Tigers’ Rioli lives up to famous AFL name

Daniel Rioli looms as an AFL grand-final X-factor for Richmond after a career-best performance in their win over Greater Western Sydney.

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The electrifying youngster kicked four goals as the Tigers stormed to a 36-point victory in Saturday’s preliminary final at the MCG.

Aged just 20 and playing in his first finals campaign, Rioli could have been forgiven for being overawed by the heaving 94,000-strong crowd.

But the great-nephew of late Richmond great Maurice and nephew of Hawthorn star Cyril lived up to the family name, leading the Tigers’ scoring and also racking up eight inside-50s and six tackles.

With the Giants taking the game up to the Tigers, Rioli booted brilliant goals either side of halftime to put his side back in front and kick-start a game-changing third-quarter resurgence.

Both Maurice (1982) and Cyril Rioli (2015) earned Norm Smith medals for their show-stopping grand-final performances.

And the youngest Rioli looks every bit as capable of emulating their feats when Richmond face minor premiers Adelaide in the grand final.

“He played a terrific game tonight,” Tigers defender Dylan Grimes said.

“One thing that gets rated really highly internally is the pressure he puts on the opposition defenders.

“I really feel like he’s been building something over the last few weeks and it was only a matter of time before he got that reward, and it was incredible to see him get that tonight.”

Richmond’s mosquito fleet of Rioli, Dan Butler and Jason Castagna has played a huge role in getting the Tigers to their first grand final since 1982.

Skipper Trent Cotchin said the trio’s ability to complement spearhead Jack Riewoldt was a vital part of their game plan.

“That’s the thing I love most about our forward group,” Cotchin said.

“Jack didn’t have his best night from a goalkicking point of view but the contest he creates gives Daniel and the other smalls opportunities.

“It’s critical to the way we play.”

Samuel Johnson to continue Connie’s legacy

Cancer campaigner Connie Johnson has been remembered in a memorial as an “amazing” woman who fought tirelessly to help others in the face of her own certain death.

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And award-winning actor Samuel Johnson has vowed to “charge on the hill” and do his sister proud by ramping up their mission to end cancer for good.

At a moving service in Melbourne on Saturday, supporters filled St Paul’s Cathedral to celebrate the life of the 40-year-old mother who died at a Canberra hospice on September 8.

Connie’s death came a day after she received a Medal of the Order of Australia for her fundraising work through her charity Love Your Sister.

Her husband Michael Johnson spoke first at the service, giving insight into his wife’s protracted battle with cancer and her relentless energy in spite of it.

“Con hated cancer,” he said.

“For a third of her life she had cancer.

“I saw this woman who was so weighed down by cancer, but still had the ability to lift so many of us.

“By actively dying, Con was able to teach so many of us about actively living.”

The cathedral was packed with nearly 1000 people for the memorial, while more watched the live-streamed event on the big screen at nearby Federation Square.

“Thank you for wrapping your arms around this amazing woman,” Mr Johnson said.

Samuel Johnson said cancer “treats our millions with scorn” but his sister taught him it “absolutely can be cured”.

He said he would now take his first break in six years before coming back “so much stronger it’s not funny”.

“After I go to the river, have a cry and come back stronger, I’m going to accelerate like you haven’t seen,” he told reporters after the memorial.

“It’s up to me now to go to the corporate world.

“And once we’ve got everyone together, then we charge on the hill.

“If I haven’t done Connie proud in life, I’ll make sure most certainly that I’ll do her proud in death.”

The Gold Logie winner, who organised the memorial, quit acting last year and pledged not to return until Love Your Sister had raised $10 million.

Connie’s friend Myf Warhurst hosted the event, while TV personality Carrie Bickmore, whose husband died of brain cancer in 2010, also made an emotional speech

She described Connie as “a bloody good human being”.

“The world is a smaller place without her big heart in it,” The Project host said.

Connie founded Love Your Sister in 2012 after being diagnosed with breast cancer, and the charity has since raised $7 million.

Same-sex marriage survey: ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ campaigns ramp up across Australia

Equality Campaign co-leader Alex Greenwich has urged same-sex marriage supporters not to get distracted by those who “throw red herrings”.

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Both sides of the marriage debate ramped up their campaigning on Saturday with rallies, door-knockings and text message among the mediums used.

Thousands rallied through Brisbane for the annual pride festival while “yes” campaigners doorknocked tens of thousands of homes across the nation.

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Meanwhile, a smattering of same-sex marriage opponents gathered in Sydney’s gay heartland while preparations were made for the Coalition for Marriage’s Victorian launch.

Melbourne campaigner Cella White – accused of falsely claiming her son was told he could wear a dress to Frankston High School – is expected to speak at the CFM event on Saturday night about the abuse she has received since appearing in the group’s anti-gay marriage ad.

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Mr Greenwich, who is a NSW MP, urged supporters of the Yes campaign to focus on the task at hand.

“It is so important for the marriage equality campaign that we do not get distracted by the people who are always trying to throw red herrings,” he told AAP.

He said he was heartened by the feedback from same-sex marriage supporters involved in the door-knocking campaign and said there was strong support “across all demographics, all ages”.

The campaign also extended to SMS with a message urging people to “vote YES for a fairer Australia” and help make history.

0:00 PM Malcolm Turnbull and wife Lucy support same-sex marriage Share PM Malcolm Turnbull and wife Lucy support same-sex marriage

On the other side of the debate, about 20 people turned out for a rally dubbed Straight Lives Matter rally in Sydney’s LGBTIQ heartland, Darlinghurst.

Organised by a group of self-described patriots, one of the speakers urged people to push back against the “sick and vile homosexual agenda” in Australian schools and universities.

“No amount of surgical mutilation by some dodgy surgeon in the Philippines can make you a woman,” Toby Cooke said.

Australian Christian Lobby chief Lyle Shelton, and Keith Mills, the leader of Ireland’s unsuccessful No campaign, are expected to address the Coalition for Marriage in Melbourne.

CFM has this week been holding meetings across Australia to convince voters to reject a change to the legal definition of marriage.

The result of the voluntary postal survey on same-sex marriage is due on November 15.

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Crows to wear home strip in AFL decider

Adelaide will wear their home guernsey in the AFL grand final, with Richmond forced to don their clash strip.

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The two sides with the longest active AFL grand-final droughts will compete for the flag after Richmond downed Greater Western Sydney by 36 points in Saturday’s preliminary final.

And the Crows have had an early win, with the AFL executive ruling that the Crows will wear their tri-colour home guernsey.

AFL football boss Andrew Dillon said the Crows would be given priority because they had won the minor premiership.

Tigers legend Kevin Bartlett had been outspoken in his belief that it would be a travesty if his old club wore their predominantly yellow clash strip if they made it through to their first grand final since 1982.

But Adelaide chief executive Andrew Fagan hit back, saying there was no way the Crows would wear their clash strip after storming into the premiership decider with a 61-point belting of Geelong

“There’s no way that that would happen,” he said of the prospect of wearing their predominantly white jersey.

“The last time I looked, this decision is not made by Kevin Bartlett, so I’ll leave that to the AFL.

“In 2010 and 2013, they made decisions that the highest-ranked team wore the home jumper when there was a clash.

“I’d expect they should make the same decision.”

St Kilda (2010) and Fremantle (2013) wore clash jumpers in their grand-final appearances and both lost.

AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan floated a coin toss as a potential means of sorting out any guernsey issues.

Again, Fagan took a dim view.

“I would think that we’ve moved past that as an industry,” he said.

“The AFL should just make the call and make the right one at that.”

Bali volcano on highest alert level as thousands flee

Indonesian officials raised the highest possible alert for a volcano on the resort island of Bali late Friday, after tremors prompted thousands to flee over fears it could erupt for the first time in more than 50 years.

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Thousands of villagers on the Indonesian resort island of Bali are sheltering in sports centres, village halls and with relatives.

Mount Agung, about 75 kilometres (47 miles) from the tourist hub of Kuta, has been rumbling since August and officials have recommended that people stay at least nine kilometres away from the crater.

Hundreds of small tremors have rattled the mountain this week, causing almost 10,000 people to leave their homes as of Friday over fears of a volcanic eruption.

“Tremors happen very often, so we are afraid and I have taken all my family members to the refugee shelter,” villager I Wayan Suwarjana told AFP.

Authorities raised the volcano’s alert status to the highest level on Friday following a “tremendous increase” in seismic activity. It last erupted in 1963, killing 1100 people.

Villager Made Suda said he left overnight with 25 family members to stay in the Klungkung sports centre.

“I feel grief and fear, feel sad about leaving the village and leaving four cows because it’s empty. Everyone has evacuated,” he said on Saturday.

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The National Disaster Mitigation Agency said no one should be within nine kilometres of the crater and within 12 kilometres to the north, northeast, southeast and south-southwest where lava flows or rapidly moving white-hot ash clouds from an eruption could reach.

National disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho advised people to stay calm and not to believe rumours.

The airport on Bali’s capital Denpasar, a top holiday destination that attracts millions of foreign tourists every year, has not been affected but airport management are watching the situation closely.

The Australian government put out a travel advisory Friday instructing travellers to exercise a high degree of caution in Indonesia and follow the instructions of authorities.   

More than 1,000 people died when Mount Agung last erupted in 1963.

Cotchin stars as Tigers storm to AFL GF

Trent Cotchin dispelled any lingering doubts about his ability to perform in AFL finals when he led Richmond to a stunning preliminary final win on Saturday.

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The Tigers skipper was outstanding in the pulsating 15.13 (103) to 9.13 (67) win over Greater Western Sydney that set up a grand final clash against Adelaide – Richmond’s first since 1982.

Cotchin has carried the burden of two sub-par performances in losing elimination finals in 2014 and 2015.

But he was integral in the qualifying final win over Geelong and backed it up against the Giants in front of 94,258 fans at the MCG.

Emotional coach Damien Hardwick was glowing in his praise of Cotchin’s inspirational 26-possession, nine-tackle effort.

“I thought he was best-on-ground again … I thought he was outstanding,” he said.

“There were just a couple of contests where he shouldn’t have been anywhere near it and he either halved it or won it.

“I see a lot of things that others don’t but he’s an incredible player. He’s taken his game to a new level, which is hard to say when he’s a Brownlow medallist.

“I’m just so glad to have him with the way he leads our club. I get a bit emotional speaking about him really because of the way he plays.

“He’s been incredible this year.”

The coach would not be drawn on a first-quarter incident that could see Cotchin in trouble with the match review panel that left Dylan Shiel concussed.

The Tigers led by just one point after a torrid first half, but Hardwick was delighted with the increased intensity of his players after the main break.

Daniel Rioli and Dustin Martin were key factors in a telling six-goals-to-one third quarter burst, with Rioli kicking a career-high four goals.

“It was good for Daniel to get some reward on the scoreboard, but he’s a valuable player with his pressure and ability to turn the ball over in the forward half,” the coach said.

“(With Martin) I’ve got a chess piece there that I can move at various stages.

“I thought he was really important in the second half when we needed him to be a presence up forward.”

The Tigers won’t have any injury concerns ahead of the grand final after they escaped unscathed against the Giants.

NZ govt may not be known for weeks

Coalitions will form the next New Zealand government and New Zealand First leader Winston Peters has declared he holds the balance of responsibility to decide who.

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With 99 per cent of the votes counted, National looks to have secured 58 seats in the next parliament but even with their sole surviving current coalition partner it’s still not enough to get them over the line.

They would need New Zealand First’s 7.5 per cent and the nine seats that come with it to get over the 61 seats needed to form government.

But Labour on 35.8 per cent (45 seats) could just manage to scrape the numbers with the Green Party on 5.8 per cent (seven seats) and NZ First.

“As things stand I believe that we do have the balance of political responsibility,” Mr Peters said on Saturday night.

“We’re not going to squander that opportunity. The decision we’ll make and everyone of my colleagues will know that it’s not going to be premature.”

He wrapped up his speech just as Labour leader Jacinda Ardern was leaving home to head to her campaign party.

A cheer went up at the National campaign party when Ms Ardern noted the incumbent Nationals had secured a larger vote than the left block of Labour and the Green Party combined, with many believing they were about to hear the Labour leader concede.

She told supporters she had called National leader Bill English, but to acknowledge neither of them would determine the outcome.

“I simply cannot predict at this point what decision other leaders will take,” she said.

But Green Party co-leader James Shaw is confident the three opposition parties will form government.

“New Zealanders overwhelmingly voted for change,” he said.

While Ms Ardern took a slightly cautious approach to her speech, Mr English sounded much more victorious when he addressed crowds at 11.30pm (9.30pm AEST).

He’ll be on the phone to Mr Peters first thing Sunday morning, revealing he wants to get on with negotiations “reasonably quickly”.

“The voters have spoken and we have the responsibility of working to build strong and stable government,” he said.

Mr Peters has set October 12 as his deadline for deciding government.

He has been kingmaker, a label he despises, twice before but history is no indication of what decision he’ll make this time around.

In 1996, he sided with National, working alongside prime minister Jim Bolger and later his successor Jenny Shipley, who coincidentally was having dinner at the same restaurant as Mr Peters’ party on Saturday night.

But the coalition ended badly when Ms Shipley sacked Mr Peters from cabinet.

In 2005, he sided with Labour, giving Helen Clark a third term as prime minister.

The big loser of Saturday night was the Maori Party which lost its two MPs, Te Ururoa Flavell and Marama Fox, ending their support relationship with National.

Prelim final losses won’t break GWS: coach

Greater Western Sydney coach Leon Cameron is adamant a second preliminary final exit in a row will ultimately be the making of his young team.

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The Giants trailed Richmond by just one point at halftime at the MCG, but couldn’t go with the Tigers in the third quarter and fell to a 15.13 (103) to 9.13 (67) loss.

It followed last year’s preliminary final defeat to the Western Bulldogs.

“I said to our boys that I’d prefer to playing in prelims every year because it means you’ve finished in the top four, which we have two years in a row, and we’re playing in the second-last week in September,” Cameron said.

“I’ll take that any day (but) the challenge for us is to go one step better and we didn’t, but we learnt a lot this year.

“Like every team we’ll lick our wounds and acknowledge that the opposition were better than us, but we need to improve.

“If we don’t improve five or 10 per cent next year then we’ll be left behind.

“But if you keep on rocking up you’ll get through and we’re a club that plans to rock up.”

Cameron admitted some of his young players wilted under the pressure of a parochial crowd of 94,258 fans – the vast majority of whom were Richmond supporters.

Steve Johnson didn’t feature prominently in his last AFL game before retirement either.

He was left out of the Giants’ first finals loss to Adelaide due to a knee injury and form concerns but kicked six goals in his return against West Coast last week.

The decision to stick with the former Geelong premiership star over Devon Smith was a talking point in the lead-up to the clash, but Cameron defended his selection.

“People are always going to judge him … but we didn’t get beaten because Steve Johnson’s knee might have been at 90 per cent,” he said.

“He’s a triple-premiership player who wanted to come to our club to see if he could help us take the next step.

“Clearly he’s been hampered by his body over the last year but we like his spirit and that’s rubbed off on our players.”

Nth Korean quake likely natural – experts

A small earthquake near North Korea’s nuclear test site was probably not man-made, the nuclear proliferation watchdog and a South Korean official said, easing fears Pyongyang had exploded another nuclear bomb just weeks after its last one.

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Chinese earthquake officials said the magnitude 3.4 quake detected on Saturday was a “suspected explosion” but both the CTBTO, which monitors nuclear tests, and a South Korean meteorological agency official said they believed it was a natural quake.

“A key method is to look at the seismic waves or seismic acoustic waves and the latter can be detected in the case of a manmade earthquake,” said the South Korean official, who asked for anonymity.

“In this case we saw none. So as of now, we are categorising this as a natural earthquake.”

The earthquake, which South Korea put at magnitude 3.0, was detected in Kilju county in North Hamgyong Province, where North Korea’s known Punggyeri nuclear site is located, the official said.

All of North Korea’s previous six nuclear tests registered as earthquakes of magnitude 4.3 or above. The last test on September 3 registered as a 6.3 magnitude quake.

A secondary tremor detected after that test could have been caused by the collapse of a tunnel at the mountainous site, experts said at the time.

Satellite photos of the area after the September 3 quake showed numerous landslides apparently caused by the massive blast, which North Korea said was an advanced hydrogen bomb.

The head of the nuclear test monitoring agency CTBTO said on Saturday that analysts were “looking at unusual seismic activity of a much smaller magnitude” than the Sept 3 test in North Korea.

“Two #Seismic Events! 0829UTC & much smaller @ 0443UTC unlikely Man-made! Similar to “collapse” event 8.5 mins after DPRK6! Analysis ongoing,” CTBTO Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo said in a Twitter post, referring to Sept 3 test.

Russia’s emergency ministry says background radiation in nearby Vladivostok was within the natural range.

The US Geological Survey said it could not conclusively confirm whether the quake, which it measured at magnitude 3.5, was man-made or natural.

Korean crisis on Shorten trip agenda

Labor leader Bill Shorten will meet with the South Korean prime minister during a four-day trip which will also includes security talks in Japan.

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Mr Shorten and foreign affairs spokeswoman Penny Wong will head to the global security hotspot on Sunday.

“Today, we commence a four-day visit to the Republic of Korea and Japan to demonstrate our bipartisan commitment to both nations and highlight the strategic importance a future Labor government will place on our relationships in North Asia,” Mr Shorten said ahead of the trip.

The agenda includes meetings with Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yeon, former Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-Moon, Commander US Forces Korea, General Vincent K Brooks and the Foreign Minister of Japan Taro Kono.

US President Donald Trump has signed an executive order boosting his country’s ability to sanction foreign banks, individuals and companies that facilitate trade with North Korea, which is ignoring calls to stop nuclear tests.

Responding to Mr Trump’s address at the UN, in which he threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea if it attacked the US or its allies, Kim Jong-un issued a statement describing the speech as “unprecedented rude nonsense”.

He said Mr Trump would “pay dearly” and after his “ferocious declaration” of war, North Korea would consider a “corresponding, highest level of hard-line countermeasure”.

Mr Shorten said the region faced an “unprecedented crisis”.

“The threat posed by North Korea has an immediate impact on the security of its neighbours, and on global peace and security,” he said.

“It is essential that we work with South Korea and Japan, with other regional allies and partners, and with the broader international community to encourage and persuade North Korea to adhere to UN Security Council resolutions.”

He said bilateral relations with Japan were deep.

“Our visit will demonstrate our bipartisan support for the Republic of Korea and Japan, and demonstrate that a change of government will not affect Australia’s strong support for both nations at this dangerous and challenging time.”