Harris short of a gallop: Darren Lehmann

Ryan Harris will need to find form and fitness in the next fortnight to book his place in the Ashes opener.


Harris, Australia’s leading wicket-taker in the 2013 Ashes, has been widely tipped to return for the first Test in Cardiff, which starts on July 8.

The 35-year-old was rested from the second half of the Sheffield Shield season then skipped the West Indies tour due to the birth of his first child.

Coach Darren Lehmann admitted Harris’ lack of match fitness would be a factor when the selectors pick their first-choice bowling attack.

“He hasn’t played for going on six months now,” Lehmann told radio station SEN.

“He looks pretty good to be fair, (but he is) a little bit short of a gallop.

“It’s his first game back today. We’ll see how he pulls up.

“Then we’ll have a better idea of whether he can make it through the first Test or the second Test, or he’s right to go from ball one.”

Harris has limited time to make a big impression.

Australia started their four-day clash with Kent on Thursday.

The visitors face Essex next week, their final tune-up before the series starts in Wales.

Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood were rested from this week’s game, but both starred during the recent tour of the West Indies and Nathan Lyon is an automatic selection.

Mitchell Johnson, who lorded over England in the 2013-14 Ashes when he claimed 37 scalps, almost certainly won’t be dropped.

“Johnson’s probably been the pick of the lot,” Lehmann said, when asked which member of the 17-man squad had impressed him the most during the first week on tour.

Starc and Hazlewood would also be unlucky to miss out.

“If we have to make a tough call and fit him (Harris) in because he’s bowling well, well so be it,” Lehmann said.

One left-field solution would be a four-prong pace attack, but Lehmann confirmed that wasn’t on the cards.

“They’ve got a lot of left-handers in their squad so Lyon is a big weapon for us,” he said.

“I know England have talked him down and said he’s a weak link, but for us we think he’s a really important player.”

Controversial GM wheat trial fails in UK

A controversial GM wheat trial in the UK has failed after more than STG2 million ($A4.


08 million) of public money was spent protecting it from eco-saboteurs.

The so-called “whiffy wheat” project to create a genetically engineered crop that wards off aphids by releasing an alarm signal scent cost STG732,000.

But this was dwarfed by the extra STG2,238,439 spent on fencing and other security measures for the field trial after threats of destructive attacks by anti-GM activists.

Campaign group GM Freeze claimed the scientists had wasted taxpayers’ money in a pointless bid to “outwit nature”.

Both the the trial itself and the steps taken to keep out the vandals, as well as earlier laboratory work, were wholly Government-funded through the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.

After success in the lab, the genetically modified wheat turned out to be ineffective at repelling aphids in the outdoor trial conducted at the Rothamsted Research institute in Harpenden, Hertfordshire.

Disappointed scientists believe the insect pests may have become blase about the pheromone scent signal and learned to ignore it – much like people closing their ears to a constantly sounding car alarm.

“We now know that in order to repel natural aphid populations in the field we may need to alter the timing of release of the alarm signal from the plant to mimic more closely that by the aphid, which is a burst of release in response to a threat rather than continuous,” lead researcher Professor John Pickett said.

The wheat was engineered with a gene derived from the peppermint plant that enabled it to release a pheromone called (E)-beta-farnesene (EbetaF).

Aphids use the alarm to alert each other to the presence of threats such as parasitic wasps and ladybirds. In the wild, the scent causes the insects to flee from danger – and also attracts predators that recognise the aphid signal.

In laboratory tests the GM wheat produced the pheromone in significant quantities without its appearance or growth being affected, and successfully repelled aphids.

But in the field trial there was no statistical difference in the number of aphids infesting GM and conventional wheat.

The findings are reported in the online journal Scientific Reports, part of the Nature publishing group.

Brumbies a classy outfit, say Hurricanes

Travel fatigue versus bye week malaise.


They’re both mental rather than physical problems which the Hurricanes are discounting heading into their semi-final against the Brumbies in Wellington on Saturday.

The Australian team touched down in New Zealand in the early hours of Friday morning to complete the haul from Cape Town following their impressive 39-19 thrashing of the Stormers in the qualifying final.

History almost exclusively shows that teams who travel in the play-offs fall short against higher-qualifying home sides.

Hurricanes skipper Conrad Smith is having none of it, believing travel is nothing like the problem it once was, particularly for teams who know how to cope with it.

“I know myself, having done that trip a few times, that it won’t be much of a factor,” he said.

“We’re all pretty decent athletes. It’s a semi-final at a full stadium so they’ll be up for it.”

The Hurricanes are coming off a week’s break courtesy of qualifying first.

This season their two bye rounds have been followed by a patchy home win over the struggling Blues and a loss to the Waratahs – one of just two defeats in 2015.

Smith says they won’t be put off by those performances and reckons the break came at a good time.

They spent time “scrambling” to analyse the Brumbies, who they haven’t played this year but who have won their last four meetings.

Smith says he was more confident than most that the Brumbies would beat the Stormers and was surprised they had qualified as low as sixth for the play-offs given their experience and well-drilled methods.

“They’re a tidy team who have a simple plan but they do it very very well,” he said.

“They’re very good at controlling the speed of a game, the tempo.

“We always try to play a game that other teams struggle to keep up with so it’s a matter of trying to play our game and not let them strangle us.”

New York hospital homecoming for Aust boy

James O’Leary weighed barely half a kilogram when he was born by surprise, a world away from his home in Australia.


His mother was nearly six months pregnant when she went into labour on a vacation that became an anxious four-month sojourn, with James in intensive care at Bellevue Hospital, his survival at stake.

Nearly six years later, the healthy, typical kindergartener bounded into a balloon-lined room at Bellevue with his father on Wednesday for a homecoming of sorts with the doctors, nurses and other staffers who became a surrogate family when the O’Learys were far from their own.

“It’s great,” he said, then spotted a screen where a photo slideshow of his first few months was playing: “Look.”

Now raising four children in Sydney, Brett and Jennifer O’Leary didn’t know she was pregnant with twins until after booking an August 2009 jaunt to New York.

Jennifer’s doctor okayed the trip, planned for about the 22nd and 23rd weeks of her pregnancy, her husband said.

Airlines typically allow women carrying multiple babies to fly through the 32nd week of pregnancy, the World Health Organisation says.

Jennifer O’Leary’s contractions started 10 days into the trip. Doctors gave her medications to slow the labour and help the tiny twins develop and told the O’Learys to expect the babies to stay in the hospital through their original due date – in December.

James and Thomas were born at 24 weeks and a day, their father said. It would be about 30 days before their parents could take James out of an incubator and snuggle him against their skin – a practice known, to the couple’s delight, as kangaroo care.

By then, Thomas had died of infections at 18 days old, his father said. It wasn’t clear whether James would ever get to go home.

“For the first 50 or 60 days, you were really walking on eggshells,” Brett O’Leary said. “It’s just a feeling of helplessness. … You’re sort of in the hands of the gods.”

At the start, James couldn’t breathe on his own or feed, but he “was a fighter”, neonatologist Dr Pradeep Mally recalled.

While spending their days at the hospital, the new parents scrambled to find an apartment nearby.

The Australian consulate helped them arrange to stay legally in the US. Brett O’Leary’s then-boss at his engineering job continued his salary, sent him a mobile phone and gave him a loan (Jennifer O’Leary, a lawyer, gave up the part-time job she then had). Travel insurers covered medical bills and many living expenses.

Bellevue staffers tried to make the Australians feel at home, even inviting them to holiday parties: “We really felt for them,” physician’s assistant Donna Hennessy said.

After four months, James was about 2.04 kilograms and finally ready to go home, flying in an incubator that took up 13 seats in a commercial plane.

Crossing the international date line along the way, the family lost a day – December 12, James’s due date, his father said.

“It’s kind of like a day that he was never due to have.”

Rinehart backs India’s cuts to red tape

India is known for widespread poverty but mining billionaire Gina Rinehart says Australia should copy it when it comes to cutting red tape.


Australia’s richest person promoted her second book during a function at the home of India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi overnight, praising him for doubling the country’s economic growth.

The book, titled From Red Tape to Red Carpet, features Mr Modi on the cover and is named after his policy.

Mrs Rinehart railed against the amount of red tape that companies face in Australia, including approvals, permits, licences and compliance costs, to a VIP audience including Mr Modi and Australia’s Trade Minister Andrew Robb.

In Australia, compliance was more important than performance, but India recognised that red tape can lead to corruption, she said.

“Australian politicians are genuinely surprised when I ask them how many approvals, permits and licences were required by government to get to construction,” she said.

“They guess around 100 or so, but Roy Hill (Mrs Rinehart’s iron ore mine) has faced more than 4,000 government approvals, permits, and licences – and that doesn’t count many, many more for construction.

“Layers of red tape just keep pushing up costs in Australia and frankly Australia can’t afford this.”

Mrs Rinehart said she would never have gone ahead with her career in mining if she had known how much red tape was involved.

India, on the other hand, was being turned from a country where enterprise was stifled to one where red tape was being reduced by Mr Modi, she said.

“In less than a year of office, approximately doubling its economic growth, to the great benefit of its citizens, and in fact now leading the world with its economic growth,” she said of Mr Modi.

Mrs Rinehart is part of a coal joint venture in Queensland with India’s GVK.

Wayne Bennett feels for Manly

It’s not something heard often but Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett feels sorry for Manly.


Bennett came out in support of Manly and their coach Geoff Toovey on Thursday in the wake of the “ludicrous” situation involving Sea Eagles star Kieran Foran’s Parramatta deal.

Foran could walk away from his deal to join the Eels from next year after that club attempted to rework the $4.8 million contract he signed three months ago.

Barely a month ago his Sea Eagles halves partner Daly Cherry-Evans backflipped on a Gold Coast deal and agreed to stay at Manly.

“My biggest concern would be for the (Manly) club,” said veteran Brisbane coach Bennett on Thursday.

“I can’t believe the turmoil that Manly has had to go through in all this.

“And you see criticism of Geoff Toovey, he’s the last guy people should be criticising.

“What has happened to that club is just horrific.

“Losing your two star players and then (potentially) getting them back again and we are halfway through a season – it is ludicrous.”

Bennett’s call comes days after Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy said the Foran saga made the NRL “look like amateurs”.

“Of course there is a solution. As Craig (Bellamy) alluded to the other day it doesn’t happen in other sports,” Bennett said.

“There are other codes who can manage it. From the top right down it is just not being managed (by NRL).

“This has only happened in the last four, five or six years. Somewhere in that period of time we haven’t addressed it well enough and don’t look like we are going to in the short term.”

Bennett said a solution to the code’s contract sagas was possible and consideration of the the game’s fans should be foremost.

“First thing I would do is make some decisions that wouldn’t please everybody, and give the game back to the fans,” he said.

“So at least they know that players are contracted and can’t do the things we are seeing right now. We owe that to them.”

Bayliss believes in-form England can target Ashes win

Australian Bayliss, appointed coach last month, left his homeland on Wednesday but has clearly been keeping tabs on England from Sydney, even if he has not yet swapped the “they” for “we” when referring to the team.


England split a test series 1-1 with the Black Caps before recovering from a 2-1 deficit to win a thrilling one-day series, finishing with a flourish with a win in the sole Twenty20 match.

“It’s been quite exciting, the series against New Zealand, the tests and the one-dayers… got some new, young players in there with plenty of skill, plenty of enthusiasm,” he told Fox Sports TV at Sydney airport.

“So it sounds like they’re in a good place, looks like they’re enjoying themselves out in the field and that’s the main thing.”

Bayliss, the former coach of New South Wales, said his first task in the pre-Ashes training camp in Spain would be to get to know the players and then put together some plans for the series against Australia, which begins in Cardiff on July 8.

“Looking forward to it, to be involved in an Ashes series will be some good fun, I think,” he added.

“I will be just doing the things I normally do with any of the cricket teams I’ve been involved with, and hopefully that means England will be playing some good cricket.

“I’m confident of putting up a good show and if they play some good cricket they’ll be a chance of winning.”

As always, much pride is at stake in the five-test Ashes series with Australia looking for a first triumph on English soil since 2001 and the hosts hoping to erase the memory of their 5-0 humiliation Down Under in 2013-14.

Michael Clarke, Steve Smith, David Warner, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood are among the Australians to have played under Bayliss at New South Wales but he does not think that his inside knowledge will prove decisive.

“I don’t think it will mean winning or losing for either team,” he said. “I think these teams play each other quite a bit, they know what the opposition can do and obviously the Aussies know what England can do.”

Bayliss was inevitably asked about the position of batsman Kevin Pietersen, who has been ruled out of participating in the series by England’s director of cricket Andrew Strauss because of “trust issues”.

“Look, apparently, he’s unavailable for selection, so that’s all I know at this stage,” Bayliss said.

“He is a good batter but at this stage he is unavailable, so that’s all I know.”

(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney; Editing by John O’Brien)

Scann3D adds dimension to property market

You can walk through your dream home before it’s been built, and without having to move from your couch.


You can check out the set-up for your wedding at a hotel, or visit a famous heritage site or museum – all thanks to new 3D technology being developed for smart phones and computers.

Melbourne tech start-up Scann3D is creating 3D models that people can look at on a flat screen or using a virtual reality mask, making them feel like they’re actually there.

It saves time, effort and money and engages the viewer.

Scann3D’s initial focus is on the property market, where the old house photo in the newspaper or the floor plan for the new apartment doesn’t really give you a feel for what you’re looking to buy.

“We’ve become accustomed to 2D photographs which give you quick impressions, but it does not give you a sense of the actual spatial layout of the house,” chief executive Trent Clews-De Castella said.

“And so there’s a huge reliance on having to physically inspect a space, which takes a lot of time and making arrangements – it’s a pain.

“We can provide a service that quickly scans the house and creates a spatially-accurate model of that home and gives the buyer the ability to walk through it as if they are physically there.”

Scann3D uses 3D photos and 3D artists’ sketches that are knitted together to enable a home buyer to look at a property in detail from every angle – left, right, up, down, around, close view, long view, view from above.

Potential buyers can also “walk through” the interior of the property, down the hallway, from room to room, or look out the window, just by using the controls on their mobile phone or computer.

Potential buyers also can experience “augmented reality”.

They hold their smart phone in front of them with the property displayed on screen. As the buyer takes two steps from the spot where he or she is located, two steps are taken simultaneously through the area of the 3D model displayed on the phone.

Virtual reality property inspections are also possible.

Potential buyers can don the virtual reality head-mounted mask whilst standing in the office, for example.

The buyer now sees nothing of the office but does “see” the interior of the house or apartment.

The scene changes according to where the person turns their head or shifts position. The vision is not flat; it has depth.

Scann3D started making 3D models of existing spaces but can now also make 3D models of spaces that don’t exist yet, such as off-the-plan apartments or renovations.

The company recently linked with Australia’s biggest property portal, realestate杭州桑拿会所,杭州桑拿网, and property developer BPM to launch the 3D experience in the Australian property market.

Mr Clews-De Castella said early feedback showed that potential buyers were spending a longer time engaged with a particular property when using the 3D models.

The next step is to enable potential buyers to “customise” the 3D model, for example, making changes to a benchtop in the kitchen while they are looking at it.

“It’s become really clear that content is king. Consumers are constantly seeking out more interactive and engaging and immersive ways to explore the world around them, online,” Mr Clews-De Castella said.

Bombers say no to AFL wagering deals

AFL club Essendon have turned their back on the lucrative world of wagering, announcing they will not consider sponsorships from betting partners.


The Bombers are the latest in a number of AFL clubs to walk away from the industry, which spends tens of millions of dollars each year on advertising.

Essendon chief executive Xavier Campbell said the move was aimed to curb the impact of gambling messages among members and particularly children and young adults.

“As an industry, we need to proactively monitor the way this message is delivered particularly given many of our fans are children,” he said.

North Melbourne have adopted the most radical stance of AFL clubs on betting and gaming, choosing against taking any gambling revenue, including from pokies venues.

The Kangaroos are joined by Collingwood, Hawthorn and the Western Bulldogs as signatories to Victoria’s Responsible Gambling Charter.

The four clubs have agreed not to sign commercial agreements with sports betting agencies and to implement a code of best practice at any gaming venues.

As a result of Essendon’s decision, the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation has approached the Bombers to add their name to the list.

At least 10 AFL clubs list bookmakers or casinos as corporate partners.

Carlton, Fremantle, GWS Giants, Port Adelaide, Richmond and St Kilda have commercial deals with betting agencies.

Adelaide, Sydney and West Coast have sponsorships with local casinos.

The AFL itself also has a prominent sponsorship with a wagering company.

In recent years, the advertising spend by sports gambling companies has skyrocketed, with sports odds becoming prevalent particularly on television.

A Nielsen study indicated wagering companies spent around $50 million on TV, radio and print advertising in 2013.

With nearly 60,000 members, Essendon could have easily found a company willing to partner with the club.

Campbell said the Bombers weren’t casting judgment on other clubs or bookmakers that entered into commercial arrangements.

“We certainly respect the right of betting agencies to advertise in sport,” Campbell said.

“In forming this decision, we also took into consideration the feeling of our membership base who have expressed a sense of concern.

“This decision wasn’t made lightly, particularly with the revenue a wagering partner can deliver.”

Of the gambling industry’s large footprint on the AFL, wagering and betting organisations make up just one part.

It’s gaming – or pokies venues – that provides the biggest financial boost to many AFL clubs.

A Fairfax Media report from March stated the 10 Victorian AFL teams made around $100 million in combined revenue from gaming and poker machine venues.

Premiers Hawthorn have grown their revenue base enormously through their interest in gaming venues, with $18 million coming to the club through “gaming, bar and bistro” income in 2014.

The Kangaroos are the only Victorian AFL club without poker machine income, with their commercial ban policy extending to all forms of gambling.

Canes to keep rugby semi emotions in check

Keeping the Hurricanes on an even keel will be captain Conrad Smith’s greatest challenge heading into their Super Rugby semi-final against the Brumbies.


Veteran All Blacks centre Smith admits it will be hard enough to stay grounded himself on Saturday for a game which carries sentiment on many levels.

The top-qualifying Hurricanes have reached the playoffs for the first time in six years and are poised to run out in front of a sold-out Wellington crowd for the first time since their only other home playoffs appearance, a 2006 semi-final.

Dig deeper and there’s more at stake.

The match is potentially the last for a swag of departing Hurricanes, including Smith and his long-time midfield comrade Ma’a Nonu. Both are leaving for France, while All Blacks tight forwards Jeremy Thrush and Ben Franks will play next year in England.

And the team attended the funeral of Jerry Collins last week in Porirua during their week off. Smith admits the death of the former Hurricanes and All Black flanker has been hard to put to one side.

“It’s something real and it affects individuals in different ways,” Smith said.

“There’s a lot swirling around this team at the moment with what’s happened over the last few weeks but you’ve got to be careful the way you play with those emotions.

“The winner won’t be who deserves it. It’s just who plays the best rugby on Saturday night.”

Smith says experienced players are probably better equipped to deal with off-field distractions and he will offer support to any teammates who need it.

The team received a boost on Thursday when coach Chris Boyd confirmed a full-strength team aside from injured All Black winger Cory Jane.

The 32-year-old admitted he came back too soon from a hamstring niggle in the 21-13 win two weeks ago over the Chiefs. He hobbled off early after another strain.

“I was selfish when we played the Chiefs coz my hamstring wasn’t 100% but wanted to play so only thought about me. TEAM 1st NOW..” Jane tweeted after he was ruled out.

There are four changes from the New Plymouth game, with the most important being the return of five-eighth Beauden Barrett from a calf strain, prompting a backline shuffle.

James Marshall moves from No.10 to fullback, pushing Nehe Milner-Skudder to Jane’s vacant right wing spot.

Nonu returns at inside centre in place of Rey Lee-Lo while dynamic forwards Ardie Savea and James Broadhurst are back for flanker Callum Gibbins and lock Mark Abbott respectively.

Hurricanes: James Marshall, Nehe Milner-Skudder, Conrad Smith (capt), Ma’a Nonu, Julian Savea, Beauden Barrett, TJ Perenara, Victor Vito, Ardie Savea, Brad Shields, James Broadhurst, Jeremy Thrush, Ben Franks, Dane Coles, Reggie Goodes. Res: Brayden Mitchell, Chris Eves, Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, Mark Abbott, Blade Thomson, Chris Smylie, Rey Lee-Lo, Matt Proctor.

Feds cut funding for child abuse support

Support services for child abuse survivors are under threat because of federal funding cuts to a key specialist provider – Adults Surviving Child Abuse.


ASCA lost funding for crucial survivor workshops from the federal government 12 months ago when a community investment program was folded.

From June 30, it will no longer receive money for training related to supporting the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

As well as running workshops for survivors, ASCA runs a 1300 support line and helps train practitioners and organisations working with survivors identified through the commission.

The organisation was allocated funding for training other support services for two years and has now called on the federal government to extend it.

ASCA President Cathy Kezelman told AAP on Thursday that with the loss of the funding on two fronts, the organisation will be under greater stress.

Dr Kezelman says ASCA had been self-funding workshops for survivors over the last twelve months, but they were being run at a loss, however, results from the programs “has been really significant”.

“We have a philosophy of making them affordable, so we only charge a nominal fee, given many survivors struggle to afford or access specialist services at all,” Dr Kezelman said.

“These workshops are crucial in aiding survivors in turning their lives around.

“Given the huge $9.1 billion annual cost on the economy of unresolved childhood trauma, and the serious mental effects survivors have to deal with, it is essential that appropriate support services, such as the workshops program, are available to reduce these unacceptable impacts.”

At a crisis meeting on June 13, ASCA was forced to stop scheduling workshops for abuse survivors at a cost of $6000 each and has resorted to crowd-sourcing for funding, with a waiting list of 52 survivors.

In its submission on redress to the royal commission, ASCA called for an expansion of support services for abuse survivors.

The organisation says it is calling on the government to continue the funding as well as the institutions involved in the abuse.

“We would like to see them step up and show their support for these crucial services for survivors of these incredibly traumatic events,” she said.

“We will be seeking meetings with the Church and the schools involved for their help.”

The federal government in its response the royal commission’s consultation paper on redress said it did not have the power to run a national scheme and would not expand Medicare to give abuse survivors the help they needed.

The commission will make final recommendations on a redress scheme in August.

Comment is being sought from the federal government.

Soward to fire Penrith’s popgun attack

Penrith five-eighth Jamie Soward says he and halves partner Peter Wallace need to fire up a popgun attack that has currently scored the equal least amount of points in the NRL.


Penrith’s clip of 16 points per game this year is, along with Manly, the worst in the competition and has left them just one win above last spot on the ladder.

And it’s gotten worse since star fullback Matt Moylan went down with a 10-week ankle injury against Parramatta in round 12, with the Panthers scoring just two tries in two games.

Speaking ahead of Sunday’s clash with the Wests Tigers, Soward said the team had made a conscious effort this week to spark their attack.

“Focus has just been on getting some more consistency in attack, some more fluency on the weekend,” he said.

“Last week we were close to scoring three to four tries but then we let in some soft tries (too).

“We’ve trained really well this week. Got another session this afternoon, and hopefully get some more things in order.”

Teenager Dallin Watene-Zelezniak has struggled to fill into the sizeable shoes left by Moylan, committing six errors over his past fortnight in the No.1 jumper.

Soward said he and Wallace needed to do a better job of getting the 19-year-old into the right spots in their set plays.

“He had some tough carries and he was in the game for the whole 80 minutes (against Canterbury last week),” he said.

“Maybe myself and `Wall’ need to back him up a little bit more and let him play his own game.

“Moyza’s out for another couple of months and we’re very happy that we’ve got a very good replacement in Dallin.

“We need to make sure we get him the ball when we need to.”

While the Panthers have lost hooker James Segeyaro for up to a month with a knee injury, winger Josh Mansour has been named for his first game since suffering the same injury round seven.

“It’s been a frustrating year for myself but I’m definitely excited to be back especially because we’re playing at Leichhardt. I always enjoy playing out there,” Mansour said.

“The knee is feeling great. I’m very confident in it – I wouldn’t be playing if it wasn’t.

“You always want to come back from an injury earlier than expected but with this injury – a pretty high grade tear in my MCL – the full recovery was to be expected.”

Manly brace for Glenn Stewart v Souths

Manly are bracing for a Glenn Stewart with a point to prove when they meet South Sydney on Friday in their NRL clash at ANZ Stadium.


After being cut free by the Sea Eagles at the end of last year, Stewart is racing the clock to beat a hand injury to face the club he helped steer to two premierships.

Souths coach Michael Maguire has been coy about Stewart’s chances of making a return against his former club, but Manly privately believe the former Kangaroo will take the field.

It is the first meeting between the two sides since Stewart’s departure from Brookvale.

He wasn’t even offered a chance to continue his 12-year career on the northern beaches with the club declining to offer him any sort of contract renewal.

Manly coach Geoff Toovey is aware Stewart will carry extra motivation into the clash.

“It would add a bit of spice to the match, he is a great player and I’m sure he will be wanting to get back on the field for this match,” Toovey said on Thursday.

“He has had a fairly significant injury over the last month or so and I’m sure he is chomping at the bit to get on the field.

“We were all disappointed that Glenn had to leave the club – there is no denying that. I was very disappointed for him as well and the club. But that is rugby league these days and I’m sure he will be out there putting his best on like he does every week.”

Stewart has been out since late April with a torn thumb tendon.

It would be the first time he played a NRL game against his brother, Sea Eagles fullback Brett.

Another clash of sibling rivalry awaits with Rabbitohs forwards George and Tom Burgess coming up against brother Luke, following his move from Redfern to Brookvale for this season.

“That should be a good contest, too,” Toovey said.

“Luke has been a bit quiet this week but I think that is a good thing. He has his focus on making sure his younger brothers don’t teach him a lesson and he gets the upper hand.”

Bottom-of-the table Manly come into the match buoyed by a last-start 30-20 win over the Wests Tigers. The Rabbitohs enjoyed the bye last weekend on the back of their 34-6 hammering by the Tigers the week before, their biggest loss under coach Maguire.


* The Rabbitohs have won four of their past six meetings with Manly, including two big wins in their two most-recent meetings

* The biggest reason for the demise of Manly this season seems to be their failing attack, ranking last or next to last in almost every category. They score the equal fewest points (15.5 per game), tries (2.8 per game) and line breaks (3.6 per game) and are busting the fewest tackles by far of any team (18.7 per game)

* Manly are also losing the battle in the middle, averaging the least metres of any team this season and conceding the fourth most

Courtesy Fox Sports Stats