STREET KIDS EXPERIMENT. Report by ERWIN CHLANDA.
Aboriginal carers for Aboriginal kids, long-term accommodation solutions and the dollars to do it: that's what is needed and quick, says Eddie Taylor, volunteer coordinator of the Youth Night Patrol.
YNP is running a pilot program for 13 weeks funded by the Office of Crime Prevention, extending their service to six nights a week, each night picking up and taking home up to 70 children, who are likely to get into trouble Ð or cause it.
Mr Taylor is also vice-chair of the Central Australian Aboriginal Child Care Agency (CAACCA), which ran the Aranda House refuge until it closed its doors last year.
He says the YNP initiative will remain a stop gap while Aranda House remains closed.
He says the children the patrol picks up, as young as five, are frequently found with knives, alcohol or sniffing substances, and with stolen goods.
They are taken to where they ask to go, but many don't want to be taken anywhere.
They have chaotic homes, or don't get on with their carers appointed by the NT Government's Family and Children's Services (FACS).
ATSIC has granted YNP triennial funding for their base operation on three nights Ð Thursday to Saturday.
Now the NT Government, through its Office of Crime Prevention, is kicking in the pilot funding for 13 weeks to see if the patrol needs to operate on a further three nights.
Mr Taylor, a town council employee, and an unpaid youth worker since 1990, says the patrol staff are paid.
Money is also needed to upgrade to two new second hand vehicles, a mini bus and a Toyota troop carrier.
Private enterprise support comes from Peter Kittle Motor Company (T-shirts), Lightning Ridge Opals (jackets), Gourmet Bakehouse (pies and pasties for the kids) and Top Gear (CD players in the cars).
But where to take the kids is the main problem Ð especially for them: one child taken to his FACS carer's home refused for an hour to get out of the bus, says Mr Taylor.
The patrol members refer children to Tangentyere, ASYASS, Congress or FACS, but find after-hours services thin on the ground.
The routine for children thought to be at risk, frequently facing physical or sexual abuse, is to alert FACS through the hospital emergency department.
But more often than not, FACS doesn't respond if the call is made at night, says Mr Taylor.
David Ross is program manager for FACS in Alice Springs, which as of June 30 were providing support to 64 children, 80 per cent of whom were Aboriginal
Mr Ross says the services have a "limited capacity to respond after hours but always respond to critical child protection issues".
He also says that Mr Taylor and YNP have not made FACS aware of a child not wanting to return home to their carer.
Mr Taylor says FACS should support recommissioning the mothballed Aranda House in South Terrace, which would require a budget of about $250,000 a year Ð a lot less than a juvenile crime spree would cost.
The lease to the former youth detention centre is held by CAACCA, and the building is maintained by Correctional Services.
But there is no money for staff to run the place.
Mr Taylor says in its hey day Aranda House not only gave short term shelter to several hundred children a week, but was the permanent home for about 20.
They were going to school, doing their homework, and were taken on camps every fortnight.
"They were proud of Aranda House," says Mr Taylor.
However, there is no sign of an Aranda House revival on the broader youth services agenda.
Mr Ross says FACS is continuing to work with other youth services, including Tangentyere Council, on setting up a six-place safe house, with a strong focus on follow-up.
Places in the safe house would be a short term crisis response, says Mr Ross.
"We are not looking at a permanent home for young people. We want to reconnect them with their families.
"We want children to have long term safe and caring homes where they can be educated and grow up.
"The new service is not a long term option.
"Placements with their own family and community are the long term option.
"The new service will help find and support families as well as provide the crisis accommodation in the first instance."
Mr Ross also says that not every child in the street at night needs to go to alternate accommodation.
He says the critical issue for the combined youth services is to "address the underlying issues, so that young people are not just on a merry-go-round".
The much-delayed safe house is now due to be up and running by the end of this year.
Mr Taylor welcomes the safe house option but says it is not enough.
It will take a long time to repair dysfunctional homes before they are ready to provide adequate care for the dozens of children now on the streets.
He says he speaks from experience when he says long term accommodation options are needed.
Apart from their own seven children and step-children, he and his wife fostered a child from the age of four.
"She is now 21 and not under our consistent care any more but she still has a home with us," says Mr Taylor.
He says the long-termers at Aranda House were shown "two types of life Ð life on welfare and the alternative of being educated and able to look after yourself".
Mr Taylor says sniffing and bad behaviour are often cries for help.
They should be answered, not by "pampering" but with strong and positive care.
"You need to treat them as though they were your own kids," he says.
Mr Taylor also believes there was bias within ATSIC against Aranda House.
He says its manager, Steven Cullen, wrote to CAACCA director Allen Furber in October 2000 about a meeting with then ATSIC Regional Chairperson Eileen Hoosan.
Mr Cullen wrote: "Ms Hoosan informed me that there was money available for Aranda House, in particular that she had $108,000 she was prepared to Ôgive to us' if we made a couple of changes.
"The changes were: to either remove Eddie Taylor and Allen Furber from their positions, or to have Aranda House break away from CAACCA and [be]come incorporated under another organisation such as Arrernte Council.
"I believe the funding problems that exist between Aranda House and ATSIC are purely a personal issue between ATSIC council members and CAACCA representatives, and have no sound business sense.
"Unfortunately the only people that are really being disadvantaged by the tunnel vision of ATSIC members are the impoverished and homeless youth of Central Australia," says Mr Cullen in his letter.
Ms Hoosan, who retired as regional chairperson this year, denies that she has acted with any bias against Mr Taylor or Mr Furber.
She says the local ATSIC Regional Council fully supported applications from Aranda House.
Ms Hoosan says Aranda House received support from ATSIC's Central Office.
She could not recall whether $108,000 had been allocated to Aranda House at that time.
"I have always supported applications that came in from Aranda House and other organisations helping Aboriginal children," says Ms Hoosan.
GARDEN SHOW HAS A TINGE OF SADNESS. Report by ERWIN CHLANDA.
There will be a tinge of sadness when second generation railwayman Willie Whittard opens his back yard to the public this weekend as part of Australia's Open Garden Scheme.
It's meant to be a display of a quirky and clever garden with lots of native flora, sparing use of water and found objects.
But many of these are from Willie's 25 years with the railway, and his father's work on "the line" beforehand, taking up 43 years of Willie's life: railway station signs, wagon wheels, timbers from freight cars, and so on.
The trouble is, although he has trains in his blood he is far from overjoyed about the monumental leap forward for rail transport, with the opening of the Alice to Darwin link next year.
And that's because it might cost him the only job he's ever had.
Willie is a terminal operator.
He drives computers and shunting locomotives.
He looks after freight data and rolling stock repairs.
Most importantly, he transfers containers from rail to road trucks, because The Alice is a rail head and from here the freight goes north on trucks.
But that's coming to an end soon, and so might Willie's job Ð along with those of quite a few others.
Rail is a lifestyle for Willie who grew up in Colson Street Ð now the address of Murray Neck's super store but 43 years ago part of a community of railway staff living in railway cottages with some 90 odd kids, 30 in Colson Street alone.The cottages were a world away from the railway houses, preserved till today, in Railway Terrace.
"That was skid row, where the shiny bums lived," says Willie.
Colson Street, for the kids, was a place you played footy or cricket.
"You wouldn't go to town.
"It was a little community.
"Everybody looked after one another."
Willie has inherited his collecting passion from his dad, Bill, who cruised around in a yellow Holden ute picking up anything from pick-axe beer bottles, the old returnable wine flagons and Cavanagh cool drink bottles, to all types of scrap metal.Willie is looking for goods to enhance his yard Ð including some 10 tonnes of stone and sand in a variety of colours and all kinds of stuff about to be disposed of despite the stories attached to it.
A good example of that is the tree trunk that lay between the Traeger Park football and baseball fields.
"People have sat on it for years, drinking beer and telling yarns," says Willie.
Now it's a perch for him, his family and his many mates.
You can join them on Saturday and Sunday between 10am to 4.30pm in 2 Fitzpatrick Street for coffee, tea and bikkies. After covering costs, the $4.50 donation per adult will go to Greening Australia.
WHY WORLD VISION TREATS PAPUNYA LIKE IT DOES AFRICA. Report by KIERAN FINNANE.
The opening last week of a music studio at Papunya is the latest initiative in the remote Western Desert community involving the non-government aid organisation World Vision.
It has been present in Papunya since 1996, with its main focus until now on infant and maternal health and "community capacity building" through the training of health workers.
The music studio Ð undoubtedly good news for emerging musicians at Papunya and well-deserved recognition for the achievements of guitarist Sammy Butcher (formerly of Warumpi Band) Ð takes World Vision's involvement to a new level.
Over the last year the organisation has also been developing a program in partnership with the community at Epenarra, some 150 km south-west of Tennant Creek.
The Alice News asked Joyati Das, manager of World Vision's Indigenous programs, why the organisation Ð whose main focus is in poverty-stricken communities in developing countries Ð is active in Australia, which is after all an affluent country well able to look after its own.
Ms Das agreed that "Australia has a responsibility to look after its own". However, she said World Vision responded to a direct request from Papunya, until recently the only Indigenous community to make such a request.
She said the organisation's activities in the community are supported by donations specifically for those programs.
"We were aware of a lot of empathy and enthusiasm amongst general donors as well as small business and corporate Australia for Indigenous programs," said Ms Das.
The resources World Vision uses for these programs do not take away from resources intended to help in the developing world: donors know that they are providing money for activities in Australia, not for instance in Africa, and vice versa.
How successful has World Vision been in Papunya?
Ms Das says their success is reflected in the community's desire to continue their partnership with them, confirmed in a meeting with community councillors last week: "They feel that there is a role for World Vision for a long time."She claims that there has been a "dramatic improvement" in "kids' snotty noses and pussy ears" as a result of the weekly ears, nose and hands cleaning program conducted at the school.
She says there is also a marked improvement in confidence of both the trainee health workers, three of whom have completed four modules of a Batchelor Institute health course, and the young mothers who are taught cooking and baby care at the women's health centre.
At Epenarra it is early days but from six women involved at the outset there are now 15 participating in the healthy lifestyle program, with plans afoot to start an art centre with income-generating potential.
HISTORY TREASURES BACK ON VIEW. Report by JOSE PETRICK.
Pitchi Richi Sanctuary proved a popular choice for the recent first field trip of the newly formed organization, Heritage Alice Springs.
While still there, several members even booked for the next tour in August!
Sanctuary owner, Elsa Corbet gave about 20 members of the heritage group a conducted tour of the outdoor museum of equipment and tools collected and displayed by her late husband, Leo.
She also identified the clay sculptures made by famed sculptor William (Bill) Ricketts.
Leo named his land near Heavitree Gap, Pitchi Richi, an Aboriginal name for "a break in the range". He obtained the lease in 1955 from Charles Henry (Pop) Chapman and developed the property as a bird sanctuary.
The adventurous Chapman with a team of men had come from Queensland in the early 1930s to mine gold at The Granites, an isolated gold field in the Tanami Desert north west of Alice Springs. Later Chapman took up the block by the Todd River where he built a two-storey house.
According to local historian, the late Max Cartwright, in Pop's second year on the property he planted 160 citrus trees and wanted to give the park as a free gift to Alice Springs but this did not eventuate.
In Leo's early days in Central Australia he lived in a small cottage on Chapman's block and watered the citrus trees while the owner mined at The Granites. Pop Chapman died in 1955. The lease was sold to Leo who moved into the house and took up three extra leases along the Todd.
Leo, a staunch environmentalist, intended to make his sanctuary a restful haven for the people. He left an "honour box" at the gate for the modest entrance fee of 20c.
Eminent geologist Reg Sprigg, who was involved with mineral exploration particularly in the North Flinders Ranges and the Arkaroola areas of SA, travelled vast distances with Leo and helped him gather an extensive collection of valuable rocks which Leo displayed in his house. Tea and coffee making facilities were also available in the house, which he trustingly left open.
Leo was impressed with the efforts of the authorities of the Santa Teresa Mission, south east of Alice Springs, who tried to help the inhabitants combat the alcohol problem. He set aside a part of his sanctuary for these Indigenous people and encouraged them to carve animals in sandstone which they could sell.
Previously Leo had lived in Victoria where he knew Bill Ricketts. Apart from Ricketts making sculptures for his own property in the Dandenong Ranges known as the William Ricketts Sanctuary, he made and transported several clay figures to Pitchi Richi Sanctuary, Alice Springs, 15 of which still remain.
Ricketts moulded the design of his own face and hands in many of the works.
The sculptures were otherwise mostly of Aboriginal men, women and children whose faces he meticulously fashioned with life like expressions. He was particularly skilful moulding his models' eyes and hands.
Ricketts had a small kiln at Pitchi Richi where he made small figures, mostly faces, but the finished product proved unsatisfactory.
Leo married Miss Elsa King, a kindergarten teacher from Melbourne, in 1966.
Among Elsa's many attributes was a flair for calligraphy and she painstakingly inscribed with a fine paint brush and ink, innumerable large flat rocks to identify the items and their usage in the outdoor museum. At the beginning of each tourist season, she had to renew each inscription due to the harsh climate.Leo travelled thousands of kilometers in his early model Landrover to collect artifacts, tools and equipment used by mining prospectors, pastoralists and early settlers. He also found basic household equipment used by isolated pioneer women which he felt important to preserve for posterity.
He preferred to leave the items in the condition in which he found them to help visitors appreciate the pioneers' hardships.
However, when Leo retrieved an old camel whip used to water live stock before engines were available, he erected it so that people could understand how it worked.
The camel was attached by ropes to a large frame work over the well.
Two buckets with flaps in the bottom were attached by chains to the framework and the camels. When a camel walked forward it would pull up a bucket full of water; when the camel walked back towards the well the bucket went down. The flap in the bucket base opened with the force of the water and the bucket filled without tipping over.
In the early 1970's when the Joint Defence Facility at Pine Gap opened many Americans with four wheel drive vehicles eagerly went out to help Leo collect his treasures and enjoyed their adventures. Leo also brought back hundreds of rocks to support and form back drops for the sculptures.
Leo encouraged all wild birds to the sanctuary and planted as a garden native shrubs and plants on which they could feed. During the severe drought in the 1960s he went daily to Moore's Bakery on Undoolya Road and swept up bread crumbs for the birds.
He had a billy can in the garden, with a note asking for donations of money for bird seed He also wrote to the major newspapers in the cities, asking people if they had packets of bird seed they were not using to send them to him. The response was very gratifying.
To Leo's amusement someone sent him a cartoon from a newspaper showing birds lying on the bare ground in a drought stricken gorge between barren ranges.
Two small planes were flying through the gap showering bird seed down on to the ground. One bird was happily lying on its back, its beak open collecting the seed as it fell. Two others were hunched up on the ground, half covered by a rock, looking slyly up at the planes, wondering if they would be bombarded with the seed. Through people's generosity Leo continued to feed the birds.
Leo died in 1971 after a short illness leaving behind him the legacy of Pitchi Richi Sanctuary for people to enjoy as a peaceful haven.
For a while the Apex Club kindly helped maintain the garden with working bees. However after the heavy rains the buffel grass caused problems and the garden had to be closed to the public due to the high maintenance and public liability insurance.
Tickets must be obtained in advance from The National Pioneer Women's Hall of Fame. Tel: 8952 9006.
SKATING LEAVES THE REST IN SHADE. Report by LINDA HUGHES.
For many guys, skating is their life, especially street skating!
The idea earlier this year that street skating might be off limits in Alice and that skaters might be confined to the Skate Park was their worst nightmare.
After a public meeting in April to discuss this and other issues, a committee was set up to solve some of the problems.
I talked to Alice Springs Mayor Fran Kilgariff about the skating situation and she updated me on what has happened since the committee was formed. It has been meeting once a month, with their most recent achievement being the shade structure in the shape of a desert rose put up at the Skate Park the week before last.
There was an issue about safety at the Skate Park, as it's away from town and help. To assist with this, Telstra is currently investigating putting up a public phone booth at the Skate.
The council has also been granted $30,000 from the NT Department of Health and Community Services, through their Public Behaviour Grants Program, for a project officer to teach people to skate, to organise competitions and to promoting skating as a sport in Alice Springs. This is a part time job for 12 months through the YMCA.
The committee will be using a $3,000 budget allocation to buy skateboards and safety equipment for those who can't afford their own.
On the issue of street skating, the Mayor says the council has proposed specific places and times for skating in the mall to be allowed. The committee has yet to decide on whether or not they support this.
Council's priority - in terms of allowing street skating - is still public safety. The Mayor says they will be investigating this thoroughly before making a decision on "zoned" street skating.CONVIC, the company who designed the Skate Park, will be here some time in August to work on building an extension of the Skate Park as a "street scape".I also talked to Nick Wiles, a skater on the committee, about what he thinks the committee has achieved from the point of view of a skater.
He says the committee is a good place for the skateboarding youth to voice and share their views. The committee is a place where they solve issues by taking everyone's view into account and the end result is a group decision.He just wants to keep the skating scene alive and so far it's working.As for the major issue of street skating, Nick says, "It all began with street skating and we will always go back to that."[LINDA HUGHES was on work experience from St Philip's with the Alice News and will continue writing for us as a freelance contributor.]
They loved our great rail journey. COLUMN by ANN CLOKE.
There were hundreds of people milling around the Alice Springs Railway Station when David and I farewelled Lavanya on a Saturday in late June after her nine day interlude in the Centre.
The Ghan was an hour late arriving in from Adelaide and the cleaners and baggage handlers were doing a wonderful job trying to turn her round as quickly as possible (departure was just after 3pm on that day).
We wandered past many carriages waiting for the shiny new engine to shunt around to the front of the train. I'd told L all about this engine, painted, proudly depicting the Centre and promoting the Ghan, the journeyÉ What we got was Engine No NR 23, scratched, battered, with a faded paint jobÉ
In July 2001 John Howard, PM, and other dignitaries, arrived at the Alice Springs Railway Station for the turning of the first sod for the Alice to Darwin section of the railway track, in a boldly painted polished orange and black engine. Are we saving the "newer" engines, the greatest advertising vehicle we could possibly have, for the inaugural Adelaide-Darwin run, now scheduled for February 1, 2004?
Strong demand from people wishing to experience the journey, south to north, through the Centre, 2979 kilometres, have pushed ticket sales up to over $5M! It is being billed as one of the world's greatest train journeys. The Indian Pacific, Sydney to Perth, 4352 kilometres, also has a top rating with train travel enthusiasts.
Dad worked with New Zealand Rail for over 40 years and he loves train travel: He and Mum have seen most of the Land of the Long White Cloud, and much of Oz, through a railway carriage window. A comfortable timeless way to travel.
Alison, friend and neighbour, popped in for a sun-downer last week. We were talking about travel, trains and things in general Ð she recalled her first trip by rail from Adelaide to Alice Springs, back in the Ôsixties.
It was a four day journey because the track was under water, huge rains around the desert. So all the passengers and some of the railway workers, headed to the Finke Hotel where they stayed for 12 hours, until the floods had subsided to a level where it was deemed safe for the train to continue Ð the guard had a ruler to measure the depth.
At one point, in his enthusiasm, he actually stumbled and fell head first into a pool of waterÉstill holding the measuring stick. Those were the days, Alison musedÉSounds familiarÉ many miles to clock up, rivers to cross, mountains to climb. The trans-Siberian from Moscow to Vladivostok, 9600 kilometres, is a journey of epic proportions, taking in the oldest city in Russia, Yaroslavl, founded in 1010, and passing through some formidable territoryÉ
The Canadian Pacific is billed as one of the most scenic train journeys of the world, departing from Toronto, winding through the spectacular Rockies and into Prince George, north of Vancouver.
New Zealand boasts many breath-taking journeys including the Tranz Alpine Express, setting out from Christchurch, in the South Island (known parochially as the Main Land), across the Canterbury Plains through to Arthurs Pass, an alpine village completely surrounded by lofty snow topped mountains, through Haast Pass and into Greymouth, wild and wet, on the West Coast.
There is plenty of dramatic countryside and a number of cleverly engineered tunnels to take the breath away: the longest railway tunnel in the southern hemisphere, the Kaimai Tunnel, is at Apata, in the North Island.
Michael, friend and neighbour of Jetset fame, and his wife, Virginia, recently travelled through Southern Africa on the Shongololo Train. A trip and a half, eighteen days of sheer luxury.
David and I have travelled around Southern Africa but have yet to ride on the famous Blue Train, from Cape Town, through to Johannesburg, up to Maun, Botswana and into the magnificent Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe.
A rail journey of interest has to be the South American Express, which takes the traveller around the Peruvian Mountains, along the Umbamba River and into Machu Picchu, the lost city of the Incas, on through the Andes and the highest pass in the world, La Raya, around Lake Titicaca, to the end of the line, the romantic historic city of La Paz.
There are so many great train journeys to consider Ð we're fortunate to live in Alice Springs, to be here to experience one of the greatest, the Ghan, rattling through our town: Train travel is billed as one of the most relaxing ways to see the countrysideÉ Our trip will appeal to people who travel for the sheer pleasure of the journey, the magic of the ride, from Adelaide and cityscape through barren places and the Great Simpson Desert to Alice Springs, and beyond, more of that desert, en route to Darwin.
Travellers will revel in our wide open spaces and in the thinking time Ð Bruce Chatwin would have loved it!
If the Hulk came to Alice Springs. COLUMN by STEVE FISHER.
If "The Hulk" was set in Alice Springs it wouldn't feature a bright green man. Instead his colour would be river gum, the only green permitted in Central Australia. At least this unscary skin tone would match the fence panels, water tanks, sheds and roof sheets of the town, so it's not all bad.
Based on the story in the Marvel comic, but with Centralian settings, the tale begins at a research institute, where the main protagonist works as a specialist in an unpronounceable branch of science. A highly withdrawn intellectual unable to cope with emotions, he has the looks and charm of an Australian movie star, appealing to attractive women despite having the communication skills of a garden bench.
Becoming emotional about a major local issue like the costs of bringing Parliament to town or whether people should sleep in the river, his voice would become quivery."You wouldn't like me when I'm angry. Mate," he says, starting to shake, then mutate, into a monstrously powerful behemoth, breaking all the graphites in his propelling pencil and messing up the codes in his spreadsheet.
If the Hulk came to Alice Springs, he would play golf with the balls of Pine Gap. Or he would roll them at the aerials above the Gap like a giant 10 pin bowling lane. He would feature in TV adverts for local car dealers, being even larger than the salesmen. He would wear a blue singlet with stains down the front.
Our Hulk would buy several pairs of lycra boxers in the 20 per cent sale at K-Mart. Like everyone else whose bum gets bigger the older they get, he would come to understand the value of stretchy material.
If the Hulk came to Alice Springs, we townsfolk would learn the real meaning of anti-social behaviour. He wouldn't throw rocks at cars. He would throw cars at rocks. He wouldn't stagger intoxicated in wavy lines across busy streets. He would use the traffic as stepping stones, roaming around in a rage, mystified by the world and searching for a payphone that works.
This futuristic King Kong, when approached by a tourist at the foot of ANZAC Hill and asked how to get to ANZAC Hill, would become very, very angry. He would pick up the hapless visitor and hurl them to the top of the hill. Then he would head for the Todd Mall.
The love interest of the Hulk is a winsome beauty with endless reserves of tolerance and perfect skin. She would run a stall at the Sunday market, from which she pouts in a meaningful way when she hears our river gum giant pounding down the Mall. The mere sight of her would cause his primordial rage to subside. He buys an organic carrot and some incense sticks.
The Hulk would wake up in the morning, lying in a pool of liquid, with only a vague recollection of his prior whereabouts.
He would find his clothes tattered and torn and his belongings smashed. He thinks he must have been to the Finke Desert Race.
Alice Springs would be an ideal location for the sequel to "The Hulk". We offer plenty of wide open spaces to bound through and lots of ranges to leap over.
But what would the film be like? The director of The Hulk once said that blockbuster movies are boring. The lead actress said that comic mythology is shallow. One critic called the film emotionally anesthetized, short on plot and heavy on hushed brooding.
Our sequel would be all these things and worse. But at least it would be our sequel.
EAGLES SWOOP OVER THE 'ROOS. Report by PAUL FITZSIMONS.
Pioneers, wasted no time on Sunday in establishing themselves as favourites for the 2003 flag when they took the game by the horns from the first bounce and won against second placed South, 22.12 (144) to 12.7 (79).
In the game played to presumably settle the wooden spoon, Rovers ran out winners over Federal, 16.15 (111) to 11.13 (79).
Pioneer stepped into the game minus the influence of Graeme Smith who was in Darwin with softball commitments, and Lachlan Ross who is still sidelined with illness. They spent no time pondering over the situation, however, as they scored 6.5 to 1.1 in the first term. In front of goals Ryan Mallard was allowed to accept incoming opportunities without resistance and in that first stanza he recorded five goals.
Late in the second term South came to grips with the game at hand and responded. They established some run out of the centre square and were able to outscore their opponents 4.3 to 2.3 in the term.
The influence of Craig Turner in ruck paid dividends in the second half as his ability to set up clearances out of the centre saw the Eagles swoop again in the third term. They added 8.3 to 2.1 and so hammered the coffin firmly on the Roos in that third quarter.
In the run home the Eagles maintained their momentum, scoring 6.1 to 5.2.
The 65 point victory confirms that Pioneer are poised to start as favourites for the 2003 flag.
Mallard ended the day with a haul of 13 goals, which established him as the man of the match. Turner's effort was equally as praiseworthy as he was the instigator of play throughout the game. Running off his knockouts were the young and fast legs of Nathan Pepperill, Chris Clyne and the McCormack brothers, Daniel and Wayne.
Souths on the other hand also had their problems early with the late withdrawal of key players Kelvin Maher and Willy Tilmouth.
Despite the loss they showed that they can not be written off as premiership contenders. Bradley Braun put in another game to be their best, Clayton Cruse played serviceably, and Brenton McMasters fulfilled some of his youthful potential.
Wayne Braun, who has pulled on the No.3 jumper again over the last few weeks, proved he has the vintage class that made him a stand out player in his teenage years. Shane Hayes' four goals were appreciated from a player who still ranks as one of the best in the competition.
The late game of the day was a battle for the wooden spoon. Rovers and Federal were both affected by players on duties at the Yuendumu Sports, and in terms of standard the game didn't reach any great heights.
Rovers ran on with a cohort of older players including Geoff Miller, who is reported to be keen to be on the field as his son enters the League arena. In the Federal camp some nine under 18 players took to the field.
Rovers jumped out of the blocks with Martin Patrick in fine form in front of the sticks. He booted three goals of the team's four for the quarter, and helped establish an 11 point advantage by the first break.
In the second term Miller exerted his influence in the forward area with telling marks and a goal. It was saddening to see him depart later with an obvious ankle complaint. Also prominent for the Blues was Jamie Tidy who revelled in his forward positioning. Rovers had five other goal scorers for the term and set themselves up with a 43 point lead at the big break.
For Federal the half was not a winner but at least had some semblance of order.
Come the second half it was the Demon machine who took the upper hand. Calvin Kopp showed his influence and Henry Peckham, returning to the code for which his grandfather is well remembered, contributed significantly. In addition Aaron Haines came to the party with three goals. The Feds outscored Rovers four goals to two and at the three-quarter break the game was still up for the winning.
In the drive home Federal proved a force early when they reduced the margin to 13 points, but the Blues settled and booted home 32 point winners. Andrew Johnson, Edric Coulthard and Kenny Morton were instrumental in the Blues win, with Ricky Rose, Martin Petrick and Malcolm Kenny playing well.
For Federal Haines' four goals out of a club tally of 11 was noteworthy, and down field it was Kopp, Peckham and Patrick Bloomfield who made the clock tick.
From a coach's perspective, while the wooden spoon may be staring Gilbert McAdam in the face, he would have detected glimmers of hope from the some sectors of Feds' game.
This week Federal will meet West. The Bloods will be keen to complete the minor round with four consecutive wins, and with the Demons first on the chopping block it could be a matter of "watch out, Federal"!
South will take on Rovers in the late game and while for both sides it could come down to who turns up on the day with their boots, the Roos should to prevail.
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