Deja vu for Tane as Drua deliver another heart-breaker to under fire Coleman

Two weeks after missing a late chance to beat the Highlanders, Tane Edmed muffed his lines once again as the Tahs fell to a heartbreaking first-ever loss to Fijian Drua in golden point in Lautoka.

Suffocating heat, then pouring rain, a brutal burst of brilliance from a player deemed not up to NRL standards, and a brave Waratahs comeback marked the Drua’s 39-36 win.

The game was won in the 88th minute when Rob Valetini’s brother Kemu sent over a field goal. A few minutes earlier Edmed was set up in good position but shanked a wobbly kick low into the upright.

“Proud of the effort, it was a slog out here today and it was a physical game with ebbs and flows,” said Waratahs skipper Jake Gordon. “They had momentum in that first half, we came out in the second half and we won the confrontational battle up front and started to play some good footy off there. Like the last two or three weeks, the crucial parts of the game we let it slip.”

At the end of it Darren Coleman’s Waratahs have lost a fourth game from five this season, leaving their campaign, and the future of the coach twisting in the wind.

It’s no shame to go to Fiji and be overwhelmed – the conditions make it tough for FIFO footy players against players used to the sapping humidity – but there was no reason for the Tahs to be caught completely cold.

What was stunning was the Tahs incredible turnaround after going to the sheds behind 16 points at halftime to force golden point.

The Tahs made it so hard for themselves in an ill disciplined first half.

Frank Lomani scored one of the easiest lineout tries you’ll see, sneaking over as the Tahs forwards were still trying to organise themselves, while centre Iosefo Masi scored a first half hat-trick – the first by anyone for the Drua – giving Izzy Perese in particular an absolute bath.

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Masi, an Olympic Games gold medallist, had a short stint at Townsville Cowboys but they cut him loose before he played an NRL game.

He’s yet to play a Test for the Flying Fijians but that can’t be far off – he now has five tries in two weeks and was unstoppable at times.

Questions over Coleman’s future have been around since the start of the season – mostly driven by unnamed sources speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald. He was reported to have four weeks to prove himself ahead of a NSW board meeting that would determine if he deserves a contract extension. That’s now five weeks and there were questions about his future raised again midweek, with the meeting pending.

The Tahs had lost their past two by narrow margins and but for a Edmed missed kick against the Highlanders and some poor execution a week ago against the Blues, they could well be sitting at 3-2 rather than 1-4. But footy is a results business, and this was another one that went against them.

The Tahs started well in 30 degree temperature and high humidity and went to an early 10-0.

Hooker Mahe Vailanu crossed off a clever lineout play. As the Drua expected the visitors to set up a rolling maul, Jed Holloway, Ned Hanigan and Charlie Gamble traded quick passes before sending their No.2 over.

Edmed added the conversion from out wide and another penalty in front before Fiji, urged on by the incessant noise of vuvuzelas, warmed to the task.

Their opening try owed plenty to the Tahs’ indiscipline. The hosts had an option for an easy three points but chose to tap and run. They turned it over on the first phase and the Tahs tried to pass and run it out from their own in goal. Perese had a chance for a clearing kick but passed it up and the ball was shunted out over the sideline giving the Drua a lineout in a good position.

From the set piece, Masi stepped outside a grasping Perese and inside Mark Nawaqanitawase to cross for his first.

The second came from another error, this time by young fullback Max Jorgensen, who spilled a high kick under little pressure. Two minutes later the Fijians crossed as the Tahs fell asleep and failed to track Lomani’s run at the line out.

That gave the hosts a lead they never surrendered, although Jake Gordon twice passed up easy kicks for three only to watch his pack repelled from the set piece.

Masi grabbed his second, finishing off an excellent piece of backline play. Jorgensen hardly covered himself in glory – he was slow to close the space on the marauding Drua centre and then his shoulder high tackle attempt seemed more like a gesture of concession than real commitment.

Masi added a third when he took a simple pass from Masi and just punched right through Perese. The Tahs centre announced this week he was leaving the club at the end of the season, and maybe he was preoccupied in what was a dismal first half from the Wallaby.

His Test teammate Nawaqanitawase, with his Fijian father in the stands, was low key and only noticed when he was yellow carded a mniute before the break for a deliberate knockdown.

The mood was ectastic in the stands at halftime and the Tahs looked cooked, down 26-10. Driving rain during the break added even more resistance to the heavy field but the visitors turned the match on its head dramatically.

With Nawaqanitawase still in the bin, Joey Walton ran direct off a scrum and Perese popped a pass up for Charlie Gamble to begin the comeback. Fiji hooker Tevita Ikanivere restored the advantage but then Walton got a try of his own, followed by two tries in two minutes from Vailanua and Lachie Swinton.

After looking down and out the Tahs were level heading into the final 15 minutes.

The Tahs had their chances to grab the win in normal time, but Jorgensen knocked on with the Drua on the rack. A second opportunity was also let drift away, before the Drua also threatened on the break as the siren sounded.

But after 80 minutes in oppressive conditions, with five tries apiece, the teams faced off for 10 more minutes.

Within two minutes the Fijians were down to 14 as referee James Doleman yellow carded Peni Matawalu for slapping a Tahs player three times on the head in a maul, leaving the hosts without their reserve scrum half for the rest of the game.

A poor Drua lineout gave the Tahs a perfect chance to attack and they made excellent progress down the left before setting Edmed for a drop goal attempt. He drilled his kick low and into the post – a shaky strike when he needed composure.

Instead the Drua held theirs and worked it up field. With advantage on their side Valetini nailed his snapped attempt.

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The world hitting ‘peak baby’ and other stories you might have missed this year

From Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, to the death of Queen Elizabeth II, 2022 was full of big stories. 

After two years dominated by COVID-19, these headlines took attention away from a pandemic that stubbornly rages on.

We’ve compiled a list of your 15 most-read for the year.

Anthony Albanese led Labor back from the political wilderness in 2022. (AP: Rick Rycroft)

After almost a decade in the political wilderness, Australian voters returned Labor to office in 2022, led by Anthony Albanese.

While self-described “bulldozer” Scott Morrison had made a last-ditch pitch to voters to keep him in power, his unpopularity would play a key role in a raft of Coalition seat losses.

Former treasurer Josh Frydenberg was just one of those high-profile candidates sent packing, amidst a so-called “teal” (independent) wave.

A disgruntled-looking Novak Djokovic spreads his arms wide as he looks down at the court  after a point during a match.
The federal government spectacularly deported Novak Djokovic ahead of the Australian Open. (AP: Kamran Jebreili)

Confusion reigned in January when nine-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic was granted an exemption to travel to Australia without being vaccinated against COVID-19.

With Melburnians having spent more than 260 days in lockdown, there was also a fair share of public anger at the seeming double standard.

The federal government subsequently stepped in, announcing that it would deport the 34-year-old, with Djokovic spending the night in immigration detention as his lawyers appealed.

The fiasco made headlines around the world, with the world number one eventually deported on the eve of the tournament. 

A man in a suit stands in front of a red backdrop.
At least 6,702 civilians have died since Russia invaded Ukraine. (AP: Sergei Bobylev/Sputnik/Kremlin Pool Photo)

News first broke in February that Russian President Vladimir Putin had authorised a military operation in the Eastern European country.

As of December, war still rages in Ukraine, with scores of civilians dead and millions displaced.

A recent UN report, released on December 4, estimated that 6,702 civilians had died, with Russian forces killing at least 441 in the first weeks of the invasion.

All is not going to plan for Putin, however, with discussion recently turning to the possibility of Ukraine recapturing all of its southern territory — even liberating Crimea.

A huge grey cloud rises from a submarine volcano, as a forked bolt of lightnight hits the left side of the rising ash plume.
The Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai erupted off Tonga in January, causing widespead chaos.(Reuters: Tonga Geological Services)

The Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcanic eruption came to a powerful climax in the middle of January, causing tsunamis locally as well as in New Zealand, Japan, the US, Russia and Peru, to name a few.

Australia’s east coast and islands were also issued tsunami alerts, while at least six people were reported dead.

NASA later declared that the Tongan tsunami was hundreds of times more powerful than the atomic bomb the US dropped on Hiroshima during World War II.

Constables Rachel McCrow and Matthew Arnold smiles with the police badge behind them.
Constables Rachel McCrow and Matthew Arnold were killed in a deadly siege in rural Queensland in December.(ABC News: Lewi Hirvela/Supplied: Queensland Police Service)

Two police officers and a member of the public lost their lives in horrific circumstances in December, after police were called out to a property in Wieambilla, west of Brisbane, searching for a missing Dubbo man.

Queensland Police Union president Ian Leavers said Constable Rachel McCrow (29), Constable Matthew Arnold (26) and neighbour Alan Dare (58) were killed in a “ruthless, calculated and targeted execution”.

“Just such a tragedy, this should never happen,” Leavers said.

“They’re both under 30, they’ve hardly lived life and their lives have been cut short.”

Rapid antigen test kits for detecting COVID-19
Should you be asking for an antibody test to see if you’ve been infected with COVID-19?(ABC News: Tara Cassidy)

This article starts with a scene from the start of the year that could well describe the situation today.

Omicron cases are much higher than official numbers, and it’s increasingly difficult to access a PCR test to find out whether or not the scratch in your throat is COVID or hayfever.

So how do you know if you’ve actually been infected with COVID-19?

Antibody tests can answer that question (depending on the time frame in which the test is done, and whether you mounted a detectable response to infection), but experts like AMA vice-president Chris Moy say there should be a clear clinical reason for conducting them.

A good example of when an antibody test might be appropriate is if someone is experiencing symptoms consistent with long-COVID.

hundreds of little human models in a big crowd
The world is now inhabited by over 8 billion people, but there may never be more children alive than there are today. 

By the time you read this paragraph, the world’s population grew by around 20 people, writes Casey Briggs.

That’s about the best way to wrap your head around what it means for the world to be inhabited by eight billion people.

But while population growth has been rapid — increasing by seven billion in the last two centuries — we are now at “peak baby”, meaning there will never again be more children alive than there are today.

That’s in part because fertility rates are plummeting across the globe, although trends differ geographically: just eight countries are projected to be responsible for more than half the world’s population increase by 2050.

a young girl smiling and holding an umbrella
Charlise Mutten, 9, was on holiday in the Blue Mountains before she was allegedly murdered by her mother’s fiancé.(Supplied)

Five days after nine-year-old Charlise Mutten was last seen in the Blue Mountains, police charged 31-year-old Justin Stein with her murder.

Police alleged Stein, who was engaged to Charlise’s mother, acted alone, after Charlise’s remains were found in a barrel in the bush near the Colo River.

A number of inconsistencies in Stein’s story raised suspicions, including his purchase of 20 kilogram sandbags from a hardware store, and fuel for his boat.

Charlise lived with her grandmother in Coolangatta in Queensland, but had been holidaying in NSW with her mother and Mr Stein.

Stan Grant speaks about not being seen as a human being image
Stan Grant wasn’t afraid to talk about the big issues facing First Nations people in the wake of Queen Elizabeth II’s death. (Four Corners )

In the wake of Queen Elizabeth II’s death, Stan Grant’s analysis focused on the stuff “we aren’t supposed to talk about”: colonisation, empire, violence, Aboriginal sovereignty and the republic.

He wrote of his anger at the ongoing suffering and injustice of First Nations people — in particular those “languishing in cells. Those who take their own lives. Those who are caught in endless cycles of despair”.

He also reflected on the inevitable online abuse he and his family would receive in the wake of his column, before resolving not to be scared into silence.

“Why? Because a voice is all we have. Because too often that voice is silenced.”

A framed photograph of Shane Warne on the cricket pitch says 'THANK YOU SHANE'.
The news that 52-year-old Shane Warne had died of a heart attack prompted a global outpouring of grief. (AAP: Joel Carrett)

For many, “Warnie” was larger than life, a once-in-a-generation cricketer famous for reinvigorating the art of leg spin, as well as his embodiment of the “Aussie larrikin” trope.

So it was with great shock that many responded to the news that he had died of a heart attack in Thailand, aged just 52, leaving behind the three children he had with his former wife Simone Callahan.

It led to an outpouring of grief around the world, with Premier Daniel Andrews offering a state funeral and the MCG rebranding the Great Southern Stand the “Shane Warne Stand” in the Victorian’s honour.

The Foo Fighters lead singer and guitarist, Dave Grohl, with drummer, Taylor Hawkins.
Taylor Hawkins (left) had been the Foo Fighters’ drummer for the last 25 years.(AP: Kevin Winter)

The announcement that Taylor Hawkins had died at age 50 came just hours before the Foo Fighters were due to take the stage at a Colombian music festival in Bogota.

Hawkins had been the band’s drummer for the last 25 years, taking over from original drummer William Goldsmith in 1997.

Apart from founder Dave Grohl (formerly of Nirvana), he was arguably the most recognisable face of the band, and is survived by his wife Alison and their three children.

Water rises over a riverfront restaurant precinct, making the restaurants look like part of the river
South-east Queenslanders were hit with “unrelenting walls of water” in February. (Supplied: Shae Laura)

In February, south-east Queensland was battered by what Premier Anastacia Palaszcuk described as “unrelenting walls of water”.

Multiple lives were lost as thousands of homes flooded, tens of thousands were evacuated, schools were closed and businesses were left without power.

It was just the start of a series of floods that would occur in Queensland and New South Wales over the coming months, devastating communities in both states.

A woman with long brown hair and a green blouse smiles while looking at the camera.
Julia Hunt wants to destigmatise public housing in Australia.(Supplied: Julia Hunt)

Victorian Liberal MP Wendy Lovell offended many in March when she told parliament that social housing should not be placed in affluent suburbs.

This article explores the stigma of growing up in social housing, and its increasing association — from the 1970s onwards — with “crime and criminality, disorder, anti-social behaviour [and] welfare dependency”.

Author Bridget Judd explores the efforts of youth worker Julia Rudd and others to combat “postcode discrimination”, writing: “For those living in public housing, it’s not an abstract policy discussion, it’s home.”

Rain on the lense
BOM didn’t have good news for us about the long-term weather outlook. (Matt Grbin)

Natural disasters (and the ongoing effects of climate change) were in the headlines again in October, with the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) releasing a long-range forecast — until April 2023 — for Australia’s “upcoming severe weather season”.

The state-by-state forecast warned of an increased risk of widespread flooding for eastern and northern Australia, as well as an increased risk of an above-average number of tropical cyclones and tropical lows.

None of it read like great news, as many of us are experiencing currently.

The Queen shaking hands with Liz Truss in a living room
Liz Truss was sworn in by Queen Elizabeth II just two days before the monarch died. (Reuters: Jane Barlow)

Liz Truss’ prime ministership might have lasted just 44 days, but it will be remembered for the most dramatic series of events.

Truss was famously sworn in by Queen Elizabeth II on September 6, just two days before the monarch died.

She then implemented a raft of economic measures that saw the world’s sixth-biggest economy abruptly crash, saved only by extraordinary interventions from the Bank of England.

After a series of humiliations and U-turns, the British tabloid the Daily Star then set up a live feed of an unrefrigerated iceberg lettuce, asking who would last longer, the lettuce or Truss.

The lettuce won. 

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#world #hitting #peak #baby #stories #missed #year