Dylan Walker’s school work gets a gold star from Souths

Master and pupil: Dylan Walker watched Adam Reynolds a lot at Matraville High. Photo: Anthony Johnson Master and pupil: Dylan Walker watched Adam Reynolds a lot at Matraville High. Photo: Anthony Johnson
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Master and pupil: Dylan Walker watched Adam Reynolds a lot at Matraville High. Photo: Anthony Johnson

Master and pupil: Dylan Walker watched Adam Reynolds a lot at Matraville High. Photo: Anthony Johnson

Souths supporters ought to take some comfort before Sunday’s match against Canberra, knowing their star halfback Adam Reynolds may as well have been an elective subject for fill-in five-eighth Dylan Walker during his time at Matraville High.

An injured ankle ruled him out of last Friday’s loss to the Wests Tigers, but the 19-year-old, who is expected to partner Reynolds in the Rabbitohs’ halves, said he could never have realised how crucial those afternoons he had spent studying Reynolds’ game would prove to be.

“We went to school together so I grew up watching him play and he’s been such a good player over the years,” Walker said. “He was a lot older than I was so I was just watching him go through the years.

“He was a little bit smaller when he was younger, he was only a little pup, about 68 kilos I think he was telling me. He’s probably beefed up in size since then.

“We [never played together at school but we] used to talk. The head coach there, he used to bring me up to train with the older boys to get among them. We’ve had a relationship since school but now we play together and train together, so, yeah, I believe [the onfield understanding] is getting stronger.”

Walker, who usually played in the centres, was pitchforked into the No.6 after another young gun – and good mate – Luke Keary suffered a pectoral injury during the Auckland Nines. He said his days in the old school yard made what should have been a daunting task – partnering one of the NRL’s best halfbacks – easier.

“Seeing him make it in that team when he was at school, a lot of the boys played grade, it inspired me to go along and play first grade as well,” he said. “[My time with Reynolds on the school footy oval] was a bit more of mucking around, I like to look at things and how they go and I just pick up on things I see.”

Walker believed that principle could be applied in first grade.

“It’s new for me, new for him as well, we just need to get a better understanding around each other,” he said of playing alongside Reynolds.

“The more I play, the more confidence I’m going to get out of it, playing alongside ‘Reno’ and all the other boys, the longer I train and play there the better it will be.”

Meanwhile, Souths fullback Greg Inglis said the Rabbitohs team that was ranked premiership contenders before the season started had been “woken” after last week’s shock loss to the Wests Tigers.

“Our boys here have really woken up,” Inglis said of the impact of their last defeat. “A wake-up call to be honest. Everyone has been back at training and hard work this week

“We just got shaken up by a well-drilled Tigers. They just played footy when we didn’t.”

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Colby Faingaa has no regrets leaving Brumbies and is keen to take on old mates

Colby Faingaa, right, pictured last year with former Brumbies teammate Robbie Coleman. Photo: Melissa Adams Colby Faingaa, right, pictured last year with former Brumbies teammate Robbie Coleman. Photo: Melissa Adams
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Colby Faingaa, right, pictured last year with former Brumbies teammate Robbie Coleman. Photo: Melissa Adams

Colby Faingaa, right, pictured last year with former Brumbies teammate Robbie Coleman. Photo: Melissa Adams

Melbourne Rebels recruit Colby Faingaa says he has nothing to prove to the Brumbies, despite knowing he would have been the man to replace David Pocock if he stayed in Canberra this season.

Queanbeyan junior Faingaa quit the Brumbies last year to chase more game time in Melbourne instead of being Pocock’s back-up and will get a chance to take bragging rights when the teams clash at AAMI Park on Friday night.

The former Australian under-20s captain and breakaway would have been thrust into the No.7 duties for the Brumbies this year after Pocock suffered a season-ending knee injury after three games.

But Faingaa says he’s settled at his new home and is banking on a fresh start to help him land the first blow against childhood friend Robbie Coleman.

“It is a bit different playing against the Brumbies for the first time ever, but I’m looking forward to the challenge,” Faingaa said.

“I’m very happy with my decision to move down here even with ‘Poey’ going down, it was a fresh start for me and something I had to do.

“I feel for Poey, no one could have picked him going down for the second year in a row. But I haven’t really thought about it.”

Faingaa has been recalled to the Rebels starting XV and will start at blindside against his old teammates.

The Rebels have made a handful of changes to try to stop the rampant Brumbies, who have won four in a row.

Faingaa is in the No.6 jersey, Nic Stirzaker replaces Luke Burgess, who is on the bench, while Max Lahiff and Laurie Weeks team up in the front row.

Faingaa, 22, grew up playing union and league with Coleman and is keen to take on the Brumbies winger.

Coleman is enjoying an outstanding start to the season and scored two tries against the Stormers last weekend.

“The last time I played against Rob was when he went to the South Tuggeranong Knights in our rugby league days, when we were 13 or 14, because we wanted to win a premiership,” Faingaa quipped.

“He won’t be happy about that. The stakes are a bit higher now … it’s going to be different. We went to St Edmund’s together, we played all school rugby together, Australian Schoolboys, a year of Australian under-20s, Brumbies academy and then Super Rugby as well.

“But hopefully he doesn’t get too much space and I have to get him one on one, that would be nightmare.”

Brumbies director of rugby Laurie Fisher warned the team not to expect an easy hit-out against the Rebels, despite Melbourne winning just one of four games so far.

If the Brumbies beat the Rebels, they will equal their best regular-season winning streak of five games.

“The Rebels will be right up for this, their ears will be stinging after a couple of losses,” Fisher said.

“I think they’ll really be looking to reclaim their season at home. We need to be prepared and desperate. If we’re desperate enough, we’ll go close to getting the job done.”

Fisher said Pat McCabe’s superb form at inside-centre was the main reason for keeping Christian Lealiifano on the bench in his comeback from ankle surgery.

“His [McCabe’s] form has warranted selection,” Fisher said. “He’s done exceptionally well for us, and he’s starting.

“You’ve got a guy who is playing well and is in form, you stick with that.”

Brumbies breakaway Jordan Smiler wants to stake his claim for a regular starting spot. Smiler will earn just his third starting cap against the Rebels.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity I’ve got to have a crack,” the Kiwi said. “It’s the story of my career that I’ve always been looking for an opportunity.

“When you get a chance you have to put your hand up … I’m not looking to do anything special, just my job that I’m given.”

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Greens push laws to ban superior GP services for private health patients

Private health insurers would be banned from obtaining preferential GP treatment for their members under a bill introduced by the Greens on Thursday.
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Currently, health insurers are prohibited from paying for GP services but Health Minister Peter Dutton has signalled he is open to change.

In November, the nation’s largest insurer, Medibank Private began a trial with medical centre manager Independent Practitioner Network in which six of its Brisbane centres provide Medibank members with a range of enhanced GP services – including a guaranteed appointment within 24 hours and after-hours home visits – for no out-of-pocket costs.

Medibank is not paying IPN for the services directly but contributing to the “administrative and management costs” of the trial.

Medibank has said the arrangement complied with the Health Insurance Act and Mr Dutton has said he saw “no evidence that they are acting contrary to the legislation.”

But Greens health spokesman Richard di Natale said while the arrangement appeared “to be within the letter of the law,” it ran “clearly against the spirit of the Private Health Insurance Act”.

Senator di Natale said the “loophole” in the law should be closed because allowing private insurers to cover GP services would cause doctors’ fees and insurance premiums to skyrocket.

“This might be a good tactic for increasing market share and driving up the Medibank sale price but it will leave ordinary people worse off,” Senator di Natale said.

“Medicare has kept the cost of seeing a doctor down for 30 years because a single universal insurer has the power to set the price of services. If competing private health insurers start covering primary care it will take the lid off the price of a doctor’s visit and everyone will end up paying more,” Senator Di Natale said.

“While health insurers providing GP cover has superficial appeal, this change will mark the end of Medicare as we know it. Private health insurance would become a necessity to see a GP yet insurance premiums will go through the roof.”

His bill would specifically prohibit insurers from entering into arrangements for preferential access to GP services.

In a speech to a private health conference on Monday, Mr Dutton said a greater role for private insurers in primary care would strengthen rather than undermine Medicare. But he said the government would not support changes that would lead to higher premiums.

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TRAVEL: Blue Mountains, Siberia and Moroccan Trail

Blue Mountains Travel Darleys Restuarant
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Blue Mountains Travel Scenic World

Blue Mountains Travel Lilianfels

We ventured to the Blue Mountains for romance, and found it in abundance.

Our introduction began with an intimate courtyard lunch at the Everglades Historic House and Gardens in leafy Leura, just down from Katoomba off the Great Western Highway.

Built by textile baron Sir Henri Van de Velde in the 1930s as a holiday house, Everglades features five hectares of European-style gardens carved into the Australian bush. The moment you walk on to the conifer terrace and witness the World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains national park framed before you, it is apparent why people book years in advance to have their weddings there.

And the residence, operated these days by the National Trust, stands as testament to a man who looked out the windows of his art deco residence and liked what he saw. It is the perfect picnic destination for romantic day-trippers.

Next stop Lilianfels Spa and Resort: a five-star piece of Gatsby-esque opulence perched 1000 metres above sea level on the rim of the Jamison Valley at Echo Point, a two-minute stroll from the iconic Three Sisters.

The original residence was built in 1889 as a summer house by Sir Frederick Darley, the sixth chief justice of NSW.

These days, it houses Lilianfels’s signature hatted restaurant, Darleys, a culinary destination drawing foodies from far and wide, where the accent is on innovative modern Australian cuisine made from seasonal ingredients and fresh local produce, served in warm surrounds against a backdrop of mountain grandeur.

The resort itself sports 85 wonderfully appointed guest rooms and suites, all with views over the mountains and/or gardens.

The design is reminiscent of a bygone era, balancing traditional early American stylings with sumptuous soft furnishing, elegant decor, classic wallpaper and occasional hunt scenes.

Resort features include two heated pools: one indoor, the other outside overlooking the valley and located conveniently next to the restaurant, from which refreshments can be ordered poolside.

For those looking to break a sweat, there is a tennis court and gymnasium. Or you can sink into plush Victorian armchairs in the lounge, and take high tea.

With room service available 24 hours a day, romantics can “survive” in regal comfort without leaving the building. Or indeed their room. But there is much to explore on your doorstep.

The iconic Three Sisters are just across the road and link up with a plethora of well-marked bushwalking trails, which wind around the valley edge providing unsurpassed views. Scenic World, home of the famous Scenic Railway, is a leisurely 20-minute walk away and a must see.

Alternatively, take the Scenic Skyway and swing across the Katoomba Falls and rainforest floor 270 metres below. Four major attractions greet you at Scenic World (five, if you count the view): the Scenic Skyway, the Scenic Railway, the Scenic Walkway and the Scenic Cablecar.

The Scenic Railway, the world’s steepest passenger rail ride, which was unveiled last year after a $30 million upgrade, is without doubt a modern marvel of engineering. It comes complete with adjustable seats for those who struggle with sharp angles, glass roofs to admire the scenery and non-stop theme music from Indiana Jones. The 310-metre journey down a 52-degree cliff through a tunnel to the rainforest floor remains as thrilling as ever. Once on the valley, below you can stroll along the Scenic Walkway, 2.4 kilometres of raised wheelchair-friendly boardwalks, punctuated with strategically placed resting areas, where you can take a break, hang with the lyrebirds, or enjoy a concert recital.

The choice is then yours to return to the clifftop via the Scenic Cableway (the steepest cable car ride in the Southern Hemisphere); ride the railway, which runs up and down every 10 minutes; or foot it to the base of the waterfall along one of the many bush tracks that lead off into the vast national park.

We took lunch in the modern eatery, which has been incorporated into a revolving-floor function centre designed to make the most of the spectacular valley views.

The Blue Mountains have long been a haven for arts-and-craft types and Leura village has great boutique shopping for those looking for something unique on the way back to the hotel.

It was a pleasure to hit the pool back at the resort before adjourning for dinner that night.

Darleys is one of two award-winning eating options at Lilianfels. The other is restaurant Echoes at nearby Echoes Boutique Hotel, similarly perched on the edge of the valley.

The only thing surpassing the menu that night was the open-air view from the terrace. Combined with a cloudless sky and a stunning sunset, it was absolutely incredible.

A massage next morning at the luxury day spa, which offers a full range of treatments, was the perfect way to conclude our stay.

The great divide that Wentworth, Lawson and Blaxland conquered all those years ago no longer exists for those seeking romance in the Blue Mountains.

In fact, I am sure those hardy pioneers would have appreciated some of the five-star experiences now available up there.

The writer was a guest of Destinations NSW.

ACROSS SIBERIA BY TRAIN

Travel a quarter the circumference of the Earth and across seven time zones on Bentours’ Trans-Siberian Rail Journey. The 13-day package is priced from $4332 per person twin-share (including train tickets between Moscow, Irkutsk and Vladivostok), English-speaking guides for all excursions, hotel accommodation with private facilities, and plenty of time to visit the many incredible sites on the way. Phone 1800221712 or visit bentours南京夜网.au

FREE BOAT UPGRADE

UTracks is offering a free boat upgrade worth $430 on April departures for its eight-day Veneto Bike & Boat excursion, which enables guests to cycle and cruise their way from Venice through the wildlife-rich Po Delta region of Italy to the Renaissance town of Mantova. The upgrade provides travel on the Ave Maria, a premium boat which features cabins with large windows, private ensuites, airconditioning and free wifi. Prices are from $1790 per person twin-share. Phone 1300303368 or visit utracks南京夜网

LOOK INSIDE VIETNAM

Explore Worldwide’s small-group 14-day ‘‘Inside Vietnam’’ itinerary takes visitors from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City, discovering spectacular coastal scenery, historic towns and evocative war sites and memorials. It begins with a walking tour through the bustling streets of Hanoi’s Old Quarter and a traditional junk boat cruise through the breathtaking limestone landscapes of Halong Bay. Prices are from $1894 per person twin-share. Phone 1300439756 or visit exploreworldwide南京夜网.au

A BREAK FROM AUTUMN

Barnbougle Spa, set among the fairways of the Barnbougle golf resort at Bridport in north-eastern Tasmania, is offering a two-day ‘‘Autumn Pause’’ retreat. The price is from $895 per person twin-share, including overnight accommodation in the resort’s Lost Farm Lodge, naturopath consultation, private Pilates class, signature facial, hot-stone massage, soul-to-sole body treatment, vanilla-bliss body scrub and a personalised take-home wellness plan. Phone (03) 63560094 or visit barnbougle南京夜网.au

HIT THE MOROCCAN TRAIL

Byroads Travel has added a 17-day Moroccan Trails itinerary to its portfolio, with the focus very much on the country’s scenic diversity. It includes seven days exploring the Atlas Mountains, with the trip described as designed for “weekend walkers” and the accommodation as “charming boutique hotels”. Prices are from $3395 per person twin-share ex Rabat, with a departure date of September 5. Phone (02) 9418 7803 or visit byroads南京夜网.au

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Hunter Health Kick Workout VIDEO: Week 12

HERE it is – the final week of the inaugural Hunter Health Kick – and at the end of the week hopefully everyone who has adopted new health habits since the start of the year will be feeling a sense of achievement.
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If you are psyching up for the Herald Hill2Harbour 10-kilometre challenge in eight days then take it a bit easier this week so you are fresh for the race.

It is important to keep ticking over, which means still doing some training, but you don’t want to exhaust yourself or be sore on race day. And you should put extra emphasis on what you are putting in your body this week to prepare it for your run or walk. That means good food and plenty of water.

For those who are not planning to do the Hill2Harbour, hopefully this week is not the end of your health campaign but just the beginning. You should be able to adapt most of the sessions from the Hunter Health Kick to keep your fitness on track.

Back to week 12 – do these sessions every other day and try to go for a light 20 to 30-minute walk or run on two other days. You might like to go for a light swim or walk the day before race day and schedule a good stretch as well.

And if you haven’t already, don’t forget to enter the Hill2Harbour (hevents.net.au or newrun南京夜网.au).

Works: Arms (biceps) and shoulder muscles.

How: Stand with feet hip width apart, good posture and dumbbells in each hand resting in front of your thighs with palms facing out.

Bending at the elbows, bring your hands towards your shoulders.

Turn your hands 180 degrees so your palms face out and push the dumbbells above your head in an arc to complete the movement.

Return to start position in reverse order.

Please enable Javascript to watch this videoBicep Curl.

Strength & cardio

The session should take 30-45minutes including your warm-up and cool-down.

5-minute warm-up and stretch

Workout 20-30minutes:

10 squats + 1min rest/walk/run. Repeat 1-2times

10 push-ups + 1min rest/walk/run. Repeat 1-2 times

10-20 lunges + 1min rest/walk/run. Repeat 1-2 times

10 pull-ups + 1min rest/walk/run. Repeat 1-2 times

10 opposing arm and leg or 30-45sec hover (on knees or toes) with a 30-60sec rest. Repeat 1-2 times.

5-10minutes cool-down and stretch

Intervals

5-minute warm-up and stretch

Workout: Aim for 20-25 minutes of flat intervals at a 1:1 work:recovery ratio. This might be walk fast:walk slow; jog:walk; harder run:easy run. Try working 90 seconds harder:90 seconds easy. As always, if it feels too easy, try working harder for longer and having less rest. If it feels too hard, have more rest/recovery time.

5-10minutes cool-down and stretch

Strength & cardio

The session should take 30-45minutes, including your warm-up and cool-down. Take rests when you need.

5-minute warm-up and stretch

Workout 20-30minutes:

10 squats

30sec skipping

10 push-ups

30sec step-ups

10 pull-ups/rows with triceps kickback

30 sec x 10-metre easy-hard walk/run shuttles

10 bicep-shoulder press

10 opposing arm and leg/30-45sec hover

Repeat 2-4 more times from the top

5-10minutes cool-down and stretch

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