February 12, 2003.


Girls are continuing to dominate Alice's ranks of top achievers, and the number of Indigenous students graduating from Year 12 is improving.
Centralian College last year produced its best ever crop of Indigenous graduates, with six obtaining their Northern Territory Certificate of Education (NTCE), compared with one or two in past years.
This year 19 Indigenous students have enrolled in Year 12, or Stage Two as it is now called, and 17 are on track to complete their studies this year.
All four Indigenous students at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart College (OLSH) last year obtained their NTCE, and all four are now on their way to university, in courses ranging from Economics and Commerce to Performing Arts.
OLSH has previously achieved the Territory's best ever result, with eight Indigenous students graduating in 1995.
At St Philip's College, two Indigenous students were enrolled in Year 12 last year, and one obtained their NTCE.
Meanwhile, at last Friday's awards ceremony for Alice's top students, conducted by the NT Board of Studies, only one boy collected a Certificate of Merit, indicating a perfect score, 20/20, in a particular subject.
He was Abdullah Kamara from Alice Springs High for his study of Language and the Community.
Alice's top student last year was Jessi Galbraith from Centralian College, who was placed 18th out the Territory's top 20, with a TER (Tertiary Entrance Ranking) of 97. She will take up a place at the University of Queensland next year, to study her first choice courses, a double degree in law and psychology.
Centralian students dominated at the awards ceremony, with five from Judith Coverdale's photography class earning perfect scores. They were Lauren Blackwood, Amy Bonanni, Rebecca King, Ashlea Klingberg and Jessi.
Ms Coverdale was the Territory teacher with the most students earning a perfect score.
Other perfect scorers were Sally Balfour from Centralian for drama, and St Philip's students, Robyn Selleck, for Business Mathematics, and Joanna Smail and Emma Filmer, both for Computing Applications.
(Although he did not earn a perfect score, dux at St Philip's last year was a boy, Philip Keong, with a TER of 95.75. His results included a score of 19/20 for Physics. He will start studying at his first choice of course and university this year, doing Chemical Engineering and Economics at the University of Adelaide.)
OLSH students did not earn any perfect scores last year, but former Curriculum Coordinator at their senior campus, Candi Sims (now head of the junior campus), says, as elsewhere, girls were dominant among the college's top achievers.
Ms Sims thinks boys' involvement with sport, "especially in this town", leading them to spend less time on their study, may be contributing to this trend.
That it is a trend the world over, not only in the West, but also in Asia, is a matter of concern for educators, says senior secondary principal at Centralian College, Annette Jamieson.
She says Commonwealth Government funded research still underway may shed light on the matter.
Until it is published, Centralian College is focussing on a strategy of understanding and responding to each student's needs, whether they are boys or girls, Indigenous or non-Indigenous.
Their teaching staff's implementation of this approach saw an overall 20 per cent improvement in student performance last year. That is, 20 per cent more students than in the previous year successfully completed their studies.
Says Ms Jamieson: "We're liaising better with the feeder schools; we have better tracking of students, for instance, we're watching what subjects they choose.
"We're offering better student counselling; we have a very active program for the professional development of staff; we're working in better partnership with students and their families; and we're offering a more appropriate curriculum."
For example, the college, responding to its geographic and cultural environment, offers Aboriginal Studies as a Year 12 subject. Last year's class was made up of both Indigenous and non-Indigenous students, half and half, and they enjoyed a 100 per cent success rate.
Within traditional subjects, such as English, there is also an attempt to respond to student interests, by for instance choosing relevant texts to study.
Completion of secondary studies isn't, of course, the end of the story. Part of the success of a secondary school lies in what happens next to their graduates.
This year for the first time, Centralian College, in partnership with Anzac Hill and Alice Springs High Schools, will be tracking what its school leavers do in their first year out.
It is one of 13 participants in a national project called the Careers Advice Transition Service, which is aimed at preventing school leavers from entering the ranks of the unemployed.
Ms Jamieson says experience shows that if a school leaver is unemployed for the first 12 months after leaving, he or she is highly likely to remain unemployed in the long term.
Each participant in the project is piloting a different prevention mechanism.
In Alice all of the college's school leavers are being contacted to see what further studies or training they are undertaking or what job they are doing. If necessary, they will be offered transitional support and contacted again later to see how they are progressing.
St Philip's has been tracking its school leavers since 1996, offering them counselling on the study, training and employment options available and using the information about the various paths they follow in curriculum planning for the school.
OLSH likewise follows up on its school leavers' intentions and offers further assistance if necessary.
The tracking has allowed both of the private schools to realise that deferring further education for one year is very common in Alice.
"It has been important relay this information to parents so that they can start to put money aside early for their children's tertiary education.
"It's a big financial commitment," says Ms Sims.


If Alice Springs wants to get serious about being a tourist destination it should take a look at Chamonix.
The mountain resort in eastern France has a population of 10,000.
At the height of its tourist season – summer – it hosts 90,000 visitors a day, half from abroad: yes, that's nine times the town's permanent population.
Chamonix' 64,000 visitor beds, including 40,000 in "second homes", are notching up more than five million visitor nights a year.
Alice Springs, on its best days, gets 5000 overnight visitors: yep, that's one eighteenth when compared with Chamonix, although Alice has a permanent population nearly three times bigger.
But it's not just the numbers: Chamonix is a beautiful town.
The old, big hotels have been preserved in their grand style.
Many smaller ones look like alpine huts, lots of timber and balconies.
There are very few concrete and glass boxes.
Chamonix has been careful to keep in check the kind of developers who decimated Alice Springs' heritage architecture.
The pedestrian-friendly streets are clean and free of anti-social behaviour.
Locals are well-informed and ready to help.
For example, you can ask any shop assistant, most of whom speak English as a second language, which of the 74 ski runs are suitable medium skills, and you'll get a polite and comprehensive answer.
Every shop, from newsagency to bakery, has basic tourist information on the counter, or can direct you to the information office, which has a multi-lingual staff of 40 and is run by the local tourism industry association.
It has 800 members, ranging from mountain guides to ski instructors to hotel owners, and gets its lavish shopfront from the Mairie, the mayor's office, equivalent to our town council.
While our council is wrestling with such weighty issues as should there be "al fresco" dining in the mall, or should there be seating outside a particular liquor outlet, local government in Chamonix is one of the key drivers of the tourism industry.
It has an annual budget of $90m (the Alice Springs Town Council has $20m) and controls 90 per cent of the land which makes up the playground for Chamonix' guests: the magnificent mountain peaks, slopes and forests north of Mont Blanc, at 4810 metres the highest mountain in Europe.
Walking, skiing, snowboarding, skating, Langlauf, paragliding, and a string of restaurants, pubs and bars if you still have the energy at night … it's all laid on.
Accommodation, local transport, gear hire and instruction arranged smoothly and efficiently – but not cheaply.
Chamonix is a money machine.
For example, the company operating the seven cable cars, and the five gondola, 17 chair and 16 drag lifts, turns over $91m a year – roughly one third of Central Australia's total tourism earnings.
Chair lift projects – for example, to the top of Mt Gillen, a great place for an easy ridge walk – have been mentioned in Central Australia from time to time, immediately facing a howl of protest and being dumped very quickly.
In our MacDonnell National Park, at Alice's doorstep, recent initiatives have been the removal of rubbish bins (apparently it isn't politically correct to have them), and allowing much of the place to be burned to cinder in bushfires.
In the Chamonix Valley the focus of environmentalism is creating clever access to the wonders of nature, rather than keeping people away from them.
A Chamonix brochure demonstrates the attitude by quoting J. Eyheralde: "The most important species to protect is not the rarest orchid nor the marmot but … mankind."
Tourism facilities become a concern only if they are ugly – and then they are replaced with more appropriate ones.
Everything above 2000 metres in the Mont Blanc region is a nature reserve.
But enjoying it isn't necessarily a chore.
You can take a five hour walk up the Brevent (2525 metres) or two cable car rides will whisk you there in a few minutes, for lunch on a terrace overlooking one of the world's most breathtaking vistas.
There is a strong environmental group in Chamonix.
Their focus is on sustainable development, with a campaign to keep heavy road transport out of the valley at the top of the agenda.
They say the noise and air pollution it causes is incompatible with the alpine environment.
They want to exclude trucks from accessing the valley via the Mont Blanc tunnel, the scene a few years ago of an horrific accident caused by an overheated truck carrying a cargo of butter.
They're calling for improved rail links for all freight and visitor transport, and for the development of public train-tram transport within the valley, to reduce the number of private vehicles.
Chamonix and Alice Springs have obvious differences as well as a lot in common.
When Europeans were first arriving in Australia, English travellers to Italy were traversing the Mont Blanc region: tourism there goes back a long way.The early visitors' exploration of the mountains laid the foundation of a national school and research facility at Chamonix.
It is doing for the alpine regions what Alice Springs' Desert Knowledge wants to do for the arid zones.
Clearly, Chamonix – in the heart of Europe – has the advantage of having a few hundred million potential customers on its doorstep.
But Europe has many similar mountain resorts while Alice Springs is one of the world's few places giving safe and easy access to an arid zone – and potentially to an ancient culture Chamonix doesn't have.
Replace skiing with horse, camel or motorbike riding, and snow with sand, the outdoor opportunities of the two places are quite similar in terms of range and excitement.
Lorraine Afanassieff, the Chamonix tourism association's media officer, says Mont Blanc is the world's third most popular natural attraction, behind Mount Fuji and the Niagara Falls.
Of course, The Alice has Ayers Rock, the Western MacDonnell National Park and the Larapinta Trail – but none of that is doing much for Alice at present.
The time has clearly come for the Tourist Commission to kick some goals. New chairman Richard Ryan, and recently appointed CEO Maree Tetlow, who haven't inherited much from their predecessors that's of any use to Alice Springs, could get some inspiration from places like Chamonix.
And the locals might raise a peg or two their expectations of themselves, their staff, town council and the lavishly funded Tourist Commission.


Investigations are underway in Alice Springs into the option of injecting treated effluent into aquifers for storage and later extraction for re-use.
Power and Water hosted a workshop to discuss the potential of the method, known as Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR), at the end of January.
The workshop involved national and local experts, including international authority on ASR, Richard Evans, a principal hydrogeologist for Sinclair Knight Merz, and Peter Dillon, a CSIRO scientist in charge of a major aquifer storage and recovery project, including agricultural reuse, in South Australia.
The Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Environment (DIPE) took part in the workshop and will carry out the drilling and investigations for local ASR.
If the idea proves feasible, then discussions will take place with Department of Health and Community Services, DIPE and CSIRO, says a P&W spokesperson.
Meanwhile, negotiations on horticultural reuse of treated effluent are "ongoing".
P&W is licensed for only a further three years to discharge water from the sewerage ponds into the Ilparpa swamp, after which no more dry weather discharges will be allowed.
The restriction of the licence to three years, rather than five, was announced over the summer break.
"It is a vindication of the position of community representatives on the Ilparpa Swamp Rehabilitation Committee," says Glenn Marshall, coordinator of the Arid Lands Environment Centre and a member of the committee.
The P&W spokesperson says: "P&W and DIPE are pleased that the waste discharge licence has now been issued."P&W's push for a discharge licence demonstrates the ongoing commitment to the environment which will ensure the obligations of the licence are achieved."

More than 3000 signatures have been collected to petition the Territory Government to do something to preserve the Panorama Guth, up for sale due to the retirement of its owner, Henk Guth.
To date Mr Guth has had no offers and it looks likely that the site will be broken up and sold off.
The building's chief attraction for tourists is Mr Guth's 360 degree panorama painting of Central Australia, taking in the region's major landmarks, from Mt Wedge to Ayers Rock.
Alderman Jenny Mostran, together with organisers of the petition Mien Blom and June Noble, says people signing feel that the town has already lost too much of its heritage and don't want to see the unique building and its contents disappear.
She says some lateral thinking about the building's future is required: one possibility may be as arts accommodation. The government says it is negotiating for a site to house the town's various arts organisations (see last week's Alice News).
"Why not in Panorama Guth?" asks Mrs Mostran, pictured in front of the panorama with Mr Guth.
The petition will be tabled at the Legislative Assembly's next sittings and Mrs Mostran says she is hoping for intense lobbying in its support by all Central Australian MLAs.

Behaviour: too much talk. COLUMN by ANN CLOKE.

Dr Toyne's comments about recent initiatives in Alice Springs, such as new alcohol restrictions, cleaning up anti-social behaviour and diversionary programmes for juveniles, were a hot topic when David and I caught up with friends, most of whom own businesses, at a favourite watering hole on Friday night.
The Government keeps talking around issues but seems to be taking no action for fear of being branded discriminatory.
I related that I'd spoken mid-week to interstate visitors who hadn't touched the Centre for some years and were appalled by what they saw – rubbish strewn all over town, passers-by being harassed by drunks hanging around shopping centres and groups of young Indigenous people loitering in the streets.
I was told our town is looking very tired and dirty. When did I stop failing to notice it? Most visitors to the town are shell-shocked after a "must do/see" mall walk.Last February I wrote a column, "Fortress Alice – Do you think you'll retire here?", which created much comment. Twelve months on and it would seem that the anti-social elements are still very much in town and that the situation isn't improving.The police are aware of the townspeople's concerns regarding juvenile anti-social behaviour in and around the mall precinct – youth curfews, enforced truancy laws and diversionary programs have been discussed but little has been actually done.
Many young Indigenous people do not have role models – there is no family support and no-one making sure that they attend school or learn basic life skills. At the risk of stating the obvious, unless young Indigenous students are encouraged to get an education, become "job-ready" and competitive in the market, and to actively seek employment as opposed to relying on welfare payments, there will be no noticeable change in behaviour. Indigenous people tell us that they wish to take control of their problems, and it is recognised that the only people who can put options forward and convert them into viable alternatives, are respected Indigenous leaders. Many kids don't respect their Elders and are unable to integrate into general urban society. This is becoming a huge problem. Local Indigenous leaders appear to abhor the behaviour of itinerants and town youth, but have lost the authority and perhaps the will to deal with it.
It is damning to know that the Centre is to lose experienced police personnel who have chosen to transfer interstate. A policeman's lot in this town is certainly not an easy one. The working conditions are difficult: in amongst the task of real policing, there is the constant matter of picking up drunks and young offenders, taking them to the station, filling in the paper-work and dealing with the judicial process. Because many of these offenders are Aboriginal, the police come under attack and are often accused of being racist.So why wouldn't anyone grasp an opportunity to transfer elsewhere?The anti-social behaviour issues need to be openly discussed, rather than hidden by arbitrary statistics which do not reflect the true situation, and a joint action has to be taken by those administrative bodies responsible for the governance of Alice Springs.
The town council needs to start cleaning up our mall and parks, especially the ones right in town, namely outside the council offices and the one opposite the police station. They are a disgrace, and as someone pointed out where else are people permitted to bonk and defecate in full view of the public?
The police must be allowed to police. Government must allocate extra funding to provide even more of these diversionary programs to give some hope to the juveniles responsible for much of the in-town disturbances.
Major programs need to be developed by government in the out-lying areas to make life more meaningful so that people will wish to live there.Unless these issues are addressed, life in Alice Springs will become intolerable. Many people living in residential Alice are unaware or immune to what is happening in the middle of town: it's easy to sit in our own gardens and wear blinkers.
We have to get things back on track – make Alice Springs a town to be proud of. It was once and it can be again.

Empire building. COLUMN by STEVE FISHER.

"I don't think I could stand another 10 years of this fighting. All this stabbing and wounding – only getting my own back."
So wrote Tom Robinson in a song called "War Baby" sometime in the ‘eighties. It remains one of my favourites and surely the time is ripe for a techno or rap cover version.
Tom was writing about the trials of a relationship and nothing to do with international conflict. But these words have meaning today. I don't know about you, but to me the current spell of sabre-rattling over Iraq seems to have lasted at least 10 years.
It reminds me of those history lessons at school. We seemed to learn about the era of Victorian empire-building every single week from the age of 12 to 16. So even my under-developed analytical skills came to understand the pattern.
It went like this: Britain would get into an argument with another country over land or sea passage rights or even (in South America) the kind of seagull do-do that is used as fertiliser.
This quarrel would escalate into a louder quarrel. Then Lord Palmerston or another posh-sounding politician would send a small ship with some big guns mounted on it. After the gunboat did some posing in the harbour of the capital city, the bothersome country would quickly agree to a new arrangement.
This meant that the seagull poo was suddenly available at a knock-down price. In a rare moment of humour in an otherwise laugh-less subject, somebody named this "gunboat diplomacy". The joke being that there is little diplomacy when someone has a gun to your head. And so the whole period of history became like an adult movie or an Ashes Series. You always knew the ending.
Look, I know that weapons of mass destruction are a much more serious matter than smudgy droppings on South Pacific rocks. I'm not trying to make light of it, heaven forbid. After all, I know nothing.
But if this is the esteemed and highly technical field of international diplomacy, what happened to the diplomacy? Gone absent without leave, I reckon. It's like the leaders of the Western world have had too many of those food additives that you are supposed not to give to children. They're hyperactive and can't be reasoned with.
Does any of this matter to us in the Alice anyway? It must do if your son or daughter is on their way to the Gulf.
But with all these global issues, whether climate change, loss of biodiversity, globa-lisation, the demographic timebomb or whatever else, in our town you often feel like they are happening in a far distant place. Which they usually are.
But it's more than that. Central Australia is like a gold fish bowl, except in reverse. Nobody looks in and we look out. We talk about the world's problems as if they couldn't possibly have any impact on our own existence.
We're far from the mad crowd. Pour another beer while I muse on HIV in Africa or the international debt crisis. Or whether Shane Warne's shoulder will get better in time.
So maybe war doesn't affect us. We can still go shopping at the Yeperenye. But as the next line of "War Baby" goes, "…later that same evening we were out in the car talking. When I suddenly wondered who the hell it was we were trying to fool."


Eyeing off Europe but the bank manager chucks a wobbly? Hitting the road in a mobile home will keep you and him happy.
Living for a month in a Hymer camper van on a treck through Europe we soon settled into a pleasant routine.
There are three double beds, including the dining table when lowered to fit between the two benches, which also double as passenger seating for four, equipped with seat belts.
The passenger seat up front turns 180 degrees and becomes an armchair. The kitchen is well equipped (three ring gas stove, extractor fan, double sink, fridge and freezer, plenty of drawers, 120 litre water tank, 100 l waste water tank), but it's of course small.
That means three of us sat down while the fourth did the cooking or the dishes. It works best for only one at a time to be moving around.
There is good reason for the Hymer to be known as the Cadillac of motor homes: it has excellent gas heating, based on a fan forced heat exchange system guaranteeing odourless and thermostat controlled warmth.
We found this wholly adequate in temperatures down to minus 10 degrees. The two on-board 11 kg gas bottles will last you a week in cold weather – longer if it's warmer.
What's more, the system works whether or not you're hooked up to mains power, ideal for the "feral" camping we enjoyed so extensively. To paraphrase Billy Connelly: There's no such thing as bad weather – just bad camper vans.
Double window glazing and shutters insulate not only from the cold but also from noise: we slept like babies in rest areas on some of the world's busiest motorways. As you're using your van for transport during the day, the double battery system has ample time to recharge for night use.
That includes running the satellite TV whose self-tracking dish will bring you around 40 channels, including CNN and other English speaking services.
So, what about driving a really big van? We applied some simple rules and lived to tell the tale.
When in Rome do as the Romans do – but be 10 per cent more conservative. If the locals do 100 km/h stick to 90. When in doubt, pull over and stop. As a tourist you're almost universally afforded the freedom of the fool. Enjoy it.
Wherever a bus or a truck can go you can for sure.
All major roads are treated with salt in times of snowfall or freezing to keep them ice free. But beware sudden weather changes when ice can form quickly before the salt trucks arrive. Again, watch the locals. We had one occasion when the motorway surface was being pelted by an unexpected ice rain. We did 30 km/h on the 130 km/h Autobahn between Linz and Amstetten in Austria. When we saw a couple of cars on their roofs we pulled into the nearest rest area, turned up the heater and had lunch. Within an hour the blizzard was gone and we travelled on.
By and large the locals are pessimists, frequently wringing their hands in horror when you outline to them touring plans of Aussie proportions. Still go for it, but don't have any binding driving schedules that would put you under pressure: the idea of having a motor home is to be free as a bird. Oh yes, and don't forget to drive on the right hand side of the road!
The Hymer is 2.27 metres wide (my Toyota Troopie is 1.9 metres). The fact that the Hymer is higher than what you're likely to be driving normally (2.9 metres) and longer (6.86 metres) isn't a worry except that you need to make sure, by checking in the road train size rear view mirrors, that you're not taking a tight corner too tightly.
Reversing is made easy by a rear view TV camera with a monitor on the dash.
The five speed automatic gear box, hooked up to the 2.8 litre, 90 kW, 122 h/p Fiat power plant, works smoothly and efficiently. It allows you to focus on driving without the distractions of a manual gear change.
The anti-lock braking system earned its money a few times on iced roads.
Again, in slippery conditions play it safe by keeping a greater distance from the bloke ahead than you see the locals do. According to one radio report, half the fatalities on German Autobahns are caused by tailgating.
The Hymer has a turbo diesel engine. Compared to Oz diesel in Europe is dear – fasten your seatbelt – ranging from $1.37 to $1.60 a litre.
Diesel is about 15 per cent cheaper than petrol.
For a big machine the Hymer is economic.
It has a 75 litre fuel tank that will get you around 450 kms with a reasonable reserve.
We filled up 11 times with a total of 624 litres and travelled 4602 kms.
Our consumption varied from 11.8 litres per 100 kms to 17.3 litres, with – predictably – motor way trips at the low end. Fuel consumption averaged out at 13.6 litres per 100 kms – not bad!
The Hymer is truly an outstanding machine, with just a few minor faults. If the van is parked tilting to the right the TV, mounted on a rail, will disappear back into its storage compartment unless you jam a shoe between it and the compartment frame. The locks for some of the compartments, especially the gas one, can be a pain. And the pleated window night screens could be replaced by some kind of roller blinds which are easier to retract. Nothing you can't live with!
The Hymer vans are rented out at seven different seasonal rates, which vary between regions, so its best to check on or phone in Germany on 01802 496377.
Rates range from $102 to $234 a day, unlimited kilometres. [Prices in this story in Australian Dollars at the Euro rate of 0.5769.]


A few days can be a lifetime in sport.
A little over a week ago the Federal boys nailed RSL in the last over of play to take out the One Day Premiership. On Sunday they simply capitulated and gave Westies a chance to qualify for finals participation.
At Traeger Park West took on Federal over the Saturday and Sunday sessions.
Westies had first use of the willow and did very well to compile 253 in 74 overs. From the Federal perspective it was probably the fact that they had critical catches dropped that allowed the Bloods to amass a total which was always going to be a challenge on the big Traeger field.
Half centuries to Adam Stockwell, Jeff Kay and Kevin Mezzone ensured the score, and credit is due to Federal's Adelaide Hills recruit, Nick Johns, and ex-Darwin newcomer, Marriot Curtis, who between them took seven wickets.
Feds withstood the last few overs on Saturday without loss, and should have gone into Sunday's play full of confidence.Alas, while Tom Clements gave the Feds a start in making 21, it was only skipper Alan Rowe who could match the score down the order, eventually leaving them way behind the eight ball, all out for 127 off a mere 54 overs.
Westies have not had the easiest of seasons and are grappling for a finals post. Good steady bowling from Shane Trenbath in taking 4/40; Ryan Thomson with 2/13; and both Jeremy Bigg and Shaun Angeles picking up a wicket a piece ensured the West first innings win.
Mid-afternoon Westies went back in for a hit, but with three overs to go captain Bigg acknowledged there was nothing to be gained from the contest and declared with five wickets down.
At Albrecht Oval a real psychological mind game was played. Top team RSL had a bonza day at the crease on Saturday and set Rovers a target of 306. Playing on the best field in the Territory, the Works boys enjoyed their day, with Rod Dunbar and Jamie Smith each knocking up 70 plus.
The chase was always going to have Rovers on the back foot, and as it eventuated the Blue boys succumbed, scoring a mere 145.
Jamie Tidy was the mainstay for Rovers in his dig of 33, but the honours must go the way of the RSL bowlers. Matt Salzberger with his "banana balls" proved to be a trump card, taking five for 47 off 12.5 overs. The leg spinner Wayne Egglington chimed in with two for 38 off 12 overs. Rowse took a further two, and Graham Schmidt one to scuttle the opposition.
In contrast to games pre-Christmas, RSL skipper Jeff Whitmore opted to call it a day, not tempted by the bonus points on offer. Interestingly Rovers could well have sought a point or two but it was not to be. Mid-afternoon play came to a halt.
Next week the two day series will continue. Federal need to be at their best to pick up points over Rovers and ensure a finals spot. RSL are cosy at the top of the ladder but Westies need every point to avoid a wooden spoon. So the challenge will be on.

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