‘Words fail us’: Hiking cannabis smokers rescued from England’s highest mountain

Mountain rescue, along with air support and ambulances, were deployed to help bring home a group of hikers who became stuck on Scafell Pike in the Lake District, in England’s north, on Saturday.

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Cumbria Police confirmed the rescue but were left unimpressed at the incident.

“Persons phoning Cumbria Police because they are stuck on a mountain after taking cannabis. Now having to deploy M’tain Rescue, Air support and Ambulance to rescue them. Words fail us,” a Facebook post read.

Persons stuck on mountain, after taking cannabis. Having to deploy M’tain Rescue, Air support and Ambulance to rescue them…..

— Cumbria Police (@Cumbriapolice) September 23, 2017Persons rescued after becoming incapable of walking due to cannabis use. MRT volunteers putting themselves at risk to prevent harm.

— Cumbria Police (@Cumbriapolice) September 23, 2017

“Persons rescued by MRT, after becoming incapable of walking off mountain due to cannabis use. MRT volunteers putting themselves at risk to prevent harm,” another post read.

Scafell Pike has a peak of 978 metres and the group were safely rescued by Wasdale Mountain Rescue Team at 9:45pm local time.

North Cumbria Superintendent Justin Bibby said taking drugs before taking a difficult hike was asking for trouble.

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“The mountain rescue team had a particularly busy day yesterday dealing with this incident,’ Superintendednt Bibby told UK paper The Telegraph.

“They are volunteers, they do an amazing job and are always there to assist those who get into difficulty.

“Taking alcohol or any other substance that could impair your judgment significantly increases your risk of getting into trouble. It has no place on a mountain.”

Same-sex marriage support drops: poll

Support for same-sex marriage has fallen ahead of a national survey on the issue, according to Newspoll.

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The proportion of voters who support same-sex marriage now stands at 57 per cent, compared to 63 per cent in August and 62 per cent in September last year.

The no vote has lifted to 34 per cent, from 30 per cent in August and 32 per cent a year ago.

About nine per cent are uncommitted.

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Newspoll, published in The Australian on Monday, collated its results from a survey of 1695 voters polled across the nation over four days from Thursday.

Support for same-sex marriage was highest amongst Labor and Greens voters, at 70 per cent and 85 per cent respectively.

But conservative voters are trailing, with coalition backers polling 47 per cent, alongside 35 per cent for One Nation supporters.

0:00 Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Lucy Turnbull post their same sex marriage survey Share Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Lucy Turnbull post their same sex marriage survey

Newspoll also found the federal coalition government is behind the Labor opposition in two-party preferred terms, at 46 per cent to 54 per cent.

Malcolm Turnbull has again lost ground to Bill Shorten as preferred prime minister and now sits on a 42 per cent approval rating against 31 per cent for the opposition leader, a four-point fall since the last poll.

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Merkel wins fourth term in Germany but far right leaders congratulate rise of AfD

It comes after Chancellor Angela Merkel clinched a fourth term in Germany’s election on Sunday, but her victory was clouded by the hard-right AfD party winning its first seats in parliament.

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“Bravo to our AfD allies for this historic score,” tweeted Le Pen, defeated by Emmanuel Macron in the French presidential election run-off four months ago.

“Angie! Angie! Angie!” #BTW17 @SBSNews pic南京夜生活,/zB0KEp9mBX

— Brett Mason (@BrettMasonNews) September 24, 2017

Le Pen hailed the AfD after its breakthrough score of 13 percent, enough for close on 90 seats, saying the party was a “new symbol of (the) reawakening of European peoples.”

Wilders, head of the Dutch Party for Freedom (PVV), also tweeted his congratulations.

“The PVV is number two in the Netherlands, the FN is number two in France, the (far right) FPOe is second in Austria, AfD is third in Germany. The message is clear. We are not Islamic nations,” wrote Wilders, whose party captured 20 seats in a March election.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel leaves the stage at the headquarters of the Christian Democratic Union CDU in Berlin, Germany.AAP

One AfD (Alternative for Germany) Euro MP already sits alongside five FN lawmakers and four PVV colleagues in the European Parliament.

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Sunday he called German Chancellor Angela Merkel to congratulate her on winning a fourth term in office and said France and Germany would forge ahead with their cooperation.

“I called Angela Merkel to congratulate her. We continue with determination our vital cooperation for Europe and for our countries,” Macron tweeted.

Fourth term

Chancellor Angela Merkel clinched a fourth term in Germany’s election Sunday, but her victory was clouded by the entry into parliament of the hard-right AfD in the best showing for a nationalist force since World War II.

Ms Merkel, who after 12 years in power held a double-digit lead for most of the campaign, scored about 33 per cent of the vote with her conservative Christian Union (CDU/CSU) bloc, according to preliminary results.

It was their worst score since 1949.

Its nearest rivals, the Social Democrats, and their candidate, Martin Schulz, came in a distant second with a post-war record low of 21 per cent.

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But in a bombshell for the German establishment – the anti-Islam, anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD) – captured about 13 per cent, catapulting it to become the country’s third biggest political force.

Commentators called the AfD’s strong performance a “watershed moment” in the history of the German republic.

The top-selling Bild daily spoke of a “political earthquake”.

AfD supporters gathered at a Berlin club, cheering as public television reported the outcome, many joining in a chorus of the German national anthem.

First German election exit poll:

CDU / CSU – 32.5%

SPD – 20%

AfD – 13.5%

FDP – 10.5%

Greens – 9.5%

Left – 9%@SBSNews pic南京夜生活,/MRGefxbuhB

— Brett Mason (@BrettMasonNews) September 24, 2017

Hundreds of protesters rallied outside shouting “Nazis out!” while smaller AfD demonstrations were held in other cities across the country.

The four-year-old nationalist party with links to the far-right French National Front and Britain’s UKIP has been shunned by Germany’s mainstream but was able to build on particularly strong support in the ex-communist east.

It is now headed for the opposition benches of the Bundestag lower house, dramatically boosting its visibility and state financing.

Alarmed by the prospect of what Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel branded “real Nazis” entering parliament, the candidates had used their final days of campaigning to implore voters to reject the populists.

Turnout was markedly higher than four years ago, up to around 76 percent from 71.5 percent.

Angela #Merkel has reappeared at the #CDU election party in #berlin to thank campaigners and supporters @SBSNews #BTW17 pic南京夜生活,/J6IuTcgfB5

— Brett Mason (@BrettMasonNews) September 24, 2017I just asked #Merkel’s Chief of Staff if she accepts her handling of the 2015 humanitarian crisis contributed to tonight’s result #BTW17 1/2

— Brett Mason (@BrettMasonNews) September 24, 2017“If we have suffered some losses, I believe it was justified. This is the distinction between a populist party and a responsible party” 2/2

— Brett Mason (@BrettMasonNews) September 24, 2017″We did what was in the interests of the country, our neighbours and in the interest of world-wide stability.”

— Brett Mason (@BrettMasonNews) September 24, 2017’Big new challenge’

Ms Merkel admitted she had fallen far short of the 40 per cent goal her party set.

“There’s a big new challenge for us, and that is the entry of the AfD in the Bundestag,” Ms Merkel said, adding: “We want to win back AfD voters.”

Germans elected a splintered parliament, reflecting a nation torn between a relatively high degree of satisfaction with Ms Merkel and a desire for change after more than a decade of her leadership.

Another three parties cleared the five per cent hurdle to be represented in parliament – the liberal Free Democrats at about 10 per cent and the anti-capitalist Left and ecologist Greens, both at about nine per cent.

As Ms Merkel failed to secure a ruling majority on her own and with the dejected SPD ruling out another right-left “grand coalition” with her, the process of forming a viable government was shaping up to be a thorny, months-long process.

Ms Merkel, 63, often called the most powerful woman on the global stage, ran on her record as a steady pair of hands in a turbulent world, warning voters not to indulge in “experiments”.

Pundits said Ms Merkel’s reassuring message of stability and prosperity resonated in greying Germany, where more than half of the 61 million voters are aged 52 or older.

Her popularity had largely recovered from the influx since 2015 of more than one million mostly Muslim migrants and refugees, half of them from war-torn Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Grand coalition” took #Merkel 80 days to negotiate. CDU officials tell @SBSNews these negotiations “could take much longer” #BTW17 @SBSNews

— Brett Mason (@BrettMasonNews) September 24, 2017Breaking taboos 

But the AfD was able to capitalise on anger over the asylum issue during what was criticised as a largely lacklustre campaign bereft of real clashes among the main contenders.

The party has made breaking taboos its trademark. 

Top AfD candidate Alexander Gauland has called for Germans to shed their guilt over two world wars and the Holocaust and to take pride in their veterans.

He has also suggested that Germany’s integration commissioner Aydan Ozoguz, who has Turkish roots, should be “disposed of in Anatolia”.

Law student Sabine Maier dismissed the AfD as “too extreme” as she voted in Berlin, but added that “they aren’t all fascists”.

Merkel bound for ‘Jamaica’?

The SPD said its catastrophic result would lead it to seek a stint in opposition to rekindle its fighting spirit.

“This is a difficult and bitter day for German social democracy,” a grim-faced Mr Schulz, a former European Parliament chief, told reporters – adding he hoped to remain party leader.  

This would leave Ms Merkel in need of new coalition partners.

If the SPD sticks to its refusal to play ball, mathematically the most likely scenario would be a link-up with the pro-business Free Democrats, who staged a comeback after crashing out of parliament four years ago, and the left-leaning Greens.

That so-called “Jamaica” coalition, based on the party colours and the Caribbean nation’s flag, would be a risky proposition, given the differences between the parties on issues ranging from climate policy to migration issues.

Mr Schulz, 61, struggled to gain traction with his calls for a more socially just Germany at a time when the economy is humming and employment is at a record low.

Meanwhile Ms Merkel faced accusations from within her conservative camp she had left its “right flank exposed” to the AfD’s challenge with her centrist stance on issues such as border policy.

“This is competition for the Union and the conservative spectrum in general,” political scientist Lothar Probst of the University of Bremen said of the AfD.

“A very difficult period is beginning for the chancellor.”

Federer downs Kyrgios for Laver Cup win

Nick Kyrgios had one match point but it was Roger Federer who ultimately prevailed 4-6 7-6 (8-6) 11-9 to clinch the inaugural Laver Cup for Europe.

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In an intense match in Prague, Kyrgios often had Federer on the ropes but just couldn’t get over the line as the Swiss star secured the victory, leaving the 22-year-old Canberran in tears.

If Kyrgios had been able to win, it would have tied the scores between the world and European teams and forced a final doubles match.

“It was tough”, Kyrgios said of the loss.

“When I’m playing for myself, sometimes I don’t put the greatest effort in. When I play with these guys I’m playing for something as a team.

“I’m playing for the whole team. It’s the same in Davis Cup. I’m playing for the country, playing for the guys on the bench.

“I know that every single one of these guys up here has put effort into this week, whether that’s practice or supporting other guys.

“We all bought in as a team. That’s why it hurt. I gave everything I had. I came up short, and I knew that we were going to be favourites going to the doubles. That was in the back of my mind.”

After the pre-match warm-up, the Australian – who usually crouches at the net before the first game – took a knee.

It sparked speculation he was showing solidarity with more than 100 American NFL players, who themselves knelt during the playing of their national anthem before matches on Sunday.

They were protesting against comments by US President Donald Trump, who on Saturday said that those who failed to stand for the anthem should be fired by NFL teams.

Kyrgios though rebuffed the claims in the post-match press conference.

“F**k no. Serious?” The Australian responded to the question from journalists.

“I’m doing that before most matches just to remember, you know, the two most important people that have passed away.”

Kyrgios got the only break of serve in the first set but soon found himself a break down at the beginning of the second.

But after a medical time out, the Australian broke back and took it to a tiebreak.

He saved three set points in the breaker but 19-time grand slam champion Federer eventually levelled things up.

The match then went to a champions tiebreak which Kyrgios led 6-2 at one point.

But Federer battled back and Team Europe got the point needed for victory when Kyrgios sent a forehand into the net.

“It has been such an amazing and fun week and I’m so pleased the event has worked as it has,” Federer said post-match.

The world team had clawed their way back into the tournament on Sunday with a win in the doubles match, while John Isner beat Rafael Nadal 7-5 7-6 (7-1).

Kushner used private email account to message White House officials: report

Politico said the emails included correspondence about media coverage, event planning and other subjects.

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Mr Kushner’s lawyer, Abbe Lowell, said his client complied with government record-keeping rules by forwarding all the emails to his official account.

During Mr Trump’s 2016 election campaign, the Republican derided Democratic rival Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email server for official correspondence when she was secretary of state under president Barack Obama.

Some of those messages were later determined to contain classified information.

Mr Trump often led crowds in chants of “Lock her up!” during the campaign and vowed in October she would “be in jail” over the matter if he became president.

He has since said he would not pursue prosecution.

Politico said other senior Trump aides had also used private email accounts – including former chief of staff Reince Priebus, former chief strategist Steve Bannon and economic adviser Gary Cohn.

“Mr Kushner uses his White House email address to conduct White House business,” Mr Lowell said in a statement provided to Politico, as well as other media organisations including Reuters.

“Fewer than a hundred emails from January through August were either sent to or returned by Mr. Kushner to colleagues in the White House from his personal email account.

“These usually forwarded news articles or political commentary and most often occurred when someone initiated the exchange by sending an email to his personal, rather than his White House, address,” the statement added.

Many White House officials use personal phones to communicate by text message with reporters and others.

First 1000 days crucial to child development: report

Disadvantage can be passed down through the generations at a cellular level and the importance of the first 1000 days of life for children’s health and wellbeing can not be overstated, authors of a new report say.

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A research review by experts at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, funded by the Bupa Health Foundation, shows how a child’s development is significantly affected by the biological and physical environments they occupy during this vital period.

There is a growing body of evidence which shows that experiences during this period can have long-term consequences for a person’s health and wellbeing.

Dr Tim Moore, a senior research fellow at MCRI, says the newer evidence they looked at is both “astonishing and scary”.

“The first thousand days is a period of maximum developmental plasticity, that means it’s the period during which as an organism we are most susceptible to change by environmental experiences, and those changes can have lifelong consequences,” Dr Moore told AAP.

It is hoped the report’s release on Monday will raise greater awareness about the importance of this period.

Researchers examined all available research on development during the first 1000 days of life from conception to the end of age two.

Some of the most “astonishing” evidence relates to role the human microbiome has on health during this time, says Dr Moore.

The microbiome refers to the billions of good and bad bacteria that lives on and in the human body, particularly in the gut.

Dr Moore says any change in the abundance, or composition or diversity of these micro-organisms can have significant health consequences.

“So if we overuse antibiotics with very young kids then we can reduce the diversity of bacteria in their gut, or if we do too may caesarean-section births that will alter the way in which they gain the compliment of bacteria,” Dr Moore said.

Another key finding of the report is the impact of trauma – such as domestic violence – and chronic stress caused by poverty and other prolonged negative experiences have on the developing foetus.

Biologically, high levels of maternal stress can result in an increase in the mother’s cortisol production which can enter the baby’s brain via the placenta and the umbilical veins, one paper showed.

Research has also shown chronic stress impacts a persona’s genetics by shortening telomeres – the protective caps at the end of chromosomes.

“Telomere shortness and stress have independently been associated with several common conditions, such as cardiovascular disease and diabtes,” the authors wrote.

Dr Moore says children need to feel calm, safe and protected.

“When this attachment process is interrupted, the child’s brain places an emphasis on developing neuronal pathways that are associated with survival, before developing those that are essential to future learning and growth.”

The paper also highlights that parents cannot raise healthy, happy children on their own, says fellow MCRI researcher Professor Frank Oberklaid.

“Along with loving relationships, children need safe communities, secure housing, access to green spaces, environments free from toxins, and access to affordable, nutritious foods,” Prof Oberklaid said.

Merkel: power player who changed Germany

FOUR THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT ANGELA MERKEL:

* She is well know for her abilIty to survive on little sleep and stay alert during late-night negotiations

* While working at the Academy of Sciences in East Berlin she held the title of Secretary for Agitation and Propaganda, though she has said her task mainly involved organising book readings and theatre visits

* She lives in an ordinary apartment in the centre of Berlin and grows her own veggies

* She is a massive fan of the national soccer team

A PRIVATE PERSON WHO SHUNS SELF-PROMOTION

Germany’s long-serving chancellor, Angela Merkel, who is running for a fourth term in office on September 24, is known as an intensely private person who shuns most forms of self-promotion.

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Born in 1954 to Protestant pastor Horst Kasner and English teacher Herlind Kasner, Merkel moved from Hamburg to the east German town of Quitzow – then part of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) – when she was just a few years old. The oldest of three children, she spent her childhood in the seminary where her father worked.

From her earliest years in school, “Kasi” – a nickname derived from her last name by peers – was a brilliant student with a passion for the Russian language and Soviet culture.

After finishing her doctorate in Berlin, Merkel worked as a quantum chemist at the East German Academy of Sciences. Former colleagues described her as shy, diligent and always seeking the most reliable data.

Merkel was 35 when the wall came down. In an incident considered typical for the plodding politician, Merkel kept a weekly sauna date with a friend on November 9, 1989, before joining the throngs of people streaming across the border to West Berlin.

Suddenly freed of the scrutiny of the Communist government and the Stasi secret police, Merkel joined the Berlin office of a new East German party called the Democratic Awakening, whose sister party in the West was the Christian Democratic Union (CDU).

She quickly sought a meeting with CDU leader Helmut Kohl, who became her mentor. Within months, Merkel became known as “Kohl’s girl,” and was appointed as part of his first cabinet in a reunified Germany, as minister for women and youth.

In the early days of her career, Merkel was often presented by Kohl and others as a sort of novelty: an east German political up-and-comer and a woman in the boys’ club that was the CDU.

“Even when she was awkward and shy … you could feel her power from the beginning,” said Herlinde Koelbl, a photographer who met Merkel once a year for decades to take her portrait for a series depicting how high office changed a person’s physical appearance.

But Merkel didn’t hesitate to abandon her former mentor in 1999 amid a CDU financing scandal. Indeed, she moved to replace him as party leader.

In 2002, Merkel ceded the role as the CDU’s election candidate to rival Edmund Stoiber, who headed its Bavarian sister party. The move worked out in her favour: Stoiber lost the vote to the SPD’s Gerhard Schroeder, whose government lost power three years later.

Two months after early elections in 2005, Merkel was sworn in as Germany’s first female chancellor. The next 12 years were to dramatically alter Germany’s political landscape and the country’s role on the global stage.

Observers of Merkel have posited that her years in power were shaped by three major developments.

The first and perhaps most daunting challenge of Merkel’s tenure was the eurozone crisis, which jeopardised not only the integrity of the euro currency, but also threatened to undermine the very premise of the European Union.

Merkel quickly became the face of the European banker preaching austerity to Mediterranean nations.

Merkel endured sustained criticism for her stance on Greece, especially for the initial phase, in which she was slow to commit German taxpayers’ money to a bailout fund.

In 2011, two years into her second term, Merkel responded to the Fukushima nuclear disaster by reversing her party’s position on nuclear power.

She unveiled a plan to phase it out over the next decade, in a decision that continues to be felt by conventional power producers such as RWE and Eon.

In September 2015, half way through her third term, Merkel threw open Germany’s doors to refugees.

The audacious act was both lauded and criticised, and resulted in what was arguably the biggest-ever threat to Merkel’s power: the rise of the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD), Germany’s first successful post-war right-wing movement.

To a certain extent, the refugee decision debunked the perception of Merkel as a talented tactician without a larger vision. Some critics, however, maintain that Merkel prioritises short-term tactical gains over long-term outcomes.

In the words of her challenger, Martin Schulz of the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD), Merkel is “extremely proficient, precise, coldly calculating and intelligent.”

NKorea included in New Trump travel ban

President Donald Trump has slapped new travel restrictions on citizens from North Korea, Venezuela and Chad, expanding to eight the list of countries covered by his original travel bans that have been derided by critics and challenged in court.

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Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen and Somalia were left on the list of affected countries in a new proclamation issued by the president. Restrictions on citizens from Sudan were lifted.

The measures help fulfill a campaign promise Trump made to tighten US immigration procedures and align with his “America First” foreign policy vision. Unlike the president’s original bans, which had time limits, this one is open-ended.

“Making America Safe is my number one priority. We will not admit those into our country we cannot safely vet,” the president said in a tweet shortly after the proclamation was released.

Iraqi citizens will not be subject to travel prohibitions but will face enhanced scrutiny or vetting.

The current ban, enacted in March, was set to expire on Sunday evening. The new restrictions are slated to take effect on October 18 and resulted from a review after Trump’s original travel bans sparked international outrage and legal challenges.

The addition of North Korea and Venezuela broadens the restrictions from the original, mostly Muslim-majority list.

An administration official, briefing reporters on a conference call, acknowledged that the number of North Koreans now travelling to the United States was very low.

Rights group Amnesty International USA condemned the measures.

“Just because the original ban was especially outrageous does not mean we should stand for yet another version of government-sanctioned discrimination,” it said in a statement.

“It is senseless and cruel to ban whole nationalities of people who are often fleeing the very same violence that the US government wishes to keep out. This must not be normalised.”

The American Civil Liberties Union said in a statement the addition of North Korea and Venezuela “doesn’t obfuscate the real fact that the administration’s order is still a Muslim ban.”

Fish have personalities, study finds

They may not show it, but fish have complex personalities, research suggests.

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The discovery was made by scientists studying individual traits in tiny fish called Trinidadian guppies.

When they looked how the fish behaved in different situations, they found complex variations.

The modes of behaviour could not simply be explained as risk-taking or risk-averse.

Lead researcher Dr Tom Houslay said: “The idea of a simple spectrum is often put forward to explain the behaviour of individuals in species such as the Trinidadian guppy.

“But our research shows that the reality is much more complex,” said Dr Houslay, from the Centre for Ecology and Conservation (CEC) at the University of Exeter’s Penryn Campus in Cornwall.

“For example, when placed into an unfamiliar environment, we found guppies have various strategies for coping with this stressful situation.

“Many attempt to hide, others try to escape, some explore cautiously, and so on.

“The differences between them were consistent over time and in different situations.

“So, while the behaviour of all the guppies changed depending on the situation – for example, all becoming more cautious in more stressful situations – the relative differences between individuals remained intact.”

The study is published in the journal Functional Ecology.

Professor Alastair Wilson, another member of the CEC team, said: “We are interested in why these various personalities exist, and the next phase of our research will look at the genetics underlying personality and associated traits.

“We want to know how personality relates to other facets of life, and to what extent this is driven by genetic, rather than environmental, influences.

“The goal is really gaining insight into evolutionary processes, how different behavioural strategies might persist as species evolve.”

AFL ticket system suits Crows: Walker

Adelaide captain Taylor Walker says the AFL grand final ticketing will weaken Richmond’s home crowd advantage at the MCG on Saturday.

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Walker says the ticketing system will “break up” the Tiger army of fans.

“I reckon you’ll get 40,000 corporate and then it will be split … I’m confident that we will get close to 30,000 (Adelaide fans) if not more,” Walker told AAP on Monday.

The AFL offers up to 35,000 tickets to members of competing clubs. But the Crows are already expecting around 16,000 tickets for members who registered in a ballot – some 25,000 members entered for that.

Up to 50,000 grand final tickets are available to MCC and AFL members, with between 5,000 to 30,000 listed under AFL entitlements/contractual obligation.

“It (system) will break it up,” Walker said of the spread in the stands for Richmond’s passionate supporter base.

“And our fans are so loyal and passionate, I’m sure that they will jump on buses and cars – and probably not the planes because they’re too expensive at the moment.

“We will get great support.”

One-way flights from Adelaide to Melbourne have near doubled in price to about $450.

Both Adelaide and Richmond enter the season finale after consecutive wins, with Walker forecasting a fierce grand final.

“We’re confident,” he said.

“But Richmond are in great form, you can’t take anything away from them.

“We are going to have to start well, be really tough through the midfield and put a lot of pressure on them.

“It’s going to be pressure versus pressure. Who can do it for the longest.”