Christmas bonus time for quartet

Dubbo trainers picked up Christmas money by winning four of the 10 races decided at Dawson Park on Saturday.
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The meeting was highlighted by the performance of Run Wild Teddy who was super impressive in taking out the Job Care Cleaning 5th Grade Stakes over 516 metres.

Trained by Brenda Smith, Run Wild Teddy was hand timed at 30.59s and started equal favourite at 6-4 with Pipers Law which was never in the race and finished fifth.

The one box was made to suit for the winner who beat Fantastic Ruby (5-1) by 3.5 lengths with Misty Spring (2-1) third.

Other Dubbo-trained dogs to win were Casino Knights (9-2) for Greg Ford, Boss Nyad (4-1) from Graeme Smith’s kennel and Nyad Midnight, which surprised with victory for Wendy Smith.

Nyad Midnight was the rank outsider at 6-1 in the Hub City Greyhound Education Maiden (313m) but kicked clear in the straight to win by three lengths from Armatree Ronny and Golden Cargo.

The bookmaker’s board looked somewhat different with the shortest price of six dogs 3-1 out to 6-1 Nyad Midnight.

While bookmakers had a wry smile on their faces after the opening race won by Nyad Midnight, the Pam Braddon kennel continued its surge on Dubbo races with well-backed favourites winning as they pleased.

Pamela Braddon finished with a winning double when Peter’s Way and Leumeah Girl started at 6-4 on and won accordingly.

Kylie McDonald from Orange also came up with a double with Hidalog (4-6) particularly impressive with a 4.5 lengths win over Cecil’s Memory and Total Doll in the Dubbo Pet and Stock Feeds Stakes for 4th and 5th grade dogs over 516m.

Despite easing from 5-2 into 3-1, Kiss Of Shiraz also won for McDonald.

Greyhound followers of meetings at Dawson Park are reminded that the Dubbo club races again this Saturday night and also on Monday December 27.

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Jockeys called to stewards inquiry after bets quizzed

RACING NSW stewards yesterday opened an inquiry into betting activities on some country and provincial races. It is believed two experienced out-of-town riders were interviewed behind closed doors at Racing NSW’s Sydney offices. The races under investigation were held between June 20 and August 15.
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WHIPS AWAY: The Racing Victoria board has supported the view that changes to the whip rule are required. The board met on Wednesday and discussed recommendations from a recent national stewards conference at which the use of the whip by jockeys was discussed.

"The stewards were united on introducing a new policy but I can’t say at this point what they are," RV chief steward Terry Bailey said yesterday.

Bailey said the proposed changes would go before the Australian Racing Board this month, while he revealed results of out-of-competition drug tests on more than 300 Victorian horses had all returned negative.

Bailey also confirmed the Irish jockeys set to ride in Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup met for half an hour with stewards yesterday. Team riding was on the agenda.

"We went through our careless riding policy; what is tolerable, what is not," Bailey said. "We also gave them a copy of rules outlining they must take all reasonable and permissible measures to ensure their mounts obtain best possible placings in the field. The meeting was very positive; they appreciated the opportunity to be informed about the local rules."

On the racetrack, veteran Victorian jockey Neville Wilson yesterday rode his 2000th winner when scoring on Cocojet at Stawell. The 62-year-old rode his first winner at Mansfield in 1963.

TRAINER’S OMEN: Walking through the tunnel under the Flemington track on Thursday morning, horses filing in and out, trainer Nigel Blackiston spotted a gold coin. The trainer of Littorio, which runs in today’s Mackinnon Stakes, and Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup, bent down and picked it up.

"Heads up," Blackiston said.

He couldn’t make out the currency but Blackiston wondered if it was an omen. He had just explained everything was on track with the dual derby placegetter and Turnbull Stakes winner.

"I did toy with the idea of running him in the Cox Plate but he did struggle with the corners at Caulfield, and the Mackinnon was definitely a better option," Blackiston said.

Littorio finished fifth as favourite behind All The Good in the Caulfield Cup, with jockey Steven King on top.

"Back on his home track, he races well here. No use changing things, he is comfortable here," Blackiston said.

"He has done really well. I think he has taken plenty of benefit from the [Caulfield] cup, he has improved. Steven is happy with the horse … I’ve got him right where I want him."

WRONG TONIC: Don’t swallow the line about Coffs Harbour sprinter Nuclear Medicine appearing at Flemington for the first time. The winner of seven from 14 lines up in today’s Salinger Stakes.

"He came down here with Natural Destiny before he had shoes on," trainer Gordon Yorke said yesterday.

"He was an apprentice, I’d just got him out of the paddock, thought a trip down on the plane and a bit of road travel would help. He learnt a lot from the grey fellow [Natural Destiny]."

The grey finished a luckless fifth in the Salinger when ridden by Glen Boss but Taree jockey Scott Thurlow is in charge of Nuclear Medicine.

Thurlow had to forgo rides at Gosford on Thursday and Newcastle today. "[I’ve] never ridden here before, I’ll just lap it all up," he said. "Use it as a great experience, a thrill."

Yorke reckons Nuclear Medicine has "done too well, I should have been here last week and let him rip up the straight on Tuesday morning" and "anyway, we are here, he has earnt the trip and we’re having a go".

STRAP IN: Trainer Tom Hughes enters new territory at Flemington today. In the opening race, Hughes has debutant Major Rocketman.

"I’ve never done this before," Hughes said. "Eight weeks ago, he was at the breakers."

Hughes reckons Major Rocketman is a natural two-year-old. His first trip to the barriers was aborted when an older horse went off in the gates.

Two subsequent outings at the machine proved educational. Then there was a jump-out and then another down the straight on Tuesday. "He has just taken it all in," Hughes said. "I reckon he’ll be thereabouts on Saturday."

Obama would get Australians’ vote

IF AUSTRALIA were the 51st US state, it would vote overwhelmingly for Barack Obama.
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A University of Sydney survey of attitudes towards the US found 76 per cent of Australians would support Senator Obama if they had a vote in next week’s presidential election. Just 13 per cent said they would back John McCain.

That is a bigger pro-Obama margin than opinion polls are showing in any of the 50 US states. The latest polls show the only states where Senator Obama enjoys comparable dominance are Hawaii (where he has 68 per cent of the vote) and New York (62 per cent), according to the Real Clear Politics website. The survey by Simon Jackman, a visiting professor at the university’s US Studies Centre, involved a telephone poll of 800 people and an online questionnaire of another 3000 respondents in September.

It found support for Senator Obama was strongest amongst Labor voters at 87 per cent but was still an impressive 60 per cent amongst Coalition voters.

Respondents were asked which of the two candidates would make a better president in terms of America’s effect on Australian interests. Just under half of those surveyed nominated Senator Obama, compared to 11 per cent who pointed to Senator McCain and 34 per cent who said it would make no difference to Australia which candidate won in the US.

Asked to position American and Australian political leaders on a scale from left to right, the respondents put Senator Obama to the left of the Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, and the ALP, which were seen as being centre-left.

The Opposition Leader, Malcolm Turnbull, and Senator Obama’s vice-presidential running mate, Joe Biden, were placed at the centre, the Liberal Party at the centre-right and Senator McCain and President George Bush at the right.

The survey also found 80 per cent of Australians thought the US was heading in the wrong direction, 69 per cent agreed they had felt either anger or shame about things the US had done, and two-thirds of Australians attributed negative stereotypes to Americans, such as being violent, greedy or ignorant.

Local health staff miss out

The region’s new health body has named the bulk of its top staff roster, and so far no one from Macquarie Area Health Service has made the cut.
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Five of the new Greater Western Area Health Service’s six directors have been recruited from the former Far West and Mid-Western health bodies.

The new executive health team will replace three lots of top brass from the former Macquarie, Far West and Mid-Western Area health services.

MAHS’ last chance of filling an executive position lies with the workplace development director’s role, which is due to be filled early next year.

GWAHS chief executive Dr Claire Blizard confirmed the make-up of her new team last week, after interviews were held earlier in the month.

GWAHS’ clinical operations director will be Linda Cutler, the former CEO of the Far West AHS, with 25 years’ experience in the health sector.

Also from Far West is GWAHS’ new nursing and midwifery director Michelle Pitt, who has a 30-year background in nursing and midwifery.

John White will be GWAHS’ corporate services director – he is formerly of the Mid-Western AHS and has 20 years’ experience in the health sector.

GWAHS’ clinical governance director will be Sue-Anne Redmond, formerly the acting general manager of the Bathurst and Orange health services.

Also from Mid-Western AHS, Trish Strachan rounds out the new executive team as GWAHS’ new population health and planning director.

Dr Blizard said the team’s shared skills and knowledge would “provide a strong foundation for the new Greater Western Area Health Service”.

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Australia go Krazy for spin

AS CRAZY as it might have seemed as he was belted into submission less than a month ago, Jason Krejza could today become Australia’s fourth debutant in as many Tests as the tourists considered a more attacking spin option to keep the series alive in Delhi.
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In a tale of two spinners, the big toe on Harbhajan Singh’s right foot emerged as a sore point for India, but it was Krejza’s late surge into Test contention that dominated the eve of the third Test.

Stuart Clark will replace Peter Siddle in the team that was thrashed by 320 runs in Mohali, while an inspection of the pitch at Feroz Shah Kotla this morning will determine whether the raw off spinner known to his teammates as "Krazy" will play ahead of Cameron White, who has been solid but not spectacular in his first two Tests.

"It is hard to make a judgment yet," Australian captain Ricky Ponting said last night. "He [Krejza] is definitely in the reckoning. The wicket is a little bit loose on the surface at the moment and that would indicate to me that late in the game it will probably loosen up a bit more, so spin is a definite option for us."

Krejza returned figures of 0-199 from 31 overs in the tour match in Hyderabad, where he was treated with contempt by India’s fringe batsmen. However, Ponting was heartened to hear him yelling and screaming in the outfield when the Indians declared their second innings, indicating he was desperate to bowl again.

The NSW-bred finger-spinner moved to Tasmania for a fresh start and averages 50 in first-class cricket but is regarded as the more aggressive option for an Australia side desperate to force a result to level the series.

"He is more of an attacking, aggressive sort of bowler," Ponting said. "He does get the ball in the air and puts a lot of revs on the ball and spins the ball. He gets a lot of over-spin as well, so you would probably look at him as being more of a wicket taker than a containing type of spinner.

"Once again it depends on the wicket that is served up, because if it does loosen up on top then Cameron White, with the way he bowls, could be the more attacking sort of bowler on that surface. Anil Kumble, as we know, has a great record here, which would indicate it might favour those guys who bowl a little bit faster with a bit more over-spin."

India have their own problems with spin, with Harbhajan battling to overcome a toe injury as the home team strives to celebrate the Hindu festival of Diwali by taking an unassailable lead in Delhi. Amit Mishra, the emerging leg spinner who claimed a seven-wicket haul on debut in Mohali, is waiting in the wings.

"He [Harbhajan] is still not sure so we just want to wait and see," said captain Kumble, who has declared himself fit after missing the 320-run drubbing of Australia in Mohali. "He is a key member for our success and we will give the maximum amount of time to make a call.

"We have prepared really well and we are focusing on trying to play good cricket so we can win the series here. Going by the record we have at the Kotla [where India have won their past seven Tests] and the type of cricket we played at Mohali, it gives us a lot of confidence."

The fireworks to celebrate the festival of lights are expected to worsen the pollution that hung about at Australian training this week and could curtail the team’s opportunities to force a result, given winter is setting in and the light becomes murky before 5pm.

"[The first day of the Test] might be an exceptional day with all the haze hanging around from the fireworks," Ponting said. "We will assess that as we go and if it does get to the stage where we need to do things differently to take into calculations about losing some time and some light, then we will do that to try to force a result."

Ponting believes his team has done all in its power to bounce back from the dreadful performance in the second Test, after which senior players Brett Lee and Matthew Hayden were called upon to have a greater impact to keep the Australians in the hunt for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

"We can’t do anymore than we’ve done," Ponting said. "Our training the past two days has been the best I’ve seen it for a long time. Steve Waugh was at training yesterday and he said he’d never seen a team train as well as we did. That’s good stuff to hear.

"Our meeting heading into training Monday was very good … As I made clear to the guys, it’s one thing to talk about them, it’s another thing to go out and do them under pressure in a Test."

Shooting star of the north

COOLMORE STUD STAKES
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This race, featuring the exciting Northern Meteor, is the best on Derby day at Flemington. The substance in Northern Meteor stems not from what he has done, but the way he has done it.

"Northern Meteor has never been against a horse like Wilander," rival trainer Lee Freedman said in a manner suggesting taking such a short price about the Sydneysider would be foolhardy. Wilander has the outstanding credential of winning the weight-for-age Schillaci Stakes at Caulfield on October 11, beating older horses, particularly the accomplished Lucky Secret, which scored subsequently.

Usually this would spearhead a three-year-old into favouritism against sprinters his own age, even though Wilander could be a risk over the 1200 metres. The difference in performances is confirmed by the Racing Victoria ratings: Wilander on 101, Northern Meteor 86.

Perhaps Northern Meteor accounted for moderates in his two recent Sydney successes for Gai Waterhouse but he sizzled turf for two course records: at Canterbury and Randwick. One record could be put down to wind assistance or the conditions of the day but two indicate Northern Meteor is a serious sprinter.

David Hayes, in assessing his contender Von Costa De Hero against Northern Meteor, pointed out: "Von Costa De Hero has never had the same opposition to dominate as the boom horse."

Maybe it will be argued that first experience of Melbourne down the straight-six course will prove a problem but Northern Meteor was dynamic in an 800-metre trial at Flemington on Tuesday. "I’ve seen horses trial like that before but the result in a race is different," Freedman stressed.

The dangers to Northern Meteor could be Fist Of Fury, trained by John O’Shea, and the filly Impressive Eagle, responsible for two outstanding efforts recently.

VERDICT: Northern Meteor , even at the short odds, for mine.

SAAB QUALITY

Being against only the second-tier Australian stayers in the Saab Quality gives Largo Lad a chance to justify his potential. To many, Largo Lad has been disappointing but not if you consider the circumstances.

"I was critical of Craig’s ride last Saturday," David Hayes said concerning Craig Williams’s handling of the gelding in the Moonee Valley Cup, in which Largo Lad was hardly out of second gear due to navigational faults. "And this is the first time [recently] he’s drawn a barrier."

Two starts back, the four-year-old was a 1.9-length fifth under 58 kilograms in the wfa Yalumba Stakes at Caulfield and drops to 53kg today. Hayes hasn’t given up on him as a Melbourne Cup candidate but Light Vision isn’t in the Big One and has the strength and the form to prevent others from qualifying. He was fourth in the Geelong Cup but after a wide and hard run. Get Up Jude from Kembla Grange failed in the Geelong Cup but there was an explanation, and he will carry blinkers. The timing of Bart Cummings is again on show with Moatize and Book Of Kells. Warning: in recent years, Derby day has favoured frontrunners. The Saab could be an indicator of the trend.

VERDICT: On a level playing field, Damien Oliver to bring out the best in Largo Lad .

MACKINNON STAKES

Princess Coup will be out to continue the trend of New Zealand mares having success in the Mackinnon Stakes. It’s not a flash race for the gender overall but the past five to triumph – La Bella Dama, Champagne, Let’s Elope, Horlicks and Empire Rose – hailed from the Dominion. Overlook Princess Coup’s failure in the Cox Plate at Moonee Valley last Saturday. She tailed off in a slowly run race, and Craig Newitt today replaces Opie Bosson. Major Melbourne Cup hopes under surveillance in what was once termed the "Practice Stakes" are Viewed, Littorio, Red Ruler and Barbaricus, in blinkers for the first time. Barbaricus led in the Caulfield Cup for a minor placing, and Theseo, too, should go forward at a sterner tempo than he did in the Cox Plate last Saturday, giving backmarkers a chance if there isn’t a bias. Sirmione staged a form reversal to win the corresponding event last year. His recent form is poor but he likes Flemington.

VERDICT: Get on Princess Coup .

VICTORIA DERBY

Discussing the Victoria Derby and his outstanding three-year-old Whobegotyou, trainer-of-the-moment Mark Kavanagh quipped: "It’s an open-and-shut case – I think it’s quite open." Kavanagh mentioned that the most recent odds-on favourite to win was Helenus (2002), upon whose path WBU has followed, and it won "by half a inch".

"Short-priced favourites in group 1 races are never over the line," he added. So true, but Whobegotyou’s performances, confirmed by his Racing Victoria rating of 111, are far superior to those of the opposition with the next highest being Carnero on 88. Carnero was ridden for speed behind WBU at Moonee Valley last Saturday and should be given an easier passage by Shane Dye. Pre Eminence, strong and tough, responded to the vigorous riding of Craig Newitt in the Norman Robinson at Caulfield last start and should be on the pace.

VERDICT: WBU from Pre Eminence and Carnero.

MYER CLASSIC

Forensics is the ratings tip from Racing Victoria in the Myer. Also trainer Peter Snowden and Kerrin McEvoy regard her as their best chance of the day. However, note the comments of Guy Walter on Bernicia: "She is quite a smart horse, there’s a good race in her and she’s on the way up."

Bernicia worked attractively with rival Mimi Lebrock at Flemington on Tuesday. In the autumn the mare was going well enough to start favourite in the group 1 Arrowfield Stud Stakes at Rosehill. Obviously, Forensics should be hard to beat, while Gallant Tess is another Sydneysider with a top hope. Like most back in the ruck, Gallant Tess didn’t shine in the Cox Plate at Moonee Valley last Saturday.

VERDICT: Try the $18 about Bernicia .

Gladiators too tough for Soldiers in decider

Russell Gersbach’s Gladiators confirmed their favouritism tag with a three-game win over Soldiers in the Dubbo Squash Club’s A grade mixed grand final.
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Gladiators never scored less than eight games throughout the season and along with Soldiers always seemed to be in control of their encounters.

Gersbach led from the front with a straight-game win over Matt Stewart and Tania Teelow and Terry Miller added to the tally.

Teelow was taken to four by Kelly Fitzgerald in the No 3 game but Miller had all the shots to beat Fitzgerald in the No 4s.

Gladiators finished with 10 games as Paul McLeod picked up one against Lisa Northill but Leanne Clarke was outgunned by the cagey Ron Everett in straight games.

The B grade mixed competition was also finalised when Warwick Burke led Battlers to a 9-6 victory over Vicki Bolton and Hells Angels.

Winners for Battlers were Burke, Julie Furner and Graeme Andrews while Andrew Madden played strong for Hells Angels.

One of the best games of the night was between Andrews and Sue Shorey in the No 5 position.

After winning the first game 15-5 Andrews looked to be in control until Shorey struck back to win the next two 15-6, 15-6 which set up a thrilling encounter.

Andrews got back on equal terms 15-11 in the

fourth before finishing the stronger 15-7 in the deciding game.

Hells Angels started the match as a slight favourite after being minor premiers but Burke and his Battlers survived a count back to finish second.

They then went from strength to strength and won the game that mattered.

Meanwhile, only two games separated Screwballs and Ataraxia in the Tuesday night mixed grand final.

Screwballs added to

the upsets on grand final night after coming through from third place and the minor semi-finals to get the better of the minor premiers 11-9.

Members of the Screwballs team were Elizabeth Scholes, Travis Copeland, Robyn Shorey, Dan Robinson and Leah Strudwick.

Scholes, Robinson and Strudwick won their matches for Screwballs while Danielle Freney and Luke Forrester won their matches for Ataraxia.

Anyone wanting to play competition squash in 2005 is reminded that there is a list on the squash club notice board at the RSL courts.

Dubbo club has Tuesday night mixed competition and then A and B grades each Wednesday night, starting after the school holidays in February.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Record number of riders roar into town for toy run

More than a hundred gleaming hunks of steel stormed Dubbo’s streets on Saturday, on a mission of a soft and fluffy variety.
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The annual Salvation Army toy run was a roaring success, with a record number of bikes joining the cavalcade, perfect summer weather and a trailer full of toys outshining expectations.

Geoff McMillan from the Ulysses bike club said the event was “getting bigger every year as word gets around” and was a chance to do something good for the world and parade your pride and joy at the same time.

“You get to show off your bikes, catch up with your mates and members from other areas as well as fundraise for a very worthy cause,” he said.

“It’s also a good chance to show the community that we’re not all seen to be bad, that we’re normal people with two arms and legs.

“We call it a SKI event – spending your kids’ inheritance to have a bit of fun.”

The tour of duty began at a bustling farmers’ market down by the river, passed through the AXXIS Technology birthday party and stopped at the Macquarie Inn.

Bikes and hotrods then headed to Geurie, Wellington and Ballimore before finishing up at the Rebels’ clubhouse for a car and bike show.

Mr McMillan said the group was still getting phone calls that afternoon from people in the area with toys to donate and a back-up toy run was organised for today to round up the left-overs.

“The amount of toys the Salvos need for families in the area is staggering and they can never get enough to satisfy demand,” he said.

“Some of the ones we picked up I’d be happy for my own kids to see under the Christmas tree.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Martian opals are scientist’s best find

SCIENTISTS may have found opals on Mars.
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While possibly not worth mining, the discovery suggests the planet had been awash with water for billions of years, potentially long enough for life to form.

NASA scientists announced yesterday that their Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which has circled the planet since 2006, had spotted hydrated silica, or opal – which only forms in water – "spread across large regions", including a massive canyon named Valles Marineris.

"We see numerous outcrops of opal-like minerals, commonly in thin layers extending for very long distances around the rim of Valles Marineris and sometimes within the canyon system itself," said Ralph Milliken, of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Another mission scientist, Dr Scott Murchie, from Maryland’s Johns Hopkins University, said "the identification of opaline silica tells us that water may have existed as recently as 2 billion years ago".

An earlier discovery of clay-like minerals indicated the planet was wet more than 3.5 billion years ago.

"What’s important," said Dr Milliken, "is that the longer liquid water existed on Mars, the longer the window during which Mars may have supported life."

It was further revealed yesterday that opaline silica had also been found by Spirit, one of two NASA rovers that landed on Mars in 2004.

Marion Anderson, a Monash University geologist who helped select the rover landing sites, said finding opaline silica "means that water was around for at least a billion years longer than previously thought".

Ms Anderson warned that Martian opals were not necessarily valuable as gems. "You must remember that on Earth, the vast majority of opal is not precious opal. If the water molecules are in the right place, incoming light is refracted to give you the colour play known as opalescence.

"Opal which is not precious … is commonly known as potch, and is of no commercial value.

"What the presence of opaline silicates on Mars does tell you is that the silicate that contains the water formed in places where there were high levels of free water within the rocks while the silicate was precipitating out. This is significant, as it again proves that Mars has had a wet history."

Australia to get around ball

WITH the hybrid rules game’s most fundamental element — the round ball — such a significant asset for the Irish, the Australians know they need to work harder to exploit their remaining strengths.
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As a result the Australians will try to run faster and harder, handball the ball more than kick it and take the safe option of kicking "overs" rather than trying for the lower percentage shot into the back of the net.

Having lost the first Test last week — but only by a point, leaving themselves a chance to win on Friday night and claim the series on scoring aggregate should they win by two points or more — the Australians will seek to just do what they do best at the MCG on Friday night.

"We need to run more and try to make it a quicker tempo sort of game," said midfielder Leigh Montagna. "I think in the first half we were a little bit slow with the ball and didn’t move it as quickly as we should have and hence we didn’t score as much, but once we started running the ball and taking them on and moving it quickly and using our pace and fitness, we figure we have probably got a little bit more of an edge there."

The Irish clearly showed with their superior foot skills last week that a couple of weeks of training with a round ball was no substitute to a lifetime of play and training. Even when it is a professional pitted against amateur.

"We know we are probably better by hand than we are by foot and we have got to find that balance, I think the four handballs (before having to kick the ball) probably got a few of us off guard that we wanted to run and handball a lot more, but, being conscious of the four handball rule (we didn’t), hopefully we can use that more on Friday night," Montagna said.

Mindful of that gulf between the sides in foot skills the Australians intend to play safe in front of goal and try to kick the easier three-point score over the net rather than hunting for the six-point shot in the back of the net. "We have just got to take the overs — they are the safer option," Montagna said. "Obviously if you have the opportunity to score a six pointer — if it is a clear-cut chance — take it, but we feel we have just got to take the safer approach and if there is an easy over to take, then take that."

Penalties — which players can choose to kick from the ground or drop from their hand football style — will be taken by most players in the usual AFL style, not as soccer players from the ground. It is not only about familiarity but pressure and force.

"We practised penalties yesterday and the guys were trying to work out whether it is easier to put it on the ground or hold it," Montagna said.

"There were a few little things like that we probably didn’t work on as much last week which we have found might be the difference between winning and losing the series, so we will work on them this week. About 90% of the guys are going to drop it by hand I think and kick it quite hard to put pressure on the goalkeeper."

The Australians came back from 16 points down in the last quarter last week, suggesting fitness, not finesse, was to their advantage.

"We are professional compared to the Irish, so that is something we really should be taking advantage of," Montagna said.

Geelong defender Josh Hunt was added to the squad yesterday to replace injured teammate Max Rooke.