ALICE SPRINGS NEWS,
December 12, 2001.



BOOM ON PASTURES: RECORD SEASON FOR CATTLE PRODUCERS. Report by ERWIN CHLANDA.

The cattle industry in Central Australia is looking forward to its third bumper season as sustained rainfall and high beef prices are doubling station incomes. Buyers the world over, and growers restocking herds in Australia, are looking to this region for clean and naturally grown beef, enhanced by the industry's self-regulating program "Cattle Care" which has ensured that "best practice" husbandry and handling methods are followed. And the market is set to grow because local beef is free from any suspicion of Mad Cow and other exotic diseases. Says Phil Anning, head of the Arid Zone Research Institute in Alice Springs: "Australia's pastoral industry is benefiting from the comprehensive regulations about disease prevention and management practices between producers and governments. "This relates especially to feeding practices." Says ABARE's Terry Sheales: "Incomes of NT beef producers are estimated to have increased by an average of 45 per cent in 2000/01. "Continuing good beef prices indicate another strong financial performance is in prospect for 2001/02." It is rare for good prices and good rainfalls to come together: "The rain is similar to the early seventies," says pastoralist Grant Heaslip, of Bond Springs Station adjoining Alice Springs to the north. "The weather cycle has come ‘round. "We're looking forward to a very good summer." The cattle industry, although occupying half the Territory's landmass, generates a small portion of its $6.5 billion Gross State Product, less than three per cent, compared to mining (17.7 per cent) and tourism (13.5 per cent). But the impact of the boom in the pastoral industry will be felt throughout the economy. For example, a spokesman for Race Motorcycles says its station trade has been up some 50 per cent in the past year: "They're buying new bikes instead of patching up old ones." Alice Manager for stock agents Elders, Jock McPherson, says the cattle industry has reached all time records in all departments. He says since July this year, about 65,000 to 70,000 head have been shipped from Central Australia, and while this is not a great deal more than usual, he estimates the value at more than $40m because of the high current prices. Not only is Australian demand "a lot greater than in recent times", the attraction of grass fed beef has grown with the spreading of Mad Cow Disease by fattening stock on meat meal in Europe. Mr McPherson says the recent Mad Cow scare in Japan has caused a dip in demand there but as the market is recovering it's likely to be led by "green" beef such as is grown in Central Australia. The price of cattle is double the average of the past 10 years, now at $650 a head and topping at $1200. Major feed lot operators from Queensland, SA, Victoria and NSW are "very keen and active this year because the quality of local beef has improved over recent times", says Mr McPherson. Cattle Care now has a membership of 19 properties in the district, and more are likely to join.

RSPCA: FIGHTING LIKE CATS AND DOGS. Report by ERWIN CHLANDA.

RSPCA members are bonded by love of animals, which makes their fighting like cats and dogs over a paltry NT Government allocation seem bizarre. This year the $55,000 annual grant hasn't been allocated because the "peak body" – the RSPCA NT Inc – hasn't been able to acquit last year's grant because it hasn't received the figures from the Alice Springs RSPCA. According to the "Inc" treasurer, Roy Kingham, Alice Springs has taken the view, for years, that it's not getting a fair deal from "Inc". Alice Springs has now incorporated itself and is seeking funds from the government direct. Meanwhile, according to Mr Kingham, the national body of the RSPCA has threatened legal action against the Alice Springs branch, saying it must not use the RSPCA logo because it has resigned from the national body as well as from "Inc". Now Alice wants to get its share of the money direct from NT Local Government Minister John Ah Kit. A spokesman for him says Mr Ah Kit has not had a formal request for that, and in any case, the government prefers to deal with the peak body, namely "Inc". Nevertheless, any application would receive consideration. The Alice RSPCA is about to build a new animal shelter (Alice News, Nov 14) but is having a row with the town council, to which it contracts, over "euthanasing" stray dogs (letter to the editor from the council, Alice News, Dec 5). It seems this row is rooted in the funding arrangement which is based, in part, on the number of services rendered: the more dogs the RSPCA puts to sleep, the more money it gets. Alice RSPCA president Anne Buckley could not be reached for comment early this week. She complained earlier about council inspectors shooting dogs rather than taking them to the pound and the attention of the RSPCA. Mr Kingham, who is also the president of the Darwin RSPCA branch, says "Inc" has been bending over backwards to accommodate Alice Springs and – frankly – he's tired of all the yapping which has gone on for some six years. It's not as thought the scrap is over the Crown Jewels: under the proposed formula, Darwin would get four votes on the "Inc" board and $55,000, Alice three votes and $14,000, and Tennant and Katherine two votes and $9000 each. Says Mr Kingham: "We've spent enormous time and effort to resolve this, conceded numerous issues, but Alice Springs won't give an inch." Stand by for the next instalment.

HALCYON DAYS OF COLOUR. Preview by KIERAN FINNANE.

The irrepressible Halcyon Lucas continues to paint with passion: six large new canvasses and two double-sided doors form the core of her solo show which opens at Araluen this Friday at 6pm. The show is partly retrospective although it doesn't reach back to the earliest works.The oldest, Fashion Parade, is dated 1984; a group of three date from the early ‘nineties; most of the rest are more recent, from ‘97 onwards.All are infused with the effervescent energy, the exuberance that characterises Halcyon's body of work. The latest canvasses are, if possible, bolder than ever: several are painted on raw canvas – there's no retreating, no correcting. They start with a single large gesture.Halcyon says her mind is empty when she paints; she doesn't think, she just commits to the process. She works in intense sessions, about one and a half hours at a time, all that her worsening arthritis now allows her. When she finishes a session she puts the canvas aside; she doesn't look at it again or think about it until she is ready to work once more.When I look at the span of Halcyon's work, starting with the earliest landscapes, I am struck by the remarkable consistency of her vision across more than 30 years. It seems that the artist has found a way of visiting and revisiting her joy in the encounter with forms, often or perhaps always natural in their origin – trees have been a deep source of inspiration. In the work of the last few years, the organic roots are still there, but abstraction allows something else to happen: a depiction of mind's encounter with the points of light, colour, criss-crossing pathways and densities uniting all matter. Halcyon, the show, is nothing short of uplifting.

YEAR OF THE BIZARRE? Column by ANN CLOKE.

A few weeks ago, David and I enjoyed a long cool drink with friend, Tony: I recounted how I'd rung the Town Council about unattended dogs running around the Mall, barking aggressively and menacing passers by.The girl who took the call told me that the matter would be dealt with, and added "that dogs in packs don't usually attack." Tony guffawed: "She's probably working on the Fraser Island principle." Everyone had a bit of a laugh. The Weekend Oz (December 1 and 2) ran an article about Fraser Island, locals' emotions running hot against rangers as slingshots are used to deter dingoes. A Dutch visitor was quoted: "They got us so scared of dingoes that we don't want to go near them." These dingoes are bold: people are continuing to feed them despite warnings, a child's death and recent rulings brought down by the Conservation Commission.Do visitors on safari in Africa think they'll be able to feed an elephant or lion?"Excuse me driver, whilst the tracker is checking the spoor, I'll just pop into the bush and see if I can find a cheetah to pat." Years ago, Tony owned one of three motels located at the base of Ayers Rock. Visitors to the Centre would wake up in the Rock's shadow: they were able to stroll over and touch our monolith. He has some incredible stories to tell: education and conservation are now preserving our special places.David brought home an "old" newspaper the other day, an issue, dated 15 January 1986, of the Centralian Advocate, the only local newspaper at the time. There on the front cover, a story by our own (Alice News) editor, Erwin, headed: "Azaria Flesh in Jumpsuit?"People universally know about the mysterious case of our missing baby, Azaria Chamberlain (1980), her family, the dingo. Twenty years on, everyone still has an opinion /theory: the film Evil Angels re-focussed attention on the issue. Most people have forgotten an incident involving an angry patron called Crabbe who, after he was refused service at the Inland Motel bar, drove his truck with semi-trailer into the building: this resulted in five deaths (1983). It was shocking: the spotlight, again, was on strange happenings at Ayers Rock. In January 1986, the beginning of the International Year of Peace, the Stuart Arms Hotel closed down; gambling facilities were mooted for Yulara Resort; environmental impact studies were carried out on our rural areas; taxi drivers threatened action against drunken and obnoxious passengers; an initiative was introduced to ensure Aborigines were qualified and "job-ready" to work within their own communities; and there was a cabinet reshuffle (yet again) to improve Youth Services and dealings with young offenders.There is always a sense of living on the edge, a mixture of excitement and anticipation (what's happening now?) in the Centre. We certainly have drama: sensational countryside, extremes of weather and unusual events.As visitors head to Alice Springs and surrounds for 2002, the Year of the Outback, we've learnt to expect the unexpected.

ESSAY ON TORTURE WINS. By DOROTHY GRIMM.

"Focus on the things people can do." That was the message of Human Rights Commissioner and Disability Discrimination Commissioner Sev Ozdowski OAM to Year Eight students at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart (OLSH) School last week.Dr Ozdowski was in Central Australia for the International Day for People with a DisAbility and was at the school to present awards in an essay competition on the topic of disability."Disabilities have been with us for ages and impact on a large part of society," Dr Ozdowski saidThe issue of disability was often a question of attitude, that people with disabilities often found themselves to be discriminated against or patronised."It is important to look at a person's ability," Dr Ozdowski said."Dis is just a little word; Ability is the part to focus on."He told the students that their essays and those written by students at Sadadeen Primary School were all very good and had been extremely hard to judge."I hope you'll take the message you learned in doing the essay and do it in your own life," he said.Michele Castagna, from the Disability Services and Liaison Office, said one of the purposes of competition had been to encourage young people to see people with disabilities as truly equal."We should concentrate on what all of us can do as people," Ms Castagna said."People with disabilities are still contributors to society despite their disabilities."Ms Castagna said the quality of the essays had been excellent:"One could tell a lot of thought went into the writing of the essays."Kuol Riek received first prize; Aaron Broomhall, second; and Amanda Dales, third.All three attend OLSH Traeger Park. The following is an extract from Kuol Riek's essay:-Physical disability often occurs during a time of war. This story of disability will tell of sadness and anger and unhappy life... Seven young boys lived in Sudan, during the current conflicts which has continued non-stop for seventeen years. The war divided the boys from their parents, when they were captured by the Sudanese rebels in order to become soldiers, but none of them are strong enough to carry the guns but they have to cope with the situation in the rebel training camp. These boys lost their educational background as did their fellow teenagers in the training camp. They continued living in these harsh conditions and on top of that the Sudanese military planes bombed humanitarian relief, and the civilian centres and their training camp, claiming the lives of many constantly. One evening when they gathered together, the youngest amongst the boys said "Today I have this idea for all of you brothers," and tears fall. He told them they must escape from this military camp to the neighbouring country, Uganda. No one could oppose. They all agreed. They started off for Uganda at exactly midnight, moving through the jungle, sleeping in the jungle, eating leaves and fruit in order to survive. The journey lasted almost half a month. They escaped from some dangerous animals, such as snakes, lions and tigers. Their legs were covered with wounds because they moved bare footed. They moved through the jungle fearing being captured by the rebels. On arriving at the Ugandan border they were recognised by the UNHCR [United nations High Commission for Refugees] and were settled in the camp where they resumed their education. They built their one grass thatched house, that also made their lives better than at the rebel training camp.However, suffering never ended in the camp. The camp that they were in was the base for the Uganda Rebels. They usually came and lived with the refugees during the day, eating and drinking. On the 26th June, 1996 the rebel, Joseph Kony, came into the refugees camp with his forces and began looting the refugees camp, taking their money and beating them up during the night. When they arrived at the boys' house they first beat the boys ... and asked for money. The boys had nothing except their food. They were hostages together with several others, and were forced to walk for at least eight hours. They were tortured, almost to the point of death and all their left ears were chopped off as a physical disability for the young boys. They faced much suffering during the bleeding of their ears. Some young ladies with whom they were hostages together had their breasts chopped half off. They were treated in the hospital. UNHCR, as the best mother of the young boys, had decided to move the boys to a capital city. UNHCR managed to help them to go abroad. Currently the boys are now in Canada and are living in excellent conditions. But chopping off of their ears remains an unforgettable part of their lives. When I recall their story, "I pretty much start crying"...

LETTERS: Biting and other ants.

Sir,- As I was reading the article on the Big Headed Ant, it brought to mind the Fire Ants we have here in the US. I remember visiting my brother when he lived in Florida 15 years ago. He was showing me the little brown ant that had a sting to its bite. I know that these Fire Ants came from South America and have been migrating North every year. Are they the same species as your Big Headed Ant? They have not arrived here in Pennsylvania yet, and might not if the climate stays close to "normal" for this area. As much as we hate the really frigid cold we usually have for a few weeks each year, we notice more and more the higher population of pests the following summer if the winter was mild. If it stays cold enough for a good two to three weeks, the ground will freeze down to a depth to kill many of the insect eggs laid before winter sets in. Since I have no idea of the year long climate in your part of the world, I can only guess and wonder what you will do. From everything I have read and heard about the people of Australia, I think you will just take care of the problem and then say, "NEXT"! I really enjoy reading the articles and essays on your web page. I'm going to make it down there one of these days. (Hitting the lottery will do just fine!) In the meantime, I'll keep logging on and continue to read on. Also: tell Kieran Finnane to take some time off. She writes more stories in a week than the local reporters here write in a month! Come to think of it, you all do!
John Schneider
Pittsburgh, PA,USA
JWakenstak@aol.com
[ED – The Big Headed Ant is not a threat for its bite but for the way it pushes out our native ant species, with potential dire consequences for horticulture and the conservation of the Centre's renowned gorges, a major drawcard of the tourism idustry.]

Sir,- NAPCAN NT (National Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect – NT Branch) is working together with the Commonwealth Government's International Year of Volunteers 2001 to recognise the important role volunteers play in the prevention of child abuse and neglect in regional, rural and isolated communities across the Northern Territory.Nominations are still open – until December 14 – for volunteers working to promote the health and well-being of children or families through raising funds; participation in committees and/or management; providing services directly to children or families; and, community and education activities. Nominations can be provided through painting, tape or direct contact. All that is needed is: the name of the person(s) being nominated; reason for their nomination; two referees. For further information contact NAPCAN NT on 8948 0884 or napcan_nt@optusnet.com.au
National Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect – NT Branch

WHAT COULD MAKE BLACK CATTLE STATIONS TICK? Part Three of a series by KIERAN FINNANE.

Commercial viability of Aboriginal pastoral properties would have to become a clearly defined and understood goal of the Aboriginal owners and be supported by a specific set of policies to address land, labour and capital constraints. Both factors have been generally missing in the history of cattle production on Aboriginal-owned land. So argues Stuart Phillpot in his doctoral thesis for the Australian National University (not the University of Canberra as reported by error in last week's article). A former public servant with the Department of Primary Production in Alice Springs and now employed by the Indigenous Land Corporation, Dr Phillpot gives a detailed account of two Aboriginal cattle enterprises, one the Puraiya Cattle Company at Ti-Tree Station (summarised in the Alice News of Nov 28) , the other the Ngarliyikirlangu Pastoral Company (NPC) at Yuendumu, the subject of last week's article. While each have distinct histories, they both suffered, along with the majority of Aboriginal-owned cattle enterprises, from inconsistencies and gaps in policy and policy implementation, and, perhaps most critically, from inadequate to non-existent training of the Aboriginal people involved, as directors, shareholders and employees. The NPC's difficulties were compounded by the country's apparently limited carrying capacity, which remains an unresolved question.In 1986, after two dry years and as the area was about to enter an eight year drought, a Central Land Council review argued that a "drought safe" stocking rate for the property was likely to be 1000-1500 head, well below the commercial herd size of 5000-6000 head.This view was to seriously affect NPC's future access to funding, without which it would never be able to test the view. The NPC came under at least seven different funding or advisory bodies – the Department of Aboriginal Affairs, the Aboriginal Development Commission, the Central Australian Aboriginal Pastoralists Association, the Department of Employment and Industrial Relations (DEIR), the Department of Employment, Education and Training (DEET), the Institute of Aboriginal Development, and ATSIC – and was subject to "regular and constant delays in the release of grants". Following the CLC review, DEIR continued to support the NPC through a Community Employment Program, which enabled the NPC to keep in work 19 full-time and 24 casual employees, employment having always been a primary goal of the company.However, in 1990 DEET, replacing DEIR, ceased to fund labour market programs operated by the NPC, and ATSIC withdrew its operating subsidies for the manager and bookkeeper, mainly because these programs were supposed to be directed at economically viable projects. This spelled doom for the company: employment was reduced to one employee and the long-time manager, William McKell. By 1993 even he was unemployed, although he continued to run the station while drawing unemployment benefits. One path towards commercial viability was to establish a slaughterhouse for the butchering of meat for local consumption.This the NPC did by 1990, using a small grant from ATSIC and some training subsidies from DEET. For a while the slaughterhouse became a major source of cash flow but the stumbling block proved to be the provision of training to Warlpiri butchers.As a result the facility was not well maintained and lost its licence in January 1997. Dr Phillpot deems the NPC currently unviable, but says that in half a century Yuendumu's capacity to sustain an economically viable cattle enterprise has never been properly assessed. He suggests that the enterprise may have been able to achieve a profit if it had been able to successfully operate its slaughterhouse. These are questions, at least in good part, for government and other support organisations. But there are also questions for the owners: the adoption of, and the enthusiasm for the outstation movement among those traditional owners involved in the NPC – 12 outstations were established with a total population of 500, including the head stockman and three NPC directors – indicates, argues Dr Phillpot, that the development of the cattle enterprise was less important than caring for the traditional owners' particular country. In the concluding chapter of his thesis, Dr Phillpot surveys the situation of Aboriginal pastoral enterprise across the NT in terms of three questions: • To what extent were the land resources capable of achieving commercial viability?• To what extent did Aboriginal labour have sufficient skills and knowledge to utilise the animals and land for commercial success?• Did Aboriginal cattle enterprises have sufficient access to capital?Of the 26 enterprises surveyed, only five are located in areas rated for grazing as medium and there are none at all in the best grazing area, that is, the Barkly Tableland. All of the properties are located in areas that are subject to severe negative climate phenomena. One third are located in the arid rangelands that experience constraints including drought, the probability of which in the southern half of the Territory is calculated to be at least one year in every four. Dr Phillpot draws on other studies to conclude that successful commercial grazing in these areas would require management capable of applying multi-disciplined knowledge, including in animal husbandry and range management. The Aboriginal Affairs policy of supporting commercially viable cattle stations assumed that Aboriginal labour either had these skills or could acquire them. However, while Aboriginal properties have employed two and a half times more people than estimated as necessary for the size of the Aboriginal cattle herd, to suppose that maximising labour leads to an increase in labour skills, improved productivity and, therefore, improved commercial viability, is, writes Dr Phillpot, "to assume too much". The seasonal nature of the employment militates against skill acquisition except for a very few. Dr Phillpot, together with other commentators, also argues that Aboriginal traditions are often incompatible with non- Aboriginal work styles.As well, for contemporary young men, there are two particular competitors for their engagement: ceremonies (in the summer) and football (in the winter). Writes Dr Phillpot: "The esteem and status achieved from these activities are probably greater than the esteem and status from being a good stockman. "In fact, if one considers the work of a stockman, the high risk of injury that accompanies such work, the low pay relative to the dole, and the poor conditions (mustering camps generally camp out, sometimes with a cook, sometimes not), cattle work is probably a poor competitor."Other factors contributing to poor labour productivity include chronic ill health, high rates of incarceration, low levels of literacy and numeracy, and education levels generally, and extremely limited training opportunities:"Among the 48 private and public providers registered with the NT Education and Training Authority, only 12 had programs that were applicable to Aboriginal cattle enterprises and none of these considered animal husbandry issues, even though such training was not difficult to provide." However, there have been some training successes, including at Ti-Tree, where stock and station training provided to youth enabled Puraiya to successfully maintain herd growth and infrastructure such as bores, yards and fences. Finally, on top of their land and labour constraints, Aboriginal properties, because they are generally located on Aboriginal inalienable freehold land, are excluded from the commercial finance market, other than the high interest stock mortgage market. This means that they often have to finance long-term development with what are regarded normally as short-term funds. Such strategies have often been forced on Aboriginal communities, writes Dr Phillpot, because the time taken, and the amount available through low interest institutional sources such as ATSIC, would preclude initiating the development and therefore not permit the property to optimise its production. A "Catch 22" that presumably will prevail unless the ground rules change. The cut-off date for Dr Phillpot's study was 1996. Since then, two Aboriginal-owed properties have achieved commercial independence; Mistake Creek on the edge of the Victoria River Downs (good grazing country), and Alcoota in Central Australia. Mistake Creek supports six families, while Alcoota offers regular casual employment to community members and benefits in terms of assets. Elsey Station, on the Roper River, could achieve commercial independence "if they could expand their herd more quickly", says Dr Phillpot.The common factors in the success of these properties have been: a commercial sized herd; grazing capacity to support the herd; and training in corporate law and responsibilities for the boards of directors.This training has been delivered in three one week blocks, and at Mistake Creek, a refresher course, especially for new directors, is conducted every 18 months.Mistake Creek and Alcoota were purchased with good infrastructure and a commercial-sized herd in place, so they haven't needed access to capital, but both have relied in part on subsidised labour. Elsey, on the other hand, was bought destocked. "Elsey has been a good example of using CDEP labour to build up capital infrastructure," says Dr Phillpot.Elsey has also raised capital for development using stock mortgages and has benefited from National Heritage Trust Grants to fence the highway and the river. "Elsey thus far has delivered the major benefit of regular casual employment to community members."Because of their debt burden they are a way off independence, but they have been able to meet all of their repayments," says Dr Phillpot.Mistake Creek and Elsey both have Aboriginal managers, and in the case of all three properties, the managers have an " excellent relationship with the community, with a high degree of mutual trust and respect". However, Dr Phillpot is emphatic: cattle enterprises will never deliver the high level of employment desired by Aboriginal communities, unless the labour is subsidised.

CENTRE'S CAMELS A WORLD HIT!

The story from Central Australia that has captivated the worldOne of the major Australian film successes of the year, Silhouettes of the Desert, goes to air on the ABC tomorrow, Thursday, at 8.30pm. And with this, the Soundtrack CD is being launched nationally.Recently nominated for "Best Soundtrack" by the Australian Guild of Screen Composers, and having received a Gold Award from the Australian Cinematographers Society on November 17th, this "magnificent, beautiful documentary" (The Age) is fast becoming one of Australia's most successful wildlife films. In June, it won one of the industry's major international awards - "Best Popular Science and Natural History Program" at the Banff Television Festival in competition with the best films from the BBC, National Geographic and Discovery.The film tells the remarkable story of a young camel growing up in the wilds of central Australia. Much of the behaviour of these animals had never been filmed before, but the success of this film is largely due not to its scientific content, but to its unusually strong storyline – no easy task in the making of a wildlife film."Although Silhouettes is usually classified as a documentary, that's really not what it is," said Alice Springs-based director/cinematographer David Curl. "We've tried to create a story around real events in the lives of individual camels. You don't have to be a camel fan to watch this film - and you may not be one after seeing it! - but I think you'll see some remarkable, and at times disturbing, parallels with the lives of humans, as well as visiting the spectacular scenery of Central Australia."David Curl's previous film The Call of Kakadu has become one of the most popular ever Australian wildlife films, with over 10 major international awards and exceptional ratings and reviews both here and overseas. Several years after its completion, this film is still being broadcast somewhere in the world every month of the year. Both films are now playing a major role in attracting visitors to the Northern Territory."I've worked before with a range of animals, from meerkats to tortoises. But camels are one of the only animals in the world where you can recognise individuals by the same features we use for each other – by their size and shape, their skin or coat colour, and by their faces. "You may think I've spent too long in the bush, but after a year or two with these animals, I could recognise nearly 100 individuals - just by looking at their faces!"Silhouettes of the Desert was also the first film in Australia completed in High Definition, the video format of the future, as well as in cinema-style 5.1 sound. Though it isn't being broadcast in this new format, its quality is good enough for the big as well as the small screen. Already being broadcast in over 20 countries, including all the major sources of tourists to Central Australia, this film is destined to reach as many 100 million viewers.The award-winning videos - containing extra sequences and music clips of central Australia not seen on TV - and the CD are now available at ABC shops and centres, as well as at Australian Geographic shops.

DROP CRICKET, PLAY WATER POLO INSTEAD!

The pre-Christmas round of two day games once again ended dismally as rain prevented any result at both Traeger Park and Albrecht Oval. For RSL the target set of 248 was always going to be most competitive, even considering the potential of Ken Vowles in the West line up. In their Traeger Park innings RSL had Jamie Smith in top form, making a century, and both Matt Forster and Jeff Whitmore also showing form. They had Cameron Robertson and BJ Rowse at the ready to take the ball, with Forster as back up, to dig deep into the West line up. Alas the game did not even start on Saturday. Likewise at Traeger Park, Federal were yet again denied the chance to gain premiership points and so keep in contention with the three club leaders. Feds had put a respectable 187 on the board and then improved their position by snaring 2/24 prior to stumps on the first day. But by Saturday rain put paid to any possible result. This week the cricket schedule reverts to a one day round prior to the Festive season break. In a daylight fixture at Albrecht Oval, RSL Works and Rovers will come head to head. For both teams this is a vital match. Rovers' skipper Mark Nash is bound to show belief in his players and go all out for a result. His charismatic influence with the bat, ball in the field, and when working with his players at training, will rub off. The Blues have unleashed a teenage prospect in Greg Dowell with the ball. He has the support of Nash, the vintage Craig Murphy and newcomer Peter Isbel, in a bowling attack which is as good as any in town.In the Works' quarter, tradition will demand that the game be competitive. They have a solid batting line up right through to Forster late in the order and should be able to establish a score with Gavin Breen and Gordon Hartley, Jamie and Pete Smith, Jeff Whitmore and Luke Rowe each able to contribute. Rovers of course can match this on paper line up, with Matt Pyle in sparking form, and Tye Rayfield and Nash having plenty to offer. In the game at Traeger Park the stage is set for an entertaining game played in Day / Night conditions, between West and the Demons. West will go into the game as favourites, against a team really searching for premiership points. On these grounds alone the Bloods will not be able to be complacent. They need their mentor Ken Vowles to both bat and bowl in an effective manner. They have Peter Tabart as a weapon often under estimated, and Jeremy Biggs who steers the side well.In the Feds' line up three players stand out as necessary for success: Roger Weckert and Jamie Chadwick, then Jarrod Wapper with the bat. With the ball the game poses an even encounter. Alan Rowe and Wapper will have an influence with the Feds' bowling attack, after Rory Hood has opened. In opposition, Westies' Tabart could well undo the Feds' line up, after Biggs has done his bit with the new ball.

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