Newcastle rugby: Doug McKillop follows path to Two Blues

CRUNCH: Wanderers lock Doug McKillop stops a Lake Macquarie forward in his tracks. Picture: Jonathan Carroll.WANDERERS coach Viv Paasi is thankful for the persuasive powers of breakawayBen Ham.


With Marcus Christensen opting to try his luck in Sydney at Parramatta, the Two Blues were left with a big hole in the second row.

Enter Doug McKillop. The 24-year-old, atalented schoolboy, who was a part of the the Southport School first XV which won the Brisbane GPS title in 2010, was entrenched in his home town of Scone.

He had a solid job as a fitter with a fabrication company and captained the Brumbies in the Central North competition.Ham had been in a similar position, living and working in Scone, before joining Wanderersin 2014.He won the Anderson Medal in his debut season and helped lead the Two Blues to a premiership.

“Doug is good mates with Hammy,” Paasi explained.

“Hammy had been in his ear about moving down here to have a crack at footy.

“Eventually Doug agreed to come down for a couple of training sessions.

“He had a good job and was comfortable in Scone, but hedecided tosacrifice that and start afresh here. He has been fantastic.”

McKillop has shed 10 kilograms from his imposing frame to sit at 125kg and has cemented a place in the Two Blues pack.

“Hammy gave me a ring last year,” McKillop said.“I thought about it for a while and decided it would be a good option.I am loving it.It hasbeen good to step the rugby up. In Scone it is typical country rugby. You just slog it out. Here there is more competition, the games are harder and faster, and you need to be fitter and stronger. You are playingwith 15 rugby players rather than throwing a team together on a Friday arvo.”

​Like Christensen, McKillop canalso play in the back-row but,standing195cm, he has size over his predecessor.

“He is a tough, no-nonsense, old-school style footy player,” Paasi said.“He is starting to adjust to our style and is getting better and better every week. He has a real presence and gives us a good, hard edge.His ball carries are very good.He always gets over the advantageline and defensively no-one gets past him orthrough him.”

The addition of McKillop, who is sharing a house with Ham, and Welsh hooker Ryan Jackson have added bulk to the Two Bluesscrum which was destroyed by Hamilton in the grand final last year.

“There is a little bit more weight in the pack this year,” Paasi said.

“Come scrum time that helps, but you still have to be technically sound, which we are working hard at.”

McKillop played for Central North at the Country Championships in Port Macquarie last month and has aspirations of representing Newcastle.

“I’d like to have a crack at the rep team next year,” he said. “If I can make it down here it would make the move worthwhile.”

Don’t Tell director Tori Garrett to adapt Peggy Frew’s acclaimed novel Hope Farm

Her first film, the impressive drama Don’t Tell, deserved better than the low-key opening it had in Australian cinemas on the weekend.


But director Tori Garrett, who had a cast headed by Jack Thompson, Rachel Griffiths, Aden Young and Sara West for her dramatisation of a landmark sexual abuse case, is already looking ahead to her next film.

The first-time film director, whose background includes such TV series as Wentworth, Wonderland and Hiding, has bought the film rights to what she calls a “beautiful novel” – Peggy Frew’s Stella Prize-winning Hope Farm, about a 13-year-old who moves to a rundown commune in rural Victoria.

“Female protagonists, David versus Goliath against all odds,” Garret says.”They’re the stories I love to tell.”

Australian film classics for streaming service

Good news for fans of Australian cinema history. The Australian movie streaming service Ozflix has added a collection of films from the National Film and Sound Archive that go back to the early days of the country’s film making.

One is The Hero of the Dardanelles, a reconstructed version of a 1915 film once thought to have been lost, that features a re-creation of the Gallipoli landing shot on Sydney’s Tamarama Beach.

Scene from The Hero of the Dardanelles, a 1915 re-creation of the Gallipoli landing. Photo: Ruth Hartmann.

While only two-thirds survives, Raymond Longford and Lottie Lyell’s The Woman Suffers (1918), considered Australia’s first feminist film, will also be available. So will one of the great comedies of the silent era, The Kid Stakes (1927), the story of Fatty Finn and his gang that features a famous goat race finale; and Ken G. Hall’s Smithy (1946), a biopic of aviator Charles Kingsford Smith that was Bud Tingwell’s first film.

Teplitzky is back with new film and plans for a Gettin’ Square sequel

Having shot the war dramas The Railway Man and the upcoming Churchill, director Jonathan Teplitzky??? is preparing to shoot a real change of pace on the Gold Coast.

He is teaming up with two former collaborators, Gettin’ Square writer Chris Nyst??? and The Railway Man producer Chris Brown, for the crime comedy Mr Cranky.

David Wenham as “Spit” in the 2003 crime caper Gettin’ Square.

It centres on an underworld debt collector who, with his stripper ex-girlfriend’s precocious seven-year-old daughter, has to stave off bikies, Lebanese hit men, a drug-addicted circus clown and his New Age Laughing Circle therapist to become a better man.

Teplitzky tells Short Cuts he is also looking at a sequel to Gettin’ Square, the 2003 crime caper that memorably starred David Wenham as drug-addled Johnny ‘Spit’ Spiteri.

Churchill, starring Brian Cox as the British PM, opens on June 8.

Twitter @gmaddox

Martial law declared after Islamic State overruns city

Bangkok: Islamic State-linked militants who rampaged through a southern Philippines town have threatened to kill a priest and other Christian hostages.


The threat came as thousands of civilians fled Marawi, 830 kilometres south of Manila, on Wednesday as troops fought running battles with militants who took over a large part of the city on Tuesday, flying black Islamic State flags and torching key government buildings and a church.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte declared that martial law he imposed across Mindanao, home to 20 million people, in response to the attacks would be “harsh” to quell the rising threat of Islamic State-inspired violence.

After cutting short a trip to Moscow, Mr Duterte also told reporters in Manila he is considering expanding martial law to other parts of the country.

“I have always said do not force my hand into it because if I start to declare martial law I will solve all the problems connected with law and order,” he said.

The Catholic Church said Marawi’s local priest Father Chito Suganob from the city’s Cathedral of Our Lady Help of Christians and an unspecified number of church-goers were taken hostage by Maute group militants.

“They have threatened to kill the hostages if the government forces unleashed against them are not recalled,” said a statement released by the head of the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of the Philippines, Archbishop Socrates Villegas.

“We beg every Filipino to pray for Father Chito and for the other hostages,” it said.

A military spokesman said information was being sought on the reported kidnappings.

Authorities estimated around 100 extremists had occupied the city of 200,000, while more than 1,000 troops started arriving in the area to bolster local forces at first light on Wednesday.

The military has released few details about the clashes but insisted the situation was under control.

But fleeing civilians said the parts of the city remained under control of the militants.

“They are all over the main roads and two bridges leading to Marawi,” student Rabani Mautum told Reuters from a town 16 kilometres from Marawi.

“I was in school when I heard gunfire … when we came out there were bloodstains in the building but we did not see nay dead or wounded,” he said.

Mr Duterte, a firebrand native of Mindanao, has often threatened to impose martial law to crush extremists and stop radical Islamist ideology spreading since taking office in June last year, prompting concerns by human rights groups that he plans to create a dictatorship in the island nation of 100 million people.

The late dictator Ferdinand Marcos used martial law to remain in power during his two-decade reign, which ended in 1986 with a “People Power” revolution.

The 60-day martial law declaration for Mindanao will allow government forces to carry out searches and arrests and detain suspects without warrants.

The Maute group, which has hideouts near Marawi, and the brutal Abu Sayyaf group which operates across the southern Philippines, have engaged in deadly clashes with government forces over several months.

The government blamed the Maute group for a bombing in a marketplace in Mr Duterte’s hometown of Davaoin September 2016 which killed 14 people and wounded dozens.

Last November, the government claimed it had killed 61 Maute fighters in five days of military air and ground assaults.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said in March that Australia is readying itself for the possibility of Islamic State declaring a “caliphate” in the southern Philippines as extremists are forced out of the Middle East.

“This brings the threat right to our doorstep,” she said.

An estimated 600 fighters from South-east Asian nations are fighting in Syria and Iraq.

Philippine Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the clashes in Marawi erupted when security forces raided a house where they believed Isnilon Hapilon, an Abu Sayyaf commander and the claimed head of Islamic State in the Philippines, was believed to be holed up.

The US State Department has a $US5million bounty for the capture of Hapilon, an Arabic-speaking preacher known for his expertise in commando assaults, who pledged allegiance to Islamic State in 2014.

He is believed to be recovering from wounds sustained in a military strike in January.

Six weeks ago the military foiled a mass kidnapping attempt by the Abu Sayyaf on the central island of Bohol, which is popular with foreign tourists.

Earlier in May the United States warned of possible kidnappings in other parts of the country, including Cebu.

Muslim militants have been waging a rebellion since the 1970s for an autonomous homeland in Mindanao, with the conflict claiming more than 130,000 lives.

Some Muslim rebel groups are engaged in peace talks with the government.

with agencies

Coroner hands down findings into Sydney Lindt Cafe siege

Hostages flee the siege in the early hours of the morning. Photo: Andrew MearesNSW CoronerMichael Barnesis handing down his report into the 2014 Sydney Lindtcafe siege, which left cafe manager Tori Johnson and Sydney barrister Katrina Dawson dead.After an hour and fifteen minutes State CoronerMichael Barneshas concluded the summary of his findings.


He has made 45 recommendations in his 600 page report which has now been madepublicly available.

“I am acutely conscious that systemicimprovements will do nothing toalleviate the grieving for Katrinaand Tori that their loved ones willcontinue to suffer,” he said in conclusion.

“I am powerlessin that regard.”

He found thatTori Johnsondied immediately after he was shot in the back of the head byMan Haron Monis. Monis died when police stormed the cafe and the officers who shot him did so because they reasonably believed it was necessary to protect themselves and others in the cafe.

Katrina Dawsondied from gunshot wounds from a bullet, or bullets, fired at Monis by police that ricochetedand accidentally struck Ms Dawson as she lay on the floor.

“Those are my findings. I authorise the publication of the report that I have prepared,” Mr Barnes said.

“I close this inquest.”

A sea of flowers at Martin Place formed a makeshift memorial in the days after the siege. Photo: Getty Images

Police Commissioner concedes they were wrongNewly-appointedCommissionerMick Fullerhas made a stunning about face, saying that they should have stormed the cafe earlier.

ABC has just played an excerpt from an upcomingFour Cornersinterview with Mr Fuller in which he says the police were “getting poor advice from people” and it led to them taking the wrong strategy.

Q: Are you saying that was a mistake?

A:In hindsight, as with everything, we know we should have gone in earlier. The challenge with that is it does not guarantee there will not be a loss of life. But clearly a deliberate action is a much more professional action and a lower risk, I guess, interms of emergency action.

Q:Tori Johnsonwas placed on his knees in a position of execution. Why did not police go in at that time?

A: At that time I can only assume they felt they were in a cycle of contained negotiation and were hoping that was their best outcome… They were getting poor advice from people that lead them to commit to something which turned out to be the wrong strategy at the time. Again, a deliberate action at an earlier would have been safer, while not guaranteeing no loss of life.

Commissioner Mick Fuller, in an upcoming interview on the ABC, said the police were wrong not to storm the cafe earlier. Photo: ABC

Premier says thoughts are with hostages and the victims’s familiesPremierGladys Berejiklianhas released a statement following Coroner Michael Barnes handing down his findings.

Ms Berejiklian says the government will do “all we can to take the lessons learned from this tragedy”.

“We will thoroughly review the findings and respond as quickly as possible,” she said.

Ms Berejikliansays that her thoughts are with the Dawson and Johnson families and that no one will ever forget the ordeal suffered by the surviving hostages.

“I acknowledge the bravery of the police and first responders who put their lives on the line during this act of terror,” she said.

“The people of NSW were devastated by the events of 15 and 16 December 2014. The outpouring of grief that saw a sea of flowers grow in Martin Place is still palpable.

“The completion of the NSW Coroner’s Inquest into the deaths arising from the Lindtcafe siege today is an important step along the path to recovery.”

Ms Berejiklian has also thanked Mr Barnes for his “comprehensive and extensive inquest”.

Families of victims treated ‘insensitively’Another recommendation: NSW Police need to develop comprehensive policies and procedures for family liaison during major events.

Coroner Barnes said the families of Tori Johnson and Katrina Dawson were “treated insensitively” during the siege.

They were kept in a family reception room that was badly situated and ill-equipped, they received infrequent briefings or updates and there was undue delay in being given the news of the deaths.


Katrina Dawson and Tori Johnson died during the siege.

Charges laid over explosion at Australian Christian Lobby office

Lyle Shelton managing director of the Australian Christian Lobby in the office his executive assistant after a van with gas bottles exploded outside their office in Canberra on Thursday 22 December 2016. Photo: Andrew Meares A man will face court next month in relation to an explosion outside the Canberra offices of activist group the Australian Christian Lobby in December 2016.


Police said on Wednesday they had charged a 36-year-old Deakin man with arson and property damage over the explosion of a carload of gas cylinders outside the Eternity House building in Deakin.

The announcement is two months after the Australian Federal Police told Parliament the man involved in the incident had been trying to kill himself and not targeting the activist group.

The man is listed to face the ACT Magistrates Court on June 7.

Tenants had to vacate the building after the explosion involving four nine-kilogram gas cylinders in a van but there was a delay in investigating due to the man’s ongoing treatment for serious burns and a mental health condition.

“The incident was investigated by detectives from Criminal Investigations and ACT Policing now considers the investigation finalised,” a police spokesman said.

“A brief of evidence has been provided to the Director of Public Prosecutions. The man will face charges of one count of arson and one count of property damage.”

Australian Federal Police Commissioner Andrew Colvin told Senate estimates hearings in March police had ruled out any political or ideological motivation for the explosion during an initial interview before the man’s condition deteriorated.

He said the man had been trying to kill himself and had not been motivated by ACL activities or political messages, including its high-profile opposition to same-sex marriage laws in Australia.

Australian Christian Lobby managing director Lyle Shelton has repeatedly questioned the conclusions reached by police over the incident.

The man was flown to Sydney for treatment a day after walking five kilometres to Canberra Hospital in the wake of the late night explosion.

On Wednesday, Mr Shelton said the charges were “a welcome step forward” but he remained concerned the process had taken five months.

“I am also concerned that the police continue to refer to the incident which blew out thick glass windows on the ground floor and first floor of our office as a ‘car fire’,” Mr Shelton said.

“The AFP have made a number of seemingly contradictory statements about this incident. Why did this incident occur at the ACL office? Why not some other venue?

“How exactly were the AFP able to conclusively rule out particular motives so quickly? And will these public statements made by police prove to be appropriate ahead of legal proceedings?

“ACL looks forward to seeing these issues ventilated in court,” he said.

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Nathan Tinkler, Troy Palmer banned from managing companies under ASIC decision

BANNED: Nathan Tinkler cannot run a company for three years under an ASIC ruling. The corporate regulator has bannedNathan Tinklerand two of hisassociates from managing companies for between three years and four years, citing”multiple serious failures” in theirduty asdirectors of companies that include his thoroughbred racing empire and A-League football club, theNewcastle Jets.


The ASIC statement said Tinkler – who is now bankrupt -and fellow directorsDonna DennisandTroy Palmerwere banned as a result of information contained in reports provided by the liquidators of the failed companies associated with the former billionaire.

“The disqualifications imposed on these directors should highlight the consequences that can follow when companies are poorly managed,”said ASIC commissionerJohn Price. “ASIC will seek to hold company directors accountable if they systemically fail to discharge their obligations when managing companies.”

According to the corporate watchdog, the trio failed to “prevent the companies from trading while insolvent”, didn’tensure thecompanies paidtheir taxes and “allowed one of the companies to deliberately operate at a loss”.

It didn’tidentify the latter company. Nathan Tinkler and Troy Palmer were each barred for three years and nine months, while Donna Dennis was disqualified for three years, the statement said.

Creditors are still owed around $544 million from the collapse of various companies associated with Tinkler.

Those companies include Mr Tinkler’s Patinack Farm thoroughbred business and the Newcastle Jets Football Operations.

Tinkler’s most recent court battle was to allow him to travel overseas for a job interview in New York and visit his family in Hawaii. He won, eventually.

Belmont Golf Club plans merger with Belmont Bowling Club

Belmont sports clubs discuss merger Belmont Bowling Club


Belmont Golf Club

Belmont Bowling Club


facebookSHAREtwitterTWEETemailwhatsappcommentCommentsBelmont Bowling Club would move to Belmont Golf Club under a proposed amalgamation between the two organisations.

The golf and bowling clubs are in the early stages of merging, a move which would require the backing of both clubs’ members.

Under the plan, the bowling club would vacate its premises in the suburb’s commercial precinct and move to the golf club at Belmont South, where the combined club would build two bowling greens.

It is understood the merged club would sell the former bowling club land, which could be worth more than $3 million.

“We have been looking to diversify our income streams, boost clubhouse patronage and reduce our dependence on golf-course income for some time,” Belmont Golf Club general manager Glenn Howard told the Herald.“This is an issue facing all golf clubs.

“When Belmont Bowling Club called for expressions of interest to amalgamate in February, our club decided to submit an EOI in response.

“Subsequent meetings have been held between the two clubs, and the boards of both clubs have concluded that an amalgamation would be beneficial for the long-term sustainability of both clubs.

“A possible amalgamation with Belmont Bowling Club certainly ticks the boxes in regards to diversifying our income streams.

“A covered bowling green allows bowls to be played all year. This is something that certainly can’t be said about our golf course.

“Obviously there is a vast amount of due diligence to be carried out by both clubs. Ultimately it will be the members of both clubs who will decide if such an amalgamation is to take place.”

If the merger goes ahead, Belmont would become the latest Hunter golf club to try to shore up its financial future through redevelopment.

Cessnock, Newcastle, Shortland Watersand Merewether golf clubs are in various stages of redeveloping parts of their land holdings to offset ageing and dwindling memberships.

Belmont bought a 1.2-hectare parcel of land on its north-west boundary this year with a view to future development.

Lawn bowls clubs are facing similar challenges, and Belmont Bowling Club has no shortage of competition in the suburb from other licensed clubs.

The bowling club was rebuilt nine years ago as part of a $35 million commercial redevelopment.

Newcastle rugby:

CALL-UP: Singleton captain Nathan Brennan will make his senior NSW Country debut against Sydney Subbies. Picture: Jonathan CarrollCOACH Matt Thomas expects Singleton captain Nathan Brennan to be one of the leaders for the Cockatoos despite the lock having not played a senior game for NSW Country.


Rd 6: Hamilton v Lake Macquarie, Wanderers v Southern Beaches, University v Merewether, Nelson Bay v Maitland, Singleton v Waratahs

Brennan is one of seven Newcastle players in the squad to take on Sydney Subbies at Camden on June 4.

“You only have to see what he does for the Bulls,” said Thomas, who coached Brennan in the Country under-20s.“He basically is Singleton. He brings size and power and is more of an old-school second rower. He will play nice and tight which you need against subbies.”

Brennan is joined in the pack by Maitland No.8 Travis Brooke. Blacks halfback Jono O’Toole heads a backline that includes Dane Sherratt (10), Adrian Delore (12) and Sireli Bainivalu (11). Nelson Bay fullback Jack Arthur is on the bench. Wanderers winger Tim Marsh missed selection for the opening game.

* Wanderers stalwart Luke Sherwood had intended to kick back and play the odd game at breakawayin the lower grades this season.

Then his competitive juices took over. Sherwood played off the bench in first grade in the 68-7 win over Singleton in round two and has played similar cameos against Nelson Bay and University. His stint against the Students was the dual premiership-winning captain’s 200th in the top grade.

“He is the ultimate competitor,” coach Viv Paasi said.“He wanted to have a crack at playing open-side breakaway. I certainly didn’tdoubt him.”

* Maitland-born former Wallaby Luke Burgess will be the special guest at the Hawthorne Club mid-season lunch on Friday, June 23.

Rich pickings at Sanctuary Cove Boat ShowMark Rothfield

RICH PICKINGS: The Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show is being held at the weekend. DON’T forget your cheque book, credit cards, second mortgage and busker’s hat if you’re visiting Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show on the Gold Coast at the weekend, for there’s a been an invasion of liveaboard boats, motoryachts, passage-makers and trawlers.


“The marina is full and visitors can expect a massive selection of cruisers in every configuration,” exhibition manager Dominic O’Brien says.

Included are iconic international brands Grand Banks, Fleming, Clipper, Alaska, Integrity, Nordhavn and DeFever in the 50- to 60-foot range, with more noughts than crosses in their price tags.

Retirees looking for the ultimate ocean lifestyle, where they can travel at a fuel-efficient pace and enjoy spacious entertainment areas, are truly being spoilt for choice and the wallet will definitely burn a hole in the white slacks.

The headline act comes from Grand Banks Yachts, which is staging the world launch of its highly anticipated GB60 at the show. Grand Banks CEO Mark Richards, better known as the skipper of Wild Oats XI and Palm Beach Motor Yachts, rates it as a serious long-range cruising motoryacht.

“The GB60 is taking Grand Banks in a whole new direction in terms of appearance, performance and construction techniques,” Richards said. “We are particularly excited because this is the first collaboration effort between the design teams of both Grand Banks and Palm Beach.

ANTICIPATION: Grand Banks Yachts will stage the world launch of its GB60 at the show.

“The result is a better-performing yacht with a fresh appearance.”

Palm Beach is displaying the PB65 and PB42 – the largest and the smallest models in its range.

Australian-based Clipper Motor Yachts has a 14-berth display on A-arm boasting the new Marlow 53 cruising motoryacht – which is 59 feet in length and valued at more than $3 million.

“The Marlow 53 is in the same vein as a Fleming or a Grand Banks,” director Brett Thurley said.

“Our first one features three luxury cabins, including a full-beam king size master suite, crew quarters, gyro, utility room, hydraulic swim platform and a luxurious fit-out and finish that has to be seen to be appreciated.”

Nearby are a Clipper Cordova 60 and Clipper Explorer 50 (a ‘bargain’ at $1.15 million) but, if you don’t have bank shares, their entry level offering is the Hudson Bay 36 priced at $299,000.

Thurley’s display also includes Jeanneau Merry Fisher models such as the 695, 795, 895 and, for the first time in Australia, a Cap Cammarat 10.5 WA.The latter is an incredibly versatile design, encapsulating a day boat, centre console family entertainer and overnighter. With twin outboards, it will be equally at home when fishing offshore or cruising the lake.

Queensland dealer Leigh-Smith Yachts is showcasing Alaska, Hampton and Endurance to suit those who love to cruise home waters in style then maybe head to the Whitsundays for months at a time. A 47-foot Alaska and 72-foot Hampton motor yacht are among its $14 million display.


Basketball: Suzy Batkovic undecided on international career as fellow Novocastrian Katie Ebzrey named in Opals squadphotos

Batkovic yet to make call on Opals future TIME OUT: Suzy Batkovic is enjoying being at home in Newcastle. The Olympian is unsure about a return to the Opals. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers


TweetFacebook Suzy Batkovic and Katie Ebzery Pictures: Fairfax photographers and Getty Images+24Pictures: Fairfax photographers and Getty ImagesMORE GALLERIES

facebookSHAREtwitterTWEETemailwhatsappTHREE-TIME Olympian Suzy Batkovic has not ruledout a return to the Australian Opals despite making herself unavailable for the Asia Cup.

Batkovic, who is back in Newcastle playing for the Hunters in between Women National Basketball League seasons, wasnot in a squad of 21 named on Wednesday for a selection camp in the US next month.

Fellow Novocastrian Katie Ebzery, who has just returned home from a season with Russian club Dynamo Moscow, is one of six Rio Olympians in the group.

Batkovic was controversially left out the Opals squad which bowed out in the quarter finals in Rio –the first time Australia has returned home without a medal since 1992.

Coach Brendan Joyce, who made the call to dump Batkovic, has been replaced by former Opal Sandy Brondello.

Batkovic, 36, who has re-signed with WNBL powerhouse Townsville, was in March named the league’s most valuable player for a record fifth straight year.

“I’m unavailable for this camp for different reasons,” Batkovic said.“At the moment, where my life is at, I am just calling a bit of time out.”

Asked if she had called full-time on her international career, Batkovic said: “I’m not sure at this stage.”

Batkovic averaged 21.3 points and 10.7 boards for Townsville last season and was one of only two players to average a double-double.

For now she is enjoying being back in her home town and helping a young Hunters squad. She scored 41 points, pulled down 14 reboundsandhanded off four assists in the Hunters most recent win over Manly.

The Asia Cup, being held in Bangalore, India, is the first step on the way to the 2018 FIBA World Cup. Each semi-finalist gains automatic qualification for Spain.

Australia have been drawn into Group B where they will face Korea, Philippines and Japan.

With Brondello unavailable for the Asia Cup due to WNBA commitments, the team will be led by assistant coaches Paul Goriss and Cheryl Chambers.

“The aim of the camp is to introduce the players to the concepts and game style that Sandy will install into the Opals program,” Goriss said.“It also gives the coaching staff the opportunity to evaluate the players’ skill set that will help the team be successful in Bangalore.

“With the Olympic experience of players such as [Belinda] Snell, [Erin] Phillips and [Laura] Hodges alongside WNBA and European players in [Rachel] Jarry, [Jenna] O’Hea and [Natalie] Hurst, it will be a very tough and competitive camp.”

The camp will be held in Phoenix, Arizona, for nine days from June 25.