’s currently the longest running web series and American sci-fi series of all time.

It’s not all about video games though. The company produces a large catalogue of shows across a number of genres, including RWBY, the first western anime series to be distributed in Japan.

Sorola believes Rooster Teeth has become so popular in part because it combines the strengths of online and traditional productions to build its community. The team is big on direct interaction with its fans — as evidenced by RTX — but it’s also big on consistency. Shows are available at the same time and day every week, so fans make it part of their schedule, like a traditional TV show.

The company is currently promoting its first live action feature film, a sci-fi comedy called Lazer Team. The film broke records on crowdfunding site Indiegogo when it raised $US2.4 million, including a $10,000 pledge from one Australian teen.

Rather than distribute it on the internet, Rooster Teeth is initially allowing fans to buy tickets to see the film at the movies through cinema crowdfunding site Tugg. The appeal of this approach is that as long as there are enough people in a given area who want to see the film (usually around 50), the local cinema will show it, meaning even small fandoms in places like Bendigo and Wollongong have their own session. Currently Tugg has confirmed 49 sessions across Australia for the premiere at 6.30pm on January 27.

Rooster Teeth continues to combine online and traditional approaches going forward, recently formalising the process to identify and greenlight new series. But at its core, the approach remains the same as it was more than a decade ago.

“We want to make things that we would find entertaining,” says Sorola.

“The evidence is there. If we like it, chances are there’s an awful lot of people out there who would like it too.”

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Matthew Millar sets sights on WGC and European return

Opportunity knocks: Canberra golfer Matt Millar put his golf career on hold for his family, but could return to being a full-time golfer. Photo: Jay CronanIt was the “Year of the Rug”, so much so Canberra golfer Matthew Millar would be “crazy” not to consider playing on the European or Japan tours.
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But within days of finishing tied second at the NSW PGA Championship, the final event of the year, Millar was back at Gold Creek Country Club selling tees and giving lessons – making up for the six weeks he had been off playing golf.

Millar pulled the plug on being a full-time professional golfer in 2009, after five years on the European Tour, to take up the teaching pro position at Gold Creek Country Club.

The 39-year-old had to go to qualifying school to earn a card for the 2015 PGA Tour of Australasia, but he enjoyed a breakout year.

Not only did he win his first tournament – the New Zealand PGA Championship – but he was named player of the tour, finished third on the order of merit and had 11 top-10 finishes, including at the Australian PGA Championship and the Australian Masters.

With various of the world’s biggest tournaments yet to decide on the qualification criteria for 2016, Millar was unsure what his order of merit finish would mean.

There was a chance he could play at the World Golf Championships’ HSBC Champions in China, worth $11.8 million, but he would not know until mid-2016.

He is also eligible for the late stages of qualifying school for the European or Japan tours in late 2016 – and if his form continued into the new year then he would have to go to one of them.

“They said it’s nothing definite, but they seem to think that there could be a chance [of playing in the HSBC Champions], so I’ll be certainly crossing my fingers,” Millar said.

“Hopefully I do get the nod for that one, that’d be good, it’s an awesome field … they’re the ones you really want to play in.

“The good news about finishing third on the order of merit is that I can get through to the final stage of any qualifying school.

“If I’m playing well again [this] year you’d be crazy not to look at either Europe or Japan.

“If [this] season is as good as [last] season, you’d be mad not to go.”

Millar’s wife Bec said her husband was “hedging his bets” when he took up the Gold Creek role, with one eye on “life after golf”.

While that mix between working at home and touring on the Australasian PGA allowed him to spend more time at home, Bec felt it also gave Millar a “hunger” and “desire” that has helped his game.

She has enjoyed having him around the house more, especially at “cactus hour”, but if he was to return to a major tour then he would go with her blessing.

They have been together for nine years and have two young daughters, four-year-old Charlotte and Ruby, three.

While Bec has “experienced the feelings of being a golf widow”, she said Millar was a full-time golfer when they met.

Having two young kids and a husband on the other side of the planet might not be most wives’ cup of tea, but Bec said she would love for her husband to get back to Europe.

The nurse enjoyed joining Millar on tour in the past and was excited about the chance of travelling again.

Bec had just given birth to Charlotte when Millar qualified for the 2011 British Open at Royal St George’s and the three of them travelled over for it later that year.

She said Millar’s touring tapered from there and she felt it “probably related to him wanting to be with his girls more”.

“I would be fully supportive of him if he had to go to tour school for Europe or Japan at the end of the year,” she said.

“I did enjoy my trips to Europe when he used to play on the European Tour, so it would be nice to see him achieve that again because I believe he’s a better player today than he was when I first met him.

“It would be so much more enjoyable watching him play in Europe again or in Japan. Yes, I’m not the nagging wife that’s holding him back.”

Bec said her and Millar’s mates, who all call him “Rug” for his hairy chest, had labelled 2015 the Year of the Rug.

She was hoping 2016 would follow a similar pattern.

“Maybe we’ll have to make it 2016 Year of the Rug and go with that again,” Bec said.

“I just hope he enjoys a rest now and gets back out there and takes the opportunities as they present themselves to him.

“If the World Golf Championships come along or invites to different tournaments come along I’ll be definitely encouraging him to do it … you can’t sit back and live a life of regrets with golf.”

Millar said “ticking off ” one of Australia’s big three tournaments – the Open, Masters or PGA – was a main goal for 2016, but they could clash with the two qualifying schools he might have a crack at.

With the $1.75 million Perth International returning in 2016, Millar might not have to bother about qualifying for Europe.

If he could win in Perth he would earn European status.

“I’d like to win one of those big ones, that’ll remain one goal to try and tick off, that’s for sure,” Millar said.

“We’ll continue to do what we’ve been doing and go about it the same way and if we can knock off one of those big ones.

“And if you did knock off the one in Perth, well, that’ll solve all your problems in one go – it’s tri-sanctioned with Europe and Asia.

“You’d get your full status on the European Tour as a winner and you’d definitely get into the HSBC Champions in China.”

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Choking hazard: Big W recalls back-to-school water bottles

BIG W has recalled bottles from a range of back-to-school packs, due to a choking hazard. Photo: SuppliedParents are being urged to return a faulty water bottle that came in Big W’s back-to-school backpack bundles, due to a choking hazard.
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The discount chain has announced a recall of the water bottle contained in eight types of four-piece backpack bundles sold across Australia since December 21.

A spokeswoman said a customer had made a complaint about the product. Follow-up testing revealed the rubber top on the bottle could loosen and detach during use, creating a potential choking hazard.

“We ask customers who purchased these products to return them to a Big W store for a full refund. Big W apologises to its customers for any inconvenience caused,” she said.

“All other components of the backpack bundle are not affected by the recall and can continue to be used.”

Customers can return the entire bundle or just the bottle and receive a full refund – $9 for the small sized backpack bundle or $20 for the large size.

The products were pulled from shelves on Thursday.

Several children’s products have been recalled in the past month.

Last week, Ikea issued a recall for its “Lattjo” children’s drum sticks and tongue drum because of a potential choking hazard.

The Swedish furniture chain said the rubber ball on the sticks could be detached or unscrewed, creating a choking hazard to small children.

“Ikea urges all customers that have an IKEA lattjo drum sticks and lattjo tongue drum to immediately stop using it and to return it to any Ikea store for a full refund,” the recall notice said.

And in late December, Wedgwood recalled its Peter Rabbit silver-plated baby rattle – also because of a choking hazard.

The iron beads – with a diameter of six to eight millimetres – at each end of the product could be released if it came into contact with water or was subjected to pressure.

“If the defect occurs, the beads could potentially pose a choking hazard to young children,” the notice said.

The rattle was sold at multiple stores, including Myer and David Jones, and should be returned for a full refund.

“The recalls website features recalls concerned with safety issues in products that could cause potential harm so it’s an important resource for everyone to check,” acting NSW Fair Trading Commissioner John Tansey said.

“Make sure you are not using recalled products. If you have bought a product that has been recalled, you have certain rights, depending on the way the recall is conducted, so check with the supplier for details.”

The Big W water bottles in the following eight products are being recalled. The article number is on the swing tag at the back of the backpack. 4PC BACKPACK BNDLE CLR PURPLE/PINK (Article Number: 944011)4PC BACKPACK BNDLE CLR BLACK/GREY (Article Number: 944008)4PC BACKPACK BNDLE CLR BLUE/ORANGE (Article Number: 944009)4PC BACKPACK BNDLE CLRLIME/GREY (Article Number: 944010)4PC PRINT BPACK ST DESIGN CAMOUFLAGE (Article Number: 944004)4PC PRINT BPACK ST DESIGN PINEAPPLE (Article Number: 944007)4PC PRINT BPACK ST DESIGN FLAMINGO (Article Number: 944005)4PC PRINT BPACK ST DESIGN SOCCER (Article Number: 944006)

Big W customers can call a toll-free service number for more information on 1300 244 999.

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