There has been talk recently of splitting the NRL into 2 conferences - one for Sydney clubs and one for the rest ('Knights are not a fan of conference system', Newcastle Herald 30/4). The proposal floated by Mr V'landys is flawed in a number of ways.
Financially, the V'landys' proposal is unfair to the non-Sydney teams. The travel costs for away games will be significant, whereas travel costs for Sydney-based teams would be minimal. Additionally, the physical toll caused by long distance travel would also be significant for non-Sydney teams and be non-existent for the Sydney clubs.
The only real fair way to run any competition (apart from knockout) is for each team to play each other; either once or twice. Additionally, the NRL should be looking west to Perth where there is an appetite for rugby (league or union) from expat east coasters and New Zealanders, and where there is significant corporate support too.
There is a sensible solution to expand the competition and create a genuinely fair competition: Why not a 20-team competition with each team playing every other team once, followed by a 10-team finals series?
20 teams? The current 16 plus a second Brisbane club, a second in New Zealand, Perth, Papua New Guinea or a Central Coast/North Sydney Bears. Then, introduce a four quarter preseason cup with five pools of four and really big prize money (so all clubs will support it). The winner of each of the five pools play off in a knockout format for the ultimate cup and cash. That solution or format gives three preseason cup rounds plus a preseason final series of four games followed by 19 rounds of NRL and a 10 team finals series (i.e. top half qualify for finals, as happens now with a top eight from 16).
John Pritchard, Blackalls Park
Booking system is falling short
WE had an unfortunate incident happen on Wednesday this week. My 18-year-old daughter had a wheelchair taxi booked for 2pm to pick her up from Belmont to return home. I was at work at this time. At 2.10pm, with no sign of transport, I called 13CABS to check on the booking and was told making a booking does not guarantee a vehicle - so what is the point of booking?
I was asked to call again in 10 minutes, which I did four times and was told they were still looking for a vehicle.
Fortunately, my daughter was in a safe environment with adults she knew, who waited with her past their working time to make sure she was ok. One of the staff members drove her home and the wheelchair had to stay locked away on the premises.
At 4.15pm I received a text message to say a vehicle was approaching (two hours and 15 minutes after the booking time! How is this practical?). I had called and cancelled the booking as alternate arrangements had to be made. Thank you to the staff at Belmont High School.
I do not have any problem with the taxi drivers, however the booking system clearly does not work and needs a complete review. Sadly, this is not an isolated incident and does nothing to help a young person trying to be independent and work on their confidence.
Hazel Coles, Charlestown
Mixed messages on vaccine plan
I FEEL utterly sorry for older Australians because of confusion concerning COVID-19 vaccination (Two deaths unlikely linked to vaccine, Newcastle Herald 30/4). The group I feel most sorry for are those in the 50-60 year age bracket. I can only imagine their days are full of "Will I or won't I?".
On the one hand you have the government pushing vaccination and people wanting to do the right thing, yet a dark cloud of fear and uncertainty is hanging over everyone. Health officials are falling over themselves trying to reassure us that the deaths and hospitalisations are unlikely to be linked to the vaccine or that risks are extremely low. This is cold comfort to the seriously ill person or their family should they die. Until there is more certainty and assurance that people over 50 can be vaccinated without serious or fatal side effects, I believe the rollout of the AstraZeneca vaccine should be ceased.
Julie Robinson, Cardiff
Permit has roads at braking point
ON Wednesday morning during peak hour there was very heavy traffic. No one knew the reason. The radio did not tell of any accidents/incidents. We left home at 8:04am and we reached Wallsend at 8:56am. When we got close we realised that Sandgate Road was closed to allow for truck movement from a building site. I called the council, who said they were investigating and put me on hold. They then told me a road occupation licence was given to a construction company and they had closed the road, that traffic management officers were on site and the road would open immediately. My son was going to a school camp. The bus left without him and some other kids from the same area, and the school had to arrange with another parent to take my son and the other kids due to this act by the council officials. We crawled our way to the school and the road was still closed when we passed it on our way back. Traffic was backed up for kilometres.
Didn't the council officials who provided the construction company with the licence know how many vehicles used Sandgate Road during the peak hour on a working day? Couldn't they have started the work after 9:30am?
Beryl Mehanathan, Fletcher
Stadium plan is courting disaster
I AM all for a new basketball stadium in Lake Macquarie but not situated in Hillsborough ('Stadium traffic access dispute', Herald 28/4). The two main reasons for this are parking availability and traffic.
When there is a major event, the stadium will have capacity for 4000 spectators plus event people. There will be no parking on-site for spectators. Where are they supposed to park? Waratah Ave, Hillsborough Road and the bypass are the only surrounding roads. Waratah Avenue and the streets that branch off it are all classified as local streets and are not designed to support all the additional requirements.
The entrances/exits currently being considered are at the south on ramp of the bypass and Waratah Avenue. Hillsborough Road is at capacity now, especially at the bow-tie roundabout during peak hours. Neither Hillsborough Road or Waratah Avenue will be able to support the additional vehicles expected to use the roads.
Wendy Marr, Hillsborough
Corporal punishment a bad lesson
I AGREE with Eva Mendes' belief that spanking is not good for a child's development, (Star Snap, 30/4). Hitting your child teaches three things: people who love you are entitled to hurt you, big people can hurt little people and violence solves problems.
The major problem is that usually when a parent hits a child, the parent is angry and likely to lose control. There are endless safe punishments for children: I know one adult who as a child would plead: please hit me but let me watch TV.
Joan Lambert, Adamstown
I GOT a letter today informing me that conditional consent was granted to a developer to carry out infrastructure work for paid parking to be introduced at the Kotara Homemaker Centre ('Centre paid parking nears', Newcastle Herald 3/5). What is happening here? Do they know that people go to these centres to shop and spend money? I can't accept the line that costs would cover maintenance of the car park. Who has been doing this work up to date? The same goes for all shopping centres, but the one I get really upset about is fees to park at hospitals. Hospital parks were built by public money.
Greg Lowe, New Lambton
I TOTALLY agree with Tom Dobinson (Short Takes, 23/4). Pauline Hanson's right hand man and fellow senator Mr Roberts thinks it's fine for some people to support coal mining and for some not to. I'll bet he never gave back the wages or salary he earned from being a mine manager on the east side of Lake Macquarie. Maybe he is ready to donate now to those who paid the price to set up the industry for him to become a manager and earn a reasonably comfortable living. How quick they forget and leopards do not change their spots.
Robert Pattie, Caves Beach
AUSTRALIA'S top security boss Mike Pezzullo tells us that the war drums are beating very loudly coming from China and we should be prepared to again send our warriors off to fight. While all this is happening, we are exporting record amounts of iron ore to the very same country. Iron ore to make steel, which in turn is turned into warships, planes, tanks and numerous other war materials which one day could be used against us. Reminds me of the Menzies government selling pig iron to Japan before World War II.
Darryl Tuckwell, Eleebana
LIKE Peter Selmeci (Short Takes 30/4), I was also intrigued by Steve Barnett's short take (Herald, 28/4). Finally I assumed he was displaying sophisticated sarcasm and/or his deep understanding of irony.
Keith Parsons, Newcastle
AS always, the "artist's impression" looks good ('$5m mall project locked in', Herald 29/4) but sometimes the devil is in the detail. Can someone from the council or contractor reassure all of us frequent mall users that the magnificent, mature and summer-shady London Planetrees, one of the mall's principal attractions, will be safe from the chain-saws? We could well do without another Laman Street drama.
Carl Boyd, Newcastle
PETER Selmeci (Short Takes, 30/4): for chuck steak nobody takes the butcher seriously. First the pandemic, now China is bamboozling us with reducing emissions by building more coal fired power stations. I'm moving to China. Then again, China is moving here real soon.