Aug 07

Inglis ready to roll for Rabbitohs

Not only is Greg Inglis a certain starter for South Sydney in a crucial NRL clash against the Warriors in Perth on Saturday but coach Michael Maguire expects his captain to lead the charge against their in-form and dangerous opponents.


Inglis returned to some of his best form in last Saturday’s 22-16 win over the Gold Coast Titans before leaving the field due to a head knock in the 56th minute, but he is a certain starter at nib Stadium in Saturday’s vital match.

The Rabbitohs, who are hosting their annual clash in Perth, are in sixth position with a 7-5 record having won their last two games without Adam Reynolds.

The Warriors are on a three-match winning streak and not far behind with a 6-5 return.

While Shaun Johnson, Sam Tomkins, Manu Vatuvei and company will provide plenty for the Rabbitohs to worry about, Maguire expects nothing but the best from an honest Inglis who admitted to being down on form after Origin 1.

“I think a bit of a rest with his tonsillitis has probably been a great thing for him at this time of the year so he’s looking forward to having a big game now here in Perth,” Maguire said.

“He’s a pretty harsh critic of himself and I think there are errors in his game that he even looked at from our last game that he wants to improve on. That’s a good reflection of him as a senior player.”

Things haven’t been completely smooth for the Rabbitohs in their premiership defence in 2015, particularly with the absence of halfback Reynolds with a thumb injury which sees him sidelined for another month.

But Maguire has been impressed with those that have stepped up in particular Luke Keary who is replacing Reynolds, and is now chasing a third straight win come Saturday to improve to an 8-5 record.

This will be a great result given they are yet to hit top gear.

“We are continually going through stages where you have all your players on the field at some stages, and then others have been injured so we’ve been through those times. But what it has done for us is it has given us some great growth with guys coming in,” Maguire said.

“A lot of our young guys Cam McInnes, Nathan Brown, Aaron Gray and Luke Keary have all really stepped up, especially Luke with Adam being out injured with his thumb. For us it’s about the opportunities provided through this period and we just need to keep forging forward.”

Aug 07

Suns aim to play ugly against Swans

Rodney Eade didn’t sign up for this.


He was supposed to be fine-tuning a young, talented team that appeared poised to throw open their AFL premiership window.

Instead, the Gold Coast coach finds himself with quite literally “no midfield” due to injuries and with his best key forward sidelined due to a failure to comprehend a simple ban on alcohol.

The former is nobody’s fault but the latter issue which resulted in Charlie Dixon and injured rookie Jack Martin handed one-week suspensions for breaking a player-enforced moratorium on drinking, is indicative of how much work lies ahead for the Suns who face Sydney at Metricon Stadium on Saturday.

“I was spoken to when I got the job about some areas that needed to improve and build on,” Eade said.

“The alcohol’s part of that, but it’s the standards of being an AFL professional player.

“It’s so difficult.

“Most of the guys are responding and there’s some speed humps on the way.

“It’s certainly thrown some curve balls.”

Second from bottom with just one win in nine weeks, things don’t get any better for the Suns as they prepare to face the third-placed Swans this weekend – and then ladder-leaders Fremantle the week after.

If their on-ball problems weren’t already bad enough with the ongoing absences of Gary Ablett, Dion Prestia, Jaeger O’Meara and David Swallow, livewire Harley Bennell (calf) and Matt Shaw (illness) were ruled out early on Friday.

Eade said he may have no choice but to instruct his men to play “ugly” against the Swans.

“I think the biggest area, apart from our inexperience, is going to be our run,” he said.

“We’ve got no midfield really.

“You’re just really going to struggle.

“We just can’t afford to play ping-pong footy up and back, transition footy, because not having a midfield you’re going to get smashed in that area.

“And the fact Sydney are probably one of the best running sides in the competition, we’ll have to be mindful of that.

“We’ll have to do some things differently and try and make it into an ugly game.”

Aug 07

Port turning AFL corner: Hinkley

After a rocky road, Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley reckons his AFL side is turning the corner.


Hinkley’s Port host the Western Bulldogs on Saturday night, seeking consecutive wins to square their win-loss ledger.

“We have to keep taking steps forward … I don’t think we’re too far away,” Hinkley told reporters on Friday.

Port returned to the winner’s list last weekend after three consecutive losses, a streak which had some pundits jumping from pre-season predictions of the Power being a premiership contender.

But Hinkley has kept that vision alive.

“I felt like we were building a little bit in the right direction … we still didn’t play four strong quarters of football last week, we’re still a little way off where we need to be,” he said.

“But we’re working really hard to gain that momentum.”

Port demoted Nathan Krakouer to the rookie list, replacing him in the side for the Bulldogs match with midfielder Aaron Young.

The emerging Dogs enter the Adelaide Oval in ninth spot with five wins and four wins, but Hinkley isn’t surprised at their promising form.

“The competition not so much surprises the people involved in it, it surprises the rest,” he said.

“You have got not just the Bulldogs, you have West Coast, the Giants – there’s a couple of emerging teams and certainly the Bulldogs are one of them.

“”We have seem their best is very, very good.

“They’re an incredibly well-drilled side. They have got some real speed about their team and Bobby Murphy leads them incredibly well.

“They’re an exciting team and we will need to be at our best.”

The fixture is Port onballer Hamish Hartlett’s 100th AFL game, a milestone in an injury-troubled career which began in 2009.

“His first couple of years with the (injury) disruptions, I’m sure there were some doubts in his own mind about whether 100 games were going to come along,” Hinkley said.

“Right now, he’s in really strong physical condition and form and hopefully there’s another 100 to come.”

Aug 07

Alan Bond: hero, entrepreneur, fraudster

When Alan Bond was a boy his father predicted one of two fates for his wayward offspring.


“Either he will end up in jail, or he’ll be the richest man in Australia,” Frank Bond said.

The father perhaps underestimated an over-achieving son who made wholehearted attempts to fulfil both paternal prophecies.

In a working life that began in a sign-writing business in 1959, Alan Bond rose to stunning prominence as a global entrepreneur and a symbol of Australian can-do enterprise.

He established a company that grew from nothing to one that brewed most of the beer in Australia, that owned nickel mines in Queensland, a national television network and the world’s most expensive painting, among many other things.

Bond also graduated from a spot of teenage burglary to become the greatest fraudster in Australian history and one of the country’s most celebrated corporate criminals.

Bond, who has died on Friday aged 77, also became the first non-American to win the once coveted America’s Cup sailing trophy, in 1983, an exercise that led to the birth of an icon that will well-and-truly outlast him – the boxing kangaroo.

As well as a suite of businesses at home, the Bond companies acquired extensive interests abroad including hotels, among them the plush St Moritz in New York, skyscrapers in Hong Kong, a company that conducted airship flights above London, the Chilean national telephone company and a floundering American brewery.

The Bond business conquests were regular and legendary. At his peak, bankers loved him, investors courted him and he was a national hero who could part the crowds Moses-like whenever he appeared on the streets of his hometown of Perth.

The staff at his corporate headquarters tended to see him differently.

Whenever the boss returned from a business trip a shudder would go through the executive team headed by the late Peter Beckwith as they were called on to patch up one crippled acquisition after another.

“It all made Alan seem as though he was invincible,” Beckwith once said.

“The bankers fell over each other to finance anything he wanted to do, everyone believed he was the greatest thing that had ever happened.”

He was far from it.

One of the worst of Bond’s acquisitions was the ailing American brewer G Heileman, for which he paid $1.26 billion in 1987, around three times what it was worth.

Heileman, Bond figured, would be the perfect vehicle to launch his local brewing assets – Swan, Castlemaine and Tooheys – in the US market.

It turned out to be merely another symptom of an incurable condition which caused Bond to do deals and then juggle his increasingly massive debt to pay for them.

In the same year he bought Heileman, Bond also made the most expensive art purchase the world had ever known.

But the $US54 million he paid for Vincent van Gogh’s Irises was typical of his unusual deals, its purchase having been financed to the tune of around $US27 million by the auctioneer Sotheby’s.

Bond never paid them back, and the painting never graced any of his homes.

His penchant for fooling around with fine art would later lead him to the low point of his life.

Bond meanwhile struck another deal during the same period that typified his doubtful business acumen and became part of Australian business folklore.

The purchase from Kerry Packer of the Nine Network for $1.05 billion, and its later sale back to Packer for $300 million was a dream transaction – but not for Bond.

It prompted the observation from Packer that it was a shame there could only be one Alan Bond in his lifetime.

By 1989, the man who had marched boldly into boardrooms around the world found himself firmly on the back foot with Bond Corporation’s debt at astonishing levels and his once compliant bankers clamouring for repayment.

More persistent than the bankers, however, was the English businessman Roland “Tiny” Rowland, in whose company Lonrho, Bond, using yet more borrowed money, had acquired a substantial holding.

Rowland pulled Bond’s business empire apart in a 93-page document he published showing it to be insolvent and trading illegally.

Rowland’s revelations made an already slippery slope ever more perilous.

The first part of his father’s forecast came to pass in 1991 when Bond faced trial for theft over a deal to rescue the failed Rothwells merchant bank.

It was a case that revealed much about how business was done Bond-style.

Bond allegedly talked a business colleague Brian Coppin into tipping a few million into a rescue of Rothwells while concealing that Bond Corp would receive a $16 million fee for organising the rescue.

Bond served six months, only to be acquitted at a re-trial.

That success proved fleeting as the world continued to crash down around the man who little more than a decade earlier had been named Australian of the Year.

In 1996 Bond was committed to stand trial for defrauding the shareholders of Bell Resources, a company he had acquired from the late Robert Holmes a’Court, of more than $1 billion.

He also stood trial and was jailed over a fraudulent art deal involving the Edouard Manet painting La Promenade which Bond’s public company, Bond Corp, sold to his private company Dallhold for $2.46 million.

Dallhold duly sold the painting a year later for $17 million.

It was during the La Promenade case that Bond suffered a celebrated, and suspiciously convenient, bout of amnesia.

He got four years for stealing the money from Bell resources and three for the art deal. Together the guilty verdicts made him the biggest fraudster in Australian history.

On his release from prison, rejuvenated and with memory restored, Bond got back to work, amassing another fortune through investments in diamond mines and oil companies in Africa.

Bond and his first wife Eileen, whom he married as a 17-year-old in 1955, divorced in 1992.

He married theatre producer Diana Bliss in 1995. She died in 2012.

Aug 07

The life and times of Alan Bond


The English-born businessman was a celebrated symbol of Australia’s can-do enterprise, with a stunning rise to prominence beginning in 1959.


It was all going so well, until it wasn’t. Bankruptcy, fraud convictions and four years in prison were all part of the parcel of one of Perth’s most infamous adopted sons.



A company which began as a simple sign-writing business soon grew to one that brewed most of the beer in Australia. Alongside local assets, the Bond Corporation also acquired interests abroad, including the St Moritz hotel in New York and the Lippo skyrise complex in Hong Kong. The corporation also provided a vehicle for Bond to purchase Van Gogh’s Irises for $54 million and bankroll Australia’s America’s Cup bids.


John Bertrand may have been the skipper, but it was Bond’s money that played a crucial role in Australia II’s historic bid to break the longest streak in world sport. Bond bankrolled the 1983 challenge as part of a syndicate, as well as three previous bids, to become the first international team to win the America’s Cup in its history.


Bankrolling Australia’s first two challenges at the America’s Cup proved the catalyst for the businessman to be named Australian of the Year in 1978 (alongside Galarrwuy Yunupingu). The honour would be fleeting. It was stripped from him in 1997 when revelations of his corporate criminality came to light.



Bond’s financial trouble began to emerge in 1989, when English businessman Roland “Tiny” Rowland exposed his business empire in a 93-page document that showed it was insolvent and trading illegally. Bond was declared bankrupt in 1992, with personal debts amounting to $1.8 billion.


The first inklings of Bond’s underhanded dealings began in 1991 when he was convicted (later acquitted) for theft. It would be a brief reprieve, with Bond jailed in 1996 for four years for stealing $1 billion from Bell Resources to prop up his failing business empire. That, along with three years for a dodgy art deal and a raft of other convictions, made him the biggest fraudster in Australian history.


Bond’s eldest daughter, Susanne, aged 41, was found dead in her home in the upmarket Perth suburb of Peppermint Grove in 2000 from an accidental prescription drug overdose. Just over a decade later, his second wife Diana Bliss suffered a depressive illness for months before was found dead in the swimming pool of the couple’s Perth home in 2012.

Source: AAP, New York Times, Sydney Morning Herald

Jul 07

Remembering Alan Bond – business giant, America’s Cup hero and convicted fraudster

Aland Bond, who grew from humble beginnings to become one of Australia’s wealthiest and controversial businessmen, has died at the age of 77.



Mr Bond has inscribed the pages of Australia’s history books, both as the first non-American to seize the coveted America’s Cup sailing trophy and for his conviction over the country’s biggest-ever fraud.

One of Australia’s richest men during the 1980s, Alan Bond’s fall from grace began in 1992 when he declared bankruptcy. He was jailed in 1997 for a $1.2bn fraud involving his takeover of Bell Resources. He served three years before his release in 2000 after a successful High Court appeal against the length of his sentence. Upon his release, he told reporters he had no immediate plans for the future. “I’m just going to spend some time now and try and sort of get my life back together. It’s a little bit emotional to be quite frank. That’s about as much as I can say.”                                                                                                                   

Migrating with his family from England as a child, Alan Bond had left school at the age of 15, starting his career as a signwriter. While working, he undertook night studies in accountancy. 

‘Extremely ambitious, extremely confident’

One of his oldest friends, Denis Sowden told ABC’s Four Corners program in 1989 Mr Bond was extremely ambitious, and extremely confident, from a young age. “He was on the move, you know? He was a bloke who was always having a go. He had a different way of looking at things. He would want to do something, he’d be doing it. You’d wake up in the morning, find Alan was somewhere doing something. Other people would be saying, ‘Oh, wouldn’t be a bad idea.’ If Alan thought it was a good idea he did it. If it wasn’t a good idea, he found out later on.”

In 1983, after making a fortune as a property developer, Alan Bond became an Australian hero when his financial backing helped Australia II claim victory in the America’s Cup yacht race. It was the first time in 132 years that the New York Yacht club had lost the America’s Cup. 

Then-Prime Minister Bob Hawke noted the achievement with delight, telling reporters “Any boss who sacks anyone for not turning up today is a bum.” 

But while he is remembered for one of Australia’s great sporting victories, in the business world he was less simple to characterise. 

‘I don’t think he worries at night’

Speaking to ABC journalist Paul Barry in 1989, merchant banker Mark Burrows described Alan Bond as a driven man with the ability to compartmentalise his life. “I think he goes to sleep at night. That would be my impression. I can’t say that from any personal experience but I don’t think he worries at night. I think he has that great capacity to turn off. I mean if he didn’t, if he was like 99 per cent of us, he wouldn’t be here, would he? So he is someone who I think probably one of his strengths is that he can actually see himself in a reasonable perspective.” 

Alan Bond’s personal life was just as mercurial as his professional life. 

As a child he’d had rheumatic fever, which had led to surgery to replace a valve in his heart in 1992. It was the same year he and Eileen Hughes divorced after a 37-year marriage. He had been 17 years old in 1955 when they married, and the union had produced four children. 

In 1995 he married theatre producer Diana Bliss. 

While in jail in 1997 for his involvement in the takeover of Bell Resources, Alan Bond was stripped of his Officer of the Order of Australia honour awarded in 1984 after winning the America’s Cup. 

His daughter Susanne was found dead aged 41 in 2000 after a prescription drug overdose, while second wife Diana Bliss took her own life in 2012.

Jul 07

Carlton back in Kreuzer mood

Carlton caretaker-coach John Barker says he hopes the short-term pain of leaving Chris Yarran out of his AFL side this weekend will yield dividends in the future.


The Blues go into Saturday’s match with Adelaide bolstered by the inclusion of three big players; captain Marc Murphy, Chris Judd and long-term absentee Matthew Kreuzer.

But the absence of Yarran, handed an internal suspension for repeated lateness, has soured the occasion.

On Tuesday morning, Barker ordered the Blues squad into a dawn swim following the 24-year-old’s indiscretions.

On Saturday, the second-game coach said he was willing to forgo the chance to take on the Crows with a full-strength side to make the point.

“We compromise our ability to compete really well this week without him being in,” Barker said.

“But if we don’t stay accountable to a level of standard then we compromise our future and we compromise our ability going forward.

“In terms of his footy he’s been very good for us, in terms of standards … he didn’t quite meet them this week.

“He understands it fully, we had a good discussion about it and it was almost his decision that we stay really accountable.

“He’s an outstanding person … he’ll get that right.”

After earning a three-week ban for punching Essendon’s Paul Chapman earlier in the season, it’s a brain fade Yarran and Carlton can ill afford.

But Kreuzer’s return 15 months after his last AFL game – in round one last year – will be rightfully cheered.

The former No.1 draft pick has proved his fitness after a series of foot injuries by improving each week in three VFL hit-outs.

Barker said he was an “outstanding inclusion” and anticipated any nerves from his long absence would be swiftly dispelled.

“I’m sure he’ll be a little bit anxious but what overcomes anxiousness is effort and attack on the ball and he brings that in spades,” Barker said.

“We don’t expect him to win the game off his own boot but we know he’s going to give strong effort.”

Barker said Kreuzer’s return to rucking duties could benefit emerging forward Levi Casboult.

“That’s going to help no doubt, it helps our mechanics of who goes into the ruck and the ability to keep a tall forward present.”

In Carlton’s first home match since the dumping of Mick Malthouse as senior coach, Barker called for a response from fans after seeing support rapidly dwindle as losses piled up.

“Our supporters and fans and members are really important to us,” he said.

“We’d love to see them there in droves because the football club is about everybody, it’s not any individual.”

Jul 07

RBA in ‘uncharted territory’ on rates

With the cash rate at an historic low, the Reserve Bank is in “uncharted territory” as it seeks to boost the non-mining parts of the economy, an economist says.


After May’s quarter of a percentage point rate cut, the RBA left the official cash rate at two per cent in June, noting that lower interest rates were helping to support borrowing and spending.

However, a key concern for the central bank remains weak business investment, which has failed to rebound as mining investment has unwound.

Speaking on Friday, JP Morgan fixed income strategist Sally Auld said the RBA was currently in a unique position, describing the global economic environment as “much more fragile than it has been at any time in the last couple of decades”.

“It’s a lot more uncertain,” Ms Auld said, adding that she had her fingers crossed the US Federal Reserve would hike the Federal Funds Rate in September.

An interest rate hike in the US would put downward pressure on the Australian dollar, and make exports cheaper and increase the competitiveness of locally-made goods with imported products.

She said Australia’s central bank was seeking to support growth in the non-mining parts of the economy as the Chinese economy slows, the currency remains strong, households carry large amounts of debt, and with fiscal repair still to be done.

“There’s this whole confluence of factors that make economic policy-making in Australia quite difficult at the moment,” Ms Auld told the 2015 Corporate Governance Forum.

“The RBA to a certain extent finds itself in uncharted territory.

“They need to generate a set of financial conditions that is loose enough to engender some above trend growth in the non-mining economy.”

She said a key issue for the central bank was to hit the right mix of currency value and interest rates.

“Now we’re at two per cent on the cash rate and 76 US cents on the currency, and I think the RBA are crossing their fingers,” she said.

“They’re finding their way in the dark a little bit.”

It was likely that in six months time the RBA would assess the economy and cut rates again, if needed, Ms Auld added.

“They can’t sit by and watch an economy that seems to be mired in a sort of permanent state of sub-trend growth and do nothing.”

The market is currently pricing in a slightly higher than 50-50 chance that the RBA will cut the cash rate before the end of the year.

Jul 07

Alan Bond, Australian businessman and sailing figure, dead at 77

The 77-year-old Bond had been in intensive care in a hospital in the city of Perth following a triple-bypass operation on Tuesday and never regained consciousness, according to his family.


“To a lot of people, dad was a larger than life character who started with nothing and did so much,” his son Craig, one of three children, told reporters outside the hospital. “He really did experience the highs and lows of life.”

Bond achieved international acclaim for helping to bankroll the winning yacht, Australia II, in its upset victory in the 1983 America’s Cup, handing the New York Yacht Club its first ever loss in its 132-year history in the contest.

Born in Britain in 1938, Bond sailed with his parents to the port town of Fremantle in Western Australia in 1950, leaving school at 15 to become an apprentice signwriter.

But after marrying the daughter of a prominent businessman and politician at 18, Bond plunged into the construction and real estate businesses, becoming a millionaire at 21.

A string of audacious deals in gold, oil, property, brewing and television followed, making him one of the country’s best known businessmen.

In 1987 Bond, an avid collector of Impressionist paintings, secretly bought Vincent van Gogh’s “Irises” for a world record $49 million to hang in his luxurious Perth penthouse office.

He also bought a country estate containing a whole village in Britain, an island off Western Australia and a number of expensive yachts.

It was also in 1987 that he paid media mogul Australian Kerry Packer A$1.1 billion (551 million pounds) for the high-profile Channel Nine television network, but was later forced to sell it back to Packer at a fraction of the price.

In 1997, Bond was sentenced to seven years in prison after pleading guilty to defrauding his company, Bell Resources, of A$1.2 billion ($935 million). He served four years of the sentence and was released in 2000.

Bond was bankrupted for A$622 million, which was then the largest personal bankruptcy in history, before rebuilding at least part of his fortune. In 2008, he was estimated to have amassed a net worth of A$265 million by Business Review Weekly’s annual Rich List.

Bond and his first wife Eileen divorced in 1992. His second wife Diana died in 2012.

(Reporting by Matt Siegel and Lincoln Feast; Editing by Michael Perry)

Jul 07

Hooper brushes bonus-point talk for Tahs

The Cheetahs are at their most vulnerable this Super Rugby season but Michael Hooper isn’t talking up the Waratahs’ chances of banking maximum points from this weekend’s clash in Bloemfontein.


A four-try bonus-point win against the bottom-placed South African side in their penultimate-round clash will set the Waratahs up nicely to finish top of the Australian conference.

And the Cheetahs are ripe to be taken down.

Sitting 13th on the overall ladder, they have comfortably the worst defensive record in the competition – conceding a whopping 444 points in 2015 – and have leaked more points than normal over the past three weeks.

In emphatic losses to the Stormers, Lions and Highlanders, they’ve let in 16 tries – none of which changes Hooper’s mindset.

“Winning is first and foremost for us,” he told AAP ahead of Saturday’s clash (kick-off 11pm AEST) at Free State Stadium.

“The four-try bonus point is a good bonus.

“But it’s something that we’ll only be playing for where, if points or a try (come up) in the last five minutes of the game, we’re going for the try.

“The target is to really put out a complete performance. We believe the rest will take care of itself.”

The defending champion Waratahs sit equal on points with the Brumbies, who are overwhelming favourites to beat the bottom-of-the-table Western Force on Friday night.

Victories for the Tahs and Brumbies would set up a nervy final round against the Reds and Crusaders respectively in the tussle for playoff berths.

After last week’s loss to the Lions in Johannesburg, Hooper said there’d been a “fair bit of sting” during training.

The pressure of defending their title had not gotten to them, Hooper added.

“It seems like we’ve been chasing our tail with two early byes throughout the year, so it’s nothing new for us to be in the situation we’re in,” he added.

“Isolating the game on the weekend is what we’re going for at the moment.”

Discipline has also been a focus, with three yellow cards and as many suspensions in just two weeks.

Rob Horne, the last to be banned for a lifting tackle, has been replaced by Matt Carraro, while big flanker Jacques Potgieter returns to the starting side from a chest injury.

Hooper admitted the Waratahs had to “rein in” the number of penalties they were conceding while maintaining their “intimidating game”.

“It’s a balance we probably haven’t got right the last couple of weeks,” he said.

“But we want 15 guys on the field for a really good, strong 80 minutes this week.

“I don’t think guys should be scared, but they need to be smart players.”

The Cheetahs are well out of finals contention, but a fresh halves pairing in former Waratahs No.9 Sarel Pretorius and Niel Marais make them an unpredictable force at home.

“We’re excited about playing a different style of footy, and that’s Cheetahs rugby, but we want to put our play out there and really dominate the game,” Hooper added.