Archive for December 2018

Eighteen, an amateur, tee shots a mess – still Goss impresses his star partners

Graeme McDowell and Adam Scott can both remember their nerves jangling as they stepped up for their first tee shots as emerging youngsters playing sandwiched between two tournament headliners.
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In his own words, McDowell was ”shitting himself”, while the picturesque surrounds of Kingston Heath remind Scott of his first time in a top-flight group, when he walked the same fairways with Aaron Baddeley and Robert Allenby in the 2000 Australian Open .

On day one of this year’s Australian Masters at Kingston Heath, McDowell and Scott were the stars.

Eighteen-year-old amateur Oliver Goss was the rising upstart, standing over his ball with driver in hand preparing to show two of his heroes he was worthy of their company.

”I just thought I would hit it as hard as I could and it went perfect, smoked it down the middle,” a relieved Goss said after his round, recalling his tee shot at the 10th hole (his first). That drive was easy to relive, for he had already shut out most of the others.

”I thought I played horrendously off the tee,” he said. ”I haven’t hit it that bad in years.”

The West Australian swears his rusty play off the tee had nothing to do with nerves, either from the galleries following the drawcard group or the drawcards themselves.

”I actually sort of thrive off the big crowds,” he said. ”It makes me not get angry at myself … it stops you from doing something that will make you look like an idiot.”

Playing with Scott and McDowell was a crash course in trying to practise everything coaches had drilled into him for five years. Five years of lessons in five hours.

”To actually see it in person was just awesome,” he said. ”I learnt that Adam Scott is the greatest ball striker I have seen. He hits it so good and so straight, it was just unbelievable.”

Scott was having a good day in what were perfect conditions during the morning rounds. His five-under 67 was good for the lead early in the day, before he was overtaken and settled in a tie for second.

However, it was not as if Goss was holding up the threesome. His one-under made him equal with McDowell, the 2010 US Open winner.

What the youngster lacked off the tee – he hit only seven out of 15 fairways – he made up for closer to the green.

Scott praised his temperament.

”I’m very impressed,” Scott said after his round. ”He just managed to make par from everywhere today. He handled [the pressure] pretty well out there. He knows how to get it around, obviously, and that is a good asset to have at a young age.”

Goss admitted he had to keep ”scrambling and scrambling” to keep his round from falling apart and later headed for the driving range to iron out the creases in his long game.

Goss, who won the West Australian Amateur Open to cap a satisfying year, will move on to the Australian Open in Sydney next month.

He has no plans to turn professional for at least another year – probably two – and is steadfast in his belief that going to college in the US is the right path for him.

Regardless of how he finishes at Kingston Heath, the experience of playing alongside Scott and McDowell has been a great motivator.

”It’s helped me realise that I am closer than I thought, just being able to hang with these guys,” he said.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

Myer boss hopes for a Christmas miracle but plans for muted season

MYER chief executive Bernie Brookes is bracing for a flat Christmas despite six uninterrupted months of sales growth leading into November and the company notching up its first quarterly sales gain since its 2010 sharemarket float.
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Mr Brookes said yesterday that the nation’s biggest department store recorded a 1 per cent rise in first-quarter sales to $688 million. He said Myer was positioned to cater for a muted Christmas season due to the fragile state of consumers and the chance of further bad economic news from the US and Europe.

”Who knows what is going to happen in terms of the fiscal cliff [in the US], the implications of Greece and the debt they have … the consumer is reasonably fragile and we can’t afford to be too buoyant,” Mr Brookes said.

”We are looking for Christmas to be at least flat, maybe better, and have bought stock on that basis and have done our planning on that basis.”

But Myer is showing signs of sustained improvement when it comes to sales. It said on Thursday that for the first quarter total sales were up 1 per cent while comparable store growth (which excludes the impact of new stores opened in the period) was 0.8 per cent better. It marked the first lift in total sales since early 2010 and the second consecutive quarter of comparable store growth.

Investors liked what they saw, sending Myer shares up 13¢, or 6.5 per cent, to $2.13 – a five month high.

In light of the latest sales figures Mr Brookes remained reluctant to pronounce that the worst was over for Myer and other stores in general.

”Two [comparable sales growth quarters] in a row, two centuries for

us in a row is good, but it’s still reasonably tough and we are trying not to call it as the start of the rebirth of department stores and we are not calling it a sudden growth spurt.”

The circumspect stance taken by Mr Brookes is at odds with economic data that suggests consumer confidence was steadily lifting, dangling hopes to struggling retailers that consumers locked in savings mode since the global financial crisis might start to spend again.

”I think we are being cautious,” Mr Brookes said, ”the last thing you want to do is buy a whole lot of stock and then end up marking it down for Christmas and you do your profits.

”While we welcomed the October interest rate cut, there are a myriad of factors currently in the mix … so we continue to be cautious about the trading environment.” Mr Brookes said if Christmas did beat expectations Myer could quickly replenish stock in the store and online.

”We feel very comfortable that if it turns out to be a more positive Christmas then we will be able to cater for it because of our supply chain,” he said.

To help it grab a greater slice of the online retail market, Myer has beefed up its website to now have 40,000 lines and was adding to it as quickly as photos of products could be taken and put up online, Mr Brookes said.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

It’s looking like a very merry online Christmas

THE growth in online spending this Christmas is tipped to more than triple as shoppers increasingly turn to websites and smart phone applications to help fill their stockings.
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Figures from the business information analysts IBISWorld reveal that overall Christmas spending will rise 3.9 per cent this year, with the average Australian spending $1600 for a total of $28.5 billion.

IBISWorld forecasts online retailing will drive a sales surge of 34.4 per cent, compared with growth just below 10 per cent between December 2010 and 2011.

Across the key online categories, liquor retailing is expected to top the scale and generate 10 per cent growth from 2011, followed by electronics with a jump of 7.7 per cent.

”This year we’ll spend almost the same amount online as we will on toys, games and video games – all significant categories in traditional Christmas spending,” IBISWorld’s general manager, Karen Dobie, said.

The rush to buy online has turned into a flood of late as consumers use the strong Australian dollar to buy overseas products at deep discounts to domestic prices.

A report from Google Australia this week showed that 2012 is expected to be Australia’s biggest online Christmas so far. Google reported an overall 20 per cent increase in shopping-related searches year on year as Christmas shoppers took to the web to research gift ideas and place orders.

Bricks and mortar retailers have been improving their web offerings to ensure a cut of the money spent over the internet this Christmas finds its way into their tills.

David Jones launched its new online shopping site last week with more than 90,000 product lines available, while its rival department store Myer (40,000 items available online) has also been adding functions and products to its site.

Ms Dobie said clothing and footwear retailers were expected to be ”licking their wounds” this festive season with growth of just 1.3 per cent on last year.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

Documentary hits the right beat

Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich.A family documentary with a hard rock feel, screening at BIFF this weekend, could help raise the profile of a little-known genetic condition called Fragile X syndrome.
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Mission to Lars follows English siblings Kate and Will Spicer, as they try to fulfil their brother Tom’s dreams of meeting his hero, Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich.

Tom suffers from Fragile X syndrome, which causes intellectual disability, behavioral and learning challenges and various physical characteristics.

Fragile X is caused by a single gene disorder, carried by about one in 260 women and one in 800 men. It affects about one in 3600 males and one in 4000-6000 females. There is no cure.

For journalist Kate Spicer, making the film was a way of portraying Tom as a man, not a label.

“If I’m honest, we made the journey into a film because if we hadn’t, we could not have afforded the time to do it justice. We never wanted it to be about shuffling Tom along for what they call a ‘grip and grin’,” she says from her London home.

But, as the film documents, convincing Tom to go on the grand adventure in the first place, then chasing Metallica across Nevada and California in a campervan, was not an easy ride.

“I felt completely torn between caring for Tom and trying to be a solid, stable presence for him and driving the action in the film forward and making things happen,” says Spicer.

The charm of the film lies in that journey – although the destination ends up being pretty great too.

The screening of Mission to Lars has been welcomed by the Fragile X Association of Australia, which supports families here living with condition.

“Every week in Australia one child is born who is fully affected by Fragile X and 20 children are born who are carriers,” says FXAA project officer Joan MacDonald.

“This film is a fabulous awareness vehicle for Fragile X. Awareness is so important because Fragile X is a genetic condition. People might have three children before they even realise that they have it. Sufferers can also be misdiagnosed with Autism, Aspergers or other conditions.”

Spicer says she’s grateful for the support the FXAA has thrown behind the film, saying they have a mutual interest in getting it distributed.

“For them it’s raising awareness of the single biggest cause of inherited learning disability and for us it’s all about taking our brother and Lars’ story to as many people as possible.”

With the theme of Mission to Lars all about the ties that bind us as families, it’s interesting to learn that the tensions making it caused between Spicer and her filmmaker brother Will have not been fully resolved.

On the flipside, it has brought Spicer closer to Tom.

“It moves me almost to tears how much the trip has changed him and how the world sees him and how we relate to each other. It’s brilliant.”

Mission to Lars screens as part of the Brisbane International Film Festival this Saturday 17 November at 2.30pm at Palace Petrie Barracks 5. More information at www.biff上海夜网

If you see Mission to Lars, tweet your review using the hashtag #biffreviews, for your chance to win tickets to the closing night screening of Anna Karenina.

For more information on Fragile X syndrome, visit the FXAA’s website.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

What’s on at BIFF – Friday, November 16

The Timothy Leary Experience.Ever wondered what happens to those prostitutes in Amsterdam’s notorious red light district as they grow older? Meet the Fokkens is the documentary for you. Sixty-nine-year-old identical twins Martine and Louise Fokkens had a hand in unionising the Dutch “dames van de nacht” and established their own brothel. One has arthritis and no longer works; the other still plies her trade in the windows. Now that’s putting sex into sexagenarian. 5:30pm, Tribal Theatre 2.
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Country music fans will love American Songwriter, a profile of veteran Nashville singer/songwriter Danny Durst. This road to redemption story is directed by Michael Altman, son of the late great Robert Altman. 7pm, Palace Petrie Barracks 5.

Do you have a feisty grandmother? Take her along to cheer on the legendary Jeanne Moreau in A Lady in Paris. The French actor steals the show as an Estonian matriarch giving her carer hell in this comedy. Tonight’s Bubbles at BIFF screening is the Australian premiere. 7pm, Palace Petrie Barracks 1.

Compliance prompted walk-outs when it was screened at the Sundance Film Festival. A claustrophobic thriller about how far people will follow an authoritative voice – even when it insists they commit crimes – it’s even scarier when you realise it’s based on a real-life strip search phone prank. 9:45pm, Palace Centro 1.

Tune in and drop out with The Timothy Leary Experience. The late-night program of three films by the king of 1960s US drug culture promise to be so trippy, you won’t even need any illegal substances to have your mind broken. 11pm, Tribal Theatre 2.

For more info and bookings visit the BIFF website.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

Brand champion makes global strides

An entrepreneur with the Midas touch … Clyde Davenport.He’s well known for his smalls, but entrepreneur Clyde Davenport says his latest venture has the potential to be mammoth.
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The Melburnian, who left his advertising job in the late ’80s to follow a dream of creating his own business, still has his surname on undies around Australia, despite selling the company he built from scratch, Davenport, for $15.3 million in 2003.

But these days the 57-year-old is more concerned with technical sportswear company 2XU (“two times you”), which he says has the potential to become a billion-dollar operation.

He started the business in 2005 with former world triathlon champion Jamie Hunt and Aidan Clarke.

“The 2XU thing happened a little bit by accident in a sense,” says Davenport. “I was approached by two young Kiwi guys to start a brand. They had good ideas and I liked what they had to say.”

Aimed primarily at elite athletes, 2XU is best known for its compression tights, which it supplies to athletes at the Australian Institute of Sport. Davenport says the tights help blood circulation, flush lactates, provide stability for muscles and aid in recovery.

In seven years, 2XU, based in Hawthorn, Melbourne, has become a global success, exporting 70 per cent of its products to 42 countries.

“We’re a niche. Australia is not big enough for the niche we’re in,” says Davenport.

“Our biggest market is the US. That’s probably more the size of the opportunity. We do really well in Scandinavia for the size of the population. We’re in a number of countries in Europe and a number of countries in Asia.”

When starting their business, Davenport and his co-founders felt Australia was famous for its sporting achievements and surfing, but not for any world-beating sportswear label.

“Our aim was to be Australia’s first truly global sportswear brand,” he says.

Using triathlon as a “wedge” to enter the elite sportswear market, 2XU has since expanded its product offering to other sports and its efforts are paying off with 25 per cent growth year-on-year.

Almost 12 months ago, 2XU sold close to 30 per cent of the business to the private equity arm of investment bank Lazard. A key reason, Davenport says, was to increase its global networking opportunities.

Back to the beginning

Long before the idea of 2XU had taken shape, Davenport was making a name for himself in the competitive underwear industry.

Leaving his advertising job in the late ’80s, about the same time his first child was due, Davenport agreed with his wife Debbie to take 12 months off and have a crack at starting his own business.

“When I started Davenport, my wife and I had savings of $100,000,” he says. “I remember in the early days going to China. I had a little office in Bouverie Street in Carlton. I’d leave for two weeks in China and put the answering machine on and come back to three messages.”

The entrepreneur saw an opportunity in creating sleepwear that wasn’t “dull and boring”.

That idea didn’t really take off, but with a few fabric offcuts Davenport decided to have some boxer shorts made.

Trend spotter

He knew boxers had become popular in Europe and the US, and predicted the trend would continue in Australia.

“When we first started the boxer-short business, boxer shorts represented something like 1 per cent of total underwear and we had the majority share,” says Davenport.

“Unfortunately, 1 per cent of not much is still not much, but within a few years it grew to about 20 per cent and we still had about 70 or 80 per cent market share, so we were very fortunate.

“We had glow in the dark, we had musical boxer shorts, we had all the character designs, Disney and Warner Bros … things like South Park.”

Davenport says he came within about six weeks of throwing in the towel, but the boxer-short sales saved him.

‘No for now’

Knowing he needed to keep adapting, he decided to vie for the Australian and New Zealand distribution rights for the biggest underwear brand in the world at the time, Calvin Klein. His first attempt was met with a resolute “no”.

“I just took ‘no’ for ‘no for now’. I went the following year and they said no again. I went back the following year and I got the licence.”

Davenport says that victory changed big retailers’ perceptions of his business – from one that sold goofy boxer shorts to a serious operation.

After 15 years, he and his wife decided it was time to sell.

“I didn’t seem to be able to find any general manager or senior management that I could hand over to, and I was just getting sick of it,” he says.

“If you lose that passion about something, in my view it’s time to get out.”

While his name will now forever be associated the brand, Davenport says he would do things differently if he had his time again.

“In hindsight … I would have never called it my surname, because I was never a designer. I thought I was more a stylist or a creative businessman rather than the traditional designer.”

What it really takes

Like other entrepreneurs, Davenport says the only sure thing in business is change.

“Where you start never seems to be where you finish. I started in sleepwear but I would have gone broke if I had stayed in sleepwear.”

With his underwear company, the businessman decided to stick to the market he knew best – Australia.

With 2XU, it’s a global strategy, which comes with the problem of more competitors, with enormous marketing budgets.

“If we’re going to be successful, we can’t compete the way our larger competitors compete because they will smash us,” Davenport says.

‘We can get some of the up-and-coming athletes, we can get some of the bright new stars. We have to be very clever, very tactical.”

2XU’s number one priority is making sure its product is right, followed by value for money, distribution and advertising and promotion.

Global growth

In a major win, US mega chain Dick’s Sporting Goods is trialling 2XU products in 170 of its more than 500 stores.

Davenport says 2XU will turn over about $55 million this year, but that’s just a drop in the ocean.

“If we’re truly going to be one of the global brands in this category, we look to $500 million to a billion dollars because that’s the scale. If you take a brand like Adidas, I think they’re about $14 billion. Nike are $25 to $30 billion,” he says.

“The scale we’re looking at is probably going from where we are to 200 [million] to 500 [million] and up to a billion dollars.”

Clyde Davenport’s five tips for entrepreneurs

1. It starts with an idea. I think you have to think hard whether that idea is scalable.

2. You have to be passionate about it and you have to be persistent because it’s not going to be smooth sailing all the way. So if you get a no, it’s no for now, it’s not no for ever.

3. Keep it simple, don’t try to overcomplicate things.

4. Just have a go, don’t procrastinate.

5. Don’t mistake delegation with abdication. It’s fine to delegate, because you can’t do everything. But once you delegate you can’t abdicate.To read more Entrepreneur Secrets profiles click here.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

Littbarski’s ‘unfinished business’ at Sydney

SYDNEY FC chairman Scott Barlow might not know it but arguably the best candidate for the club’s vacant coaching job is only a phone call away.
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Fairfax understands that Pierre Littbarski, the man who guided the Sky Blues to their championship triumph in season one of the A-League, is willing to make a move back to the harbour city.

Sydney FC’s board will meet on Saturday morning in Brisbane where a list of candidates will be presented by chief executive Tony Pignata, who has been flooded with inquiries from around the world.

Names linked with the vacant position so far include former Melbourne Victory coach Ernie Merrick, ex-Chelsea boss Avram Grant and one-time coach of the Socceroos Frank Farina.

However, Littbarski boasts the rare combination of understanding the demands of coaching Sydney FC, an international pedigree and a desire to work here.

After being informed the Sydney FC position had become open following Ian Crook’s departure, Littbarski said he was “very interested” in returning to Sydney and – most tantalisingly – that he had “unfinished business”.

Getting the 1990 World Cup-winning midfielder to come back would be a significant coup for the club as he remains a well-regarded coach with a reputation for being highly-organised and for having a strong tactical background.

He would need to negotiate a release from his contract at Bundesliga club Wolfsburg, where he is chief scout. However, this is

thought to be a formality should Sydney FC make an offer. The 52-year-old was assistant coach at Wolfsburg between 2010 and last year. When manager Steve McClaren was sacked in February last year, Littbarski briefly took over in a caretaker role before Felix Magath was appointed.

After leaving Sydney, the former FC Koln star coached in Japan, Switzerland and Iran before joining the staff at Wolfsburg. Still regarded as the best coach to have taken the reins at the Sky Blues, Littbarski made a surprise exit after the first season, despite agreeing to new terms on a return for the second campaign.

In season one, he turned a squad brimming with big names – which earned the club the tag ”Bling FC” – into a battle-hardened unit, one that would go all the way and win the title.

Ironically, his assistant at the time was Crook, whom he would replace this time around.

Crucially, Littbarski was able to handle the hype that came with managing Sydney FC and embraced all elements of the role, including the off-field distractions that accompanied being the A-League’s glamour club.

The German coach proved a deft touch at handling the larger-than-life personality of Dwight Yorke and got the best out of the former Manchester United star – so much so that the club was able to sell him for $500,000 to Sunderland after one season.

If Littbarski were to take the job, that experience would hold him in good stead to deal with the interest surrounding Italian star Alessandro Del Piero, who has put Sydney FC on the global map since joining the club at the start of the season.

Perhaps the biggest stumbling block is money. Littbarski earned $700,000 in his first season with the Sky Blues but would have to accept much less this time around.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

Former barrister becomes a defendant

FROM barrister to barista, John Hart managed to put his past as a defender of petty criminals behind him to reach the summit of Engadine’s culinary scene.
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He emerged from an investigation by the Independent Commission Against Corruption in 2010 to buy the favourably reviewed Jack of Harts and Jude cafe in an arcade off the Old Princes Highway last year.

But the allegations that were the subject of the ICAC inquiry – judge shopping, false promises to clients and the extraction of a dubious payment – are nipping at his heels.

The ICAC made adverse findings against Mr Hart and sent the brief of evidence to the Department of Public Prosecutions.

Police have now charged Mr Hart with 11 counts of attempting to pervert the course of justice.

They allege that in 2008 and 2009, Mr Hart engineered to have the cases of three clients moved to courts in which the magistrate was perceived as more lenient.

First, he allegedly moved charges of mid-range drink driving and failing to stop at a red light against Bradley Wheaton from the Downing Centre Local Court to Camden Local Court, providing allegedly false testimonials to the court that his client was working and living at Oakdale.

Then he allegedly moved a mid-range drink driving charge against Jessica Smith from Sutherland Local Court to Wagga Wagga Local Court, where he allegedly falsely told the court she worked locally as a special needs teacher to disabled children.

He allegedly also succeeded in moving proceedings against Benjamin Bleckman, who was charged with mid-range drink diving, from Bankstown Local Court to Sutherland Local Court, and allegedly lied to the court that Mr Bleckman had lost his Saturday job and moved back in with his parents in Engadine.

Police allege that in each of these cases, Mr Hart thought he would achieve a more favourable outcome for his clients in distant courts.

Mr Hart’s dealings with another client, Jason Kelly, were even more fruitful, according to court documents.

Mr Hart allegedly told Mr Kelly that he could make the charges against him disappear if Mr Kelly were to furnish him with a sum of money, which would be forwarded to an officer of the Department of Public Prosecutions.

Although the officer had no knowledge of any such promise having being made, and never contemplated accepting such a payment, Mr Hart nevertheless obtained $12,000 from his client, according to court documents.

Mr Hart has not entered a plea, and his case in the Downing Centre Local Court has been adjourned to December 12.

Mr Hart declined to comment.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

Three points the best cure for Sky Blues’ ills – Corica

SYDNEY FC might be on the tail-end of the most demoralising fortnight in the club’s history but caretaker coach Steve Corica insists they head into Friday’s match against Brisbane Roar feeling that a win is the only acceptable result.
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The Sky Blues were humiliated 7-2 by Central Coast two weeks ago before losing 3-2 to Melbourne Victory in dramatic circumstances at Allianz Stadium, leading coach Ian Crook to hand in his resignation on Sunday, citing overwhelming pressure as the primary reason for giving up the coveted position.

That leaves Sydney in eighth place with two wins and four losses – a most unflattering scenario given what was promised at the start of the year after the signature of marquee star Alessandro Del Piero. Yet Brisbane, the two-time defending champions, also have plenty to prove to their own fans given that they sit at the foot of the table.

”They’ve had three losses in a row and we’ve had two, so we’re fighting – both teams are going to be fighting for victory,” Corica said after training at Macquarie University on Thursday. ”We’re not going there for one point, we’re going there for three points. We need to get a win.”

While the necessity of points for both sides will ensure a feisty contest, the history of last season – especially the infamous clash between Sydney’s Pascal Bosschaart and Brisbane’s Besart Berisha – is sure to create tension this time around.

”I think it’s still in the back of the mind, of course,” Corica said. ”We had that game wrapped up [Sydney lost 2-1 following two late goals], again, like last week, so that’s something we have to look at and not to concede late goals, which we have done in the past.”

Corica insists he’s not interested in the full-time job and that he’s still getting his head around what it takes to coach. ”It’s a big club, it’s a great job for anyone, whether it be an Australian coach or one from overseas,” he said. ”I’m happy with my job as an assistant. I’ve still got a lot to learn and hopefully they can bring the right person for me to learn from. At times things haven’t been pretty in terms of the way we’ve played but that’s the club’s job to find the right man to pull things in the right direction.”

The good news for Sydney is that lively young forward Joel Chianese is back after over a month out with injury but midfielder Jason Culina will be left to make his debut next week.

”He played 90 minutes in the youth team but obviously he needs a little bit of time after that. That’s the first 90 minutes he’s played for two years,” Corica said. ”His body needs a rest and maybe next week is the right time for him.”

After suffering a pre-season blighted by setbacks, Chianese managed to get himself fit for the first game of the season in Wellington, only to tear his quadriceps, keeping him out until now.

”I had a few little injury concerns. I probably rushed back a bit too quick and re-injured both quads,” he said. ”Everything is feeling OK now but there was definitely a frustrating period. I’m excited to be back out on the park, whether I get 10 minutes or 30 minutes off the bench. Everything is going well now.”

While Chianese enjoyed an incredible surge to fame late last year, scoring six goals in nine matches, he’s aware the good form of Yairo Yau might make it hard for him to be Del Piero’s partner in attack.

”Obviously once you haven’t played in a while you have to fight to win your spot back,” he said. ”I guess I did that last season – I wasn’t in the squad for almost the whole year until the last few rounds, did my best and went on from there. We’ve got a top forward line and there’s a lot of pressure but it makes you perform at training and in games.”

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

Hull launch chase for Mariners’ star goalkeeper

CENTRAL COAST Mariners goalkeeper Mat Ryan could be on his way to Britain after Hull City submitted a bid to sign the youngster.
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The English Championship team has made the first approach for the highly-rated goalkeeper and the Mariners confirmed there are several other European clubs chasing his signature too.

“It is disappointing that these private commercial discussions are in the public arena, but I can confirm Hull City are one of a number of clubs to have expressed an interest in signing Mathew Ryan in January,” chairman Peter Turnbull said.

Ryan, 20, returned from Socceroos duty on Friday night after being an unused substitute in the friendly win over South Korea, and has come home to the first of, what is likely to be, a host of offers. The bid from Hull includes an attractive transfer fee and a reported three-year contract for the goalkeeper, which would begin in January 2013.

Ryan is in the last year of his contract with the Mariners and could leave the club on a free transfer at the end of the season.

The January transfer window will be the last chance for Central Coast to cash in on their prized goalkeeper, unless the club can convince him to stay at Gosford.

“Hull have tabled an offer for Mat as a result of his good form in the Hyundai A-League, selection for the Qantas Socceroos as well as his undoubted potential,” Turnbull said.

After winning goalkeeper of the year last season, Ryan made his first splash in Europe during the A-League off-season when he trialled with Tottenham Hotspur for a week and West Bromwich Albion for two days. He had another scheduled trial with Wigan Athletic but was forced to withdraw due to a shoulder injury.

Hull are fourth on the Championship table and are looking to bolster their stocks between the posts in the hunt for promotion to the Premier League.

Swiss player Eldin Jakupovic is the only goalkeeper on a permanent deal at the club but appears to have fallen out of favour with manager Steve Bruce and is yet to make his league debut since joining in July. Ben Amos has been brought in on loan from Manchester United but Bruce is eyeing Ryan as the long-term custodian at KC Stadium.

The Tigers have only just started negotiations with the Mariners and can expect competition from several clubs also vying for the player some see as Mark Schwarzer’s long-term replacement.

“Negotiations with Hull are still at an early stage,” Turnbull, said.

”However, we will continue to talk with them and several other clubs over the coming weeks in order to arrive at the best possible outcome for Central Coast Mariners FC and Mathew.”

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.