Greg Hunt’s whaling patrol ‘not up to task’ says Air Force Chief Geoff Brown

Air Force Chief Geoff Brown has thrown doubt on the effectiveness of Environment Minister Greg Hunt’s switch to using aircraft to monitor Antarctic whaling.

“The [Airbus] A319 is not suitable for that task,” Air Marshall Brown told a Senate estimates hearing on Wednesday.

“The word surveillance can mean many things,” he said. “Surveillance out of a passenger aeroplane is a pretty limited operation.”

He said the Air Force considered all options for the whaling surveillance task, including its P3 Orion and C-17 Globemasters, but found them unsuitable because they lacked the range to operate off the Antarctic coast.

Air Marshall Brown indicated that the Boeing P8s, which Defence announced last Friday would be arriving in Australia in 2017, would be suitable for the task.

“The recent announcement of the [Boeing] P8 will certainly give us capability to get down there because it’s air-to-air refuellable, which the P3 isn’t.” Air Marshall Brown was responding to questions from the Greens Senator, Peter Whish-Wilson, who has been pursuing the government over its whaling policy in estimates.

“I never expected that the final demolition of their plan’s credibility would come from the Chief of the Air Force,” Senator Whish-Wilson said after the hearing.

Mr Hunt announced the A319 would fulfil the whaling patrol role last December, despite an election commitment to send a Customs vessel south to monitor the conflict.

Originally leased by his department’s Australian Antarctic Division to fly personnel to Antarctica, he said the A319’s purpose on the whaling flights would be to record incidents on the high seas.

“It will be to ensure there is a presence to make sure that there is no conflict between the parties,” Mr Hunt said. “It will also be to ensure that there is awareness from all parties that the world is watching.” The leased long range aircraft has since conducted a single flight under the control of the Customs and Border Protection Service at a cost of $93,248, estimates heard.

It was absent from all three confrontations between Japanese whalers and conservationists so far this season, which occurred in the Ross Sea region, far south-east of Australia.

Sea Shepherd captain Peter Hammarstedt said in a plea to Mr Hunt that an Australian Customs vessel could have documented when the conservationists’ ships were blockaded by whaling vessels towing steel wires.

“In the absence of any kind of enforcement down here, and as promises are broken, my ship is getting battered and my crew are getting pummelled,” Mr Hammarstedt said.

A response was sought from Mr Hunt.

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Canberrans the most web-savvy in the nation

Canberrans take to the internet quicker than most. Photo: Lyn Osborn Canberrans take to the internet quicker than most. Photo: Lyn Osborn

Canberrans take to the internet quicker than most. Photo: Lyn Osborn

Canberrans are taking to the online world quicker than other Australian city dwellers in almost every way – with the apparent exception of social networking.

Figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics show Australia’s growing reliance on the internet, and in particular online shopping.

And nowhere is that reliance higher than in the ACT.

The report found 91 per cent of Canberrans used the internet in 2012-13 and 98 per cent connected from home. Both rates remain the highest in the country.

Canberrans also have the fastest connections, they are online more frequently and appear to be doing more while there.

Almost two thirds of Canberrans have bought CDs, music, videos or books online, well up on the 51 per cent average for major cities – and up on the 44 per cent recorded in the 2010-11 data.

Canberrans were also the most likely in the nation to access government service and listen to music or watching videos online, with about a third of all residents saying they did so.

The territory was also the only jurisdiction with more people downloading videos and music, at 51 per cent, than not.

However, the territory had the lowest percentage of people using social media, at 64 per cent, compared with 67 per cent for major cities across the country.

The data revealed that 90 percent of Australians aged between 15 and 17 used social media.

The managing director of Canberra based marketing agency Voodoo Creative, John Yanny, believes the make-up of the city’s workforce might be a factor in this discrepancy.

“Canberra has a significant migratory population with many people coming in and out of the city for work. Another factor is might be the lack of access to social media in many public service department,” he said.

More than three quarters of Australia’s 15.4 million internet users now shop online, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

In Canberra, 81 percent of internet users booked their travel, accommodation and memberships online in 2012-13.

Travelscene Canberra managing director Simon Lightbody said the number of people planning and purchasing their holidays online was rising.

“We are increasingly contacted by people who have started an internet process but have had trouble proceeding because it’s been too difficult or because they have been burnt in the process,” he said.

“People have different expectations and standards of service when they shop online,” he said.

Australian Retailers Association executive director Russell Zimmerman said the growth of online shopping had had a lingering impact on Canberra’s retail sector.

“We’re seeing more and more retailers begin to understand that they need to be engaged with their consumers through multiple channels, that includes the internet,” he said.

According to latest findings, those who refrained from shopping online did so because they held security concerns regarding credit card payment or because they preferred to shop in person or had no need to.

Canberrans who didn’t use the internet for shopping were more concerned about credit card security than elsewhere. About 17 per cent cited this as a concern, compared with the average major cities of 13 per cent.

Internet use was most prolific with those aged between 15 and 17 years-of-age, while only 46 per cent of those aged more than 65 years-old used the internet.

Across the nation, the most popular activities performed online were paying bills, online banking, and social networking.

Barry O’Farrell ‘dropped in’ on meeting attended by Nick Di Girolamo and Chris Hartcher

Bary O’Farrell: “I stress the fact that I dropped in to say hello to the president.” Photo: Supplied Nick Di Girolamo: registered lobbyist for the Korean government-owned company Kores. Photo: Nick Moir

Named in an ICAC inquiry: former resources minister Chris Hartcher. Photo: Sasha Woolley

Premier Barry O’Farrell has been forced to admit he “dropped in” on a meeting attended by Liberal identity Nick Di Girolamo and former resources minister Chris Hartcher, whose relationship is being examined as part of a major corruption inquiry.

The government has also admitted the meeting, on February 28, 2012, may have occurred before Mr Di Girolamo was placed on the official lobbyist register representing the Korean government-owned company Kores, raising questions about whether Mr Hartcher breached the ministerial code of conduct.

Kores had been seeking approval for the controversial $800 million Wallarah 2 coal mine on the Central Coast – a project Mr O’Farrell had promised to block while in opposition, but which was recently given planning department support.

Mr O’Farrell’s admission in question time came only minutes after Mr O’Farrell told Parliament that ‘‘to the best of my knowledge’’ he had not met with Mr Di Girolamo over the controversial mine project.

The Premier subsequently told Parliament he had been ‘‘approached on two occasions’’ for a meeting with Kores Australia, on November 15, 2012 and March 8 last year.

However he said the meetings ‘‘did not proceed. That’s to the best of my knowledge’’.

Under the questioning by Opposition Leader John Robertson and Maroubra MP Michael Daley, Mr O’Farrell then told Parliament that records do not show any of his staff meeting Mr Di Girolamo over Wallarah 2.

But he added: ‘‘Records do show that on the 28th of February [2012], during his visit to Sydney, I dropped in for five minutes to a meeting between the president of Kores, Mr [Kim Shin-jong] and the minister for resources and energy [Mr Hartcher], and I am advised that amongst the nine people present was Mr Di Girolamo.’’

Mr O’Farrell went on to say that ‘‘I stress the fact that I dropped in to say hello to the president and to apologise for the fact that I hadn’t previously been able to see him’’.

However, on Wednesday night his office did not explain how he could have been seeking to apologise for not holding meetings that were only requested nine months later or, alternatively, if he failed to disclose to Parliament other approaches.

Asked why Mr Di Girolamo attended the meeting, given he had yet to register as a lobbyist, a spokesman said following media inquiries in March 2013 ‘‘it was noticed by the premier’s office that Mr Di Girolamo’s placement on the lobbyist register may have occurred shortly after [the February 28 meeting]’’.

‘‘The Premier’s chief of staff immediately reported this to the director general of the department of premier and cabinet,’’ the spokesman said.

The ministerial code states ministers must abide by the lobbying code of conduct, which forbids them meeting with lobbyists who are not on the official register.

It is the first time Mr O’Farrell has acknowledged any contact with Mr Di Girolamo over Wallarah 2 since Fairfax Media first raised the issue in March last year.

It has previously been revealed that in December 2012, Mr Di Girolamo sought to organise a meeting between a senior Kores executive and Planning Minister Brad Hazzard over Wallarah 2. However, that meeting did not proceed either as Mr Hazzard was unavailable at the time. Last week Mr Di Girolamo and Mr Hartcher were named in an inquiry being undertaken by the Independent Commission Against Corruption.

Among the allegations being examined is that as chief executive of a water infrastructure firm, Australian Water Holdings, Mr Di Girolamo agreed the company would make ‘‘regular payments’’ to a company called Eightbyfive. Eightbyfive was owned by Tim Koelma, who was a volunteer in Mr Hartcher’s electorate office before the March 2011 election and became his senior policy advisor.

ICAC says it is alleged the payments were made ‘‘purportedly for the provision of media, public relations and other services and advice’’, in return for which Mr Hartcher ‘‘favoured the interests of AWH’’.

The Wallarah 2 project was denied approval by the former Labor government just before the March 2011 state election.

As opposition leader, Mr O’Farrell and his Central Coast spokesman, Mr Hartcher, had held a rally in 2009 opposing the project, dressed in red T-shirts bearing the slogan ‘‘water not coal’’. Mr O’Farrell told the rally: “The next Liberal-National government will ensure mining cannot occur here … no ifs, no buts. A guarantee.”

In January 2012, Kores resubmitted its plans shortly after Mr Hartcher, as the new resources minister, told Parliament all mining proposals should be subject to “merit-based assessments”. In March 2012, Mr Di Girolamo registered as a lobbyist with the NSW Parliament via his company Westin Strategic Consulting. Kores was its sole client.

In October 2012, Kores lodged a development application.

Last week, the NSW Department of Planning announced it was recommending Wallarah 2 be approved, subject to strict conditions.

The project will be considered by the Planning Assessment Commission, which had previously recommended that 40 conditions be attached to any approval.

App showcasesScott sisters’ visionary art

THE Scott sisters were scientists 160 years ahead of their time.

Now their work from the 1850s and 1860s drawing and describing Australian moths and butterflies is showcased in a mobile phone app for the Australian Museum that connects the then with the now.

It wasn’t unusual for 19th-century women to collect butterflies, and draw and paint, but the Scott sisters’ level of expertise was highly unusual for their time, Vanessa Finney, manager of archives with the museum, said.

‘‘They collected, they described, they drew and then they painted, so they were working scientists as well as artists.’’

By using their brushes to capture the beauty of nature’s curiosities they entered ‘‘the male-dominated world of colonial science.’’

So frustrated were they by 19th century attitudes towards women as scientists, Harriet wrote she clearly ‘‘ought to have been Harry Scott instead of Hattie Scott.’’

The app includes 100 handpainted images by the Scotts featuring 180 species of butterflies and moths. It was developed for the museum as part of a NSW government program to take state treasures, data and assets out of mothballs and museums.

By clicking on an insect in each image, the user is taken to current scientific data including details of where it can be found today, and records showing sightings since the Scott sisters first recorded it back in the 1850s and 1860s.

Peter Chen, vice-president of design with app developer Beaconmaker, said he tried to let the paintings speak for themselves.

‘‘The painting is very delicate and beautiful as it is, so we took a minimal approach to interface design,’’ he said.

The Scott sisters’ work was also recognised internationally. On August 8, 1851, their work received a glowing review by a visiting British zoologist featured on the front page of The Sydney Morning Herald .

They became the first and only women to receive honorary membership of the NSW Entomological Society, and in later life, after their father went bankrupt, they made a living illustrating books of natural history. One of the sisters, Helena, also meticulously dried and pressed more than 250 plant specimens that were used as a guide in the 1990s for the rehabilitation of the Kooragang Wetland near Newcastle.

Now their works are regarded as a state treasure, Minister for Finance, Andrew Constance said.

The app, The Art of Science: Butterfly and Moth Paintings by the Scott Sisters, for iPhone will be launched on Friday.

Images from the app The Art of Science: Butterfly and Moth Paintings by the Scott Sisters, which will be launched on Friday.

Images from the app The Art of Science: Butterfly and Moth Paintings by the Scott Sisters, which will be launched on Friday.

Images from the app The Art of Science: Butterfly and Moth Paintings by the Scott Sisters, which will be launched on Friday.

Images from the app The Art of Science: Butterfly and Moth Paintings by the Scott Sisters, which will be launched on Friday.

Images from the app The Art of Science: Butterfly and Moth Paintings by the Scott Sisters, which will be launched on Friday.

Images from the app The Art of Science: Butterfly and Moth Paintings by the Scott Sisters, which will be launched on Friday.

Images from the app The Art of Science: Butterfly and Moth Paintings by the Scott Sisters, which will be launched on Friday.

Images from the app The Art of Science: Butterfly and Moth Paintings by the Scott Sisters, which will be launched on Friday.

Images from the app The Art of Science: Butterfly and Moth Paintings by the Scott Sisters, which will be launched on Friday.

Images from the app The Art of Science: Butterfly and Moth Paintings by the Scott Sisters, which will be launched on Friday.

Images from the app The Art of Science: Butterfly and Moth Paintings by the Scott Sisters, which will be launched on Friday.

Images from the app The Art of Science: Butterfly and Moth Paintings by the Scott Sisters, which will be launched on Friday.

Images from the app The Art of Science: Butterfly and Moth Paintings by the Scott Sisters, which will be launched on Friday.

Ex-Gunns chief John Gay to face proceeds of crime case

Comment: Why ASIC lets the big fish go

Corporate regulator ASIC says it still wants to pursue a proceeds of crime case against convicted Gunns ex-chairman John Gay, despite an Australian Federal Police decision to drop it.

ASIC is turning to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions for help with the high-profile case, a Senate estimates committee was told.

“We are very focussed on pursuing it,” ASIC chairman Greg Medcraft told the committee on Wednesday.Mr Gay was fined $50,000 in 2013 after pleading guilty to insider trading over the sale in late 2009 of $3.09 million worth of the timber company’s shares, before they fell by 19 cents a share.

Mr Gay was described by trial judge David Porter at sentencing as “being of exemplary character”, but the amount of the fine drew claims of leniency.ASIC did not appeal.

It referred the case to the AFP which said last month it would not  pursue a proceeds of crime action.

AFP assistant commissioner Michael Phelan told estimates on Tuesday one of the obstacles to a prosecution was the need to satisfy a judge about the amount of a fraud, some years later.Under questioning from Greens Senator for Tasmania Peter Whish-Wilson, ASIC’s senior executive leader for markets enforcement, Chris Savundra, said in this case the AFP was not the only agency that could pursue a conviction for proceeds of crime.

“Proceeds of crime remains a live issue,” Mr Savundra said. “We are in a dialogue with the DPP in relation to proceeds.”However Mr Medcraft told Senator Whish-Wilson it had to be determined whether there were any funds to be gained.

“Just a warning on this,” Mr Medcraft said.

“You’ve always got to be aware that people can organise their affairs in such a way that assets cannot be reached.”

Senator Whish-Wilson said outside the hearing that the case was a significant matter of public interest.

“Penalties for white collar crime need to be further strengthened and I hope that the recommendations from the Senate Inquiry into ASIC will reflect the community desire for this change”, he said.

Gunns collapsed in 2012 and is being sold off in administration, with expressions of interest in major assets due to close on 31 March.

Paul Mulvihill shows court how he accidentally stabbed Rachelle Yeo twice

Accused murderer Paul Mulvihill at the NSW Supreme Court. Photo: Edwina PicklesA pharmaceutical sales manager accused of murdering his ex-lover has tearfully re-enacted the struggle in which he claims the young woman was accidentally stabbed on two occasions, declaring: “I would never ever dream of hurting anyone”.

Paul Darren Mulvihill broke down repeatedly as he told a Supreme Court jury on Wednesday that his colleague and former lover, Rachelle Yeo, had come at him with a large stainless steel kitchen knife after he went to her northern beaches home on July 16, 2012.

Theone-time Brisbane school and club rugby star said that after arguing about the end of their relationship, Ms Yeo slapped him hard in the face which he responded to by pushing her hard into the unit’s kitchen.

“As I pushed her she turned,” he said.

“I couldn’t see what her hand was doing … but when she turned around she confronted me with a very large stainless steel knife. She said, ‘get the f— out of here’.”

“I said, ‘Rachelle, don’t be f—n stupid’.”

“She lashed out at me, towards my right chest area [with the knife]. I brought my right hand up to defend myself and the knife cut me at the bottom of my palm.

“When she slashed me I thought ‘I’m in massive trouble here’.”

Mr Mulvihill said he grabbed hold of Ms Yeo’s right hand which was holding the knife and that during a brief struggle she fell backwards, pulling him down on top of her – an action he later demonstrated to the court.

He said that as they hit the floor the knife went into Ms Yeo’s right side.

“At the time I just knew that the knife hit her somewhere in the right side. I could feel it hit something hard. When I looked at the knife again it had blood on it.”

“I thought if I let her go, if I let go it’s coming for me.”

“It wasn’t a situation where I could just leave … the knife was just so sharp,” he said, crying.

The 46-year-old then told the court that in the ensuing struggle he punched Ms Yeo in the face and managed to wrest the knife from her grasp.

He put the knife down nearby, got up and started to move away when he saw that Ms Yeo was going for the weapon again.

He tackled the 31-year-old and grabbed the knife before she reached it but she took hold at the same time.

He managed to get on top of the bleeding woman, the court heard and told her repeatedly, “Let it go, let it go”.

Mr Mulvihill told the court that he had told neighbours who were banging on the door, “We’re OK, we’re all right”, claiming that he did so to “calm her [Rachelle] down”.

It was as he was trying to get up that the second stab wound to the neck occurred, Mr Mulvihill said.

“I was pushing down on her to use her as leverage to get up and the knife is [horizontal] between us,” he said, again demonstrating the action to the court.

“I was pushing against something and then suddenly the pressure was gone and … she turned her head to the right and the knife went into … into her neck.”

“Just looking at the blood coming out the side of her neck … the blood was pouring out … I looked at her and I knew that it was bad. I’ve grabbed her right hand and said ‘f—, put your hand on it, put your hand on it.

“People were bashing at the door, saying that police were on the way. Blood was pouring out.

“I never ever would dream of hurting anyone …”

“I just panicked. I knew I shouldn’t be there …I saw the balcony and I just walked over, put my hand on the rail and swung myself over.”

The trial continues.

Zack Greinke doesn’t care for Australia, and why should he?

To the many zeroes on his pay cheque and his scorecards, Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke added another this week. He said he sensed “zero excitement” about the Dodgers’ impending trip to Sydney for their season opener next month. “There just isn’t any excitement to it,” he told ESPN. “I can’t think of one reason to be excited for it.”

Grainke’s lack of excitement excited a surplus of it here. Organisers of the ambitious Sydney venture dashed off a “please explain” to the Dodgers, though Grainke’s utterance could hardly have been more self-explanatory.

LA replied with an explanation of Greinke, saying that he was an “endearing contrarian”, but more to the point, a famous stickler for routine, and Sydney trip would throw his out. LA said it would take no action against Greinke. Incidentally, said president Stan Karsten, the rest of the club could not get onto the plane to Sydney fast enough.

Now that the wave of non-excitement has passed, a question remains: which was Greinke’s greater offence, to speak his mind, or that its contents betrayed massive indifference to the idea of visiting Australia?

The sportsman who talks honestly stands to run foul of a society-wide double standard, which insists that public figures speak candidly and reserves the right to take offence when they do. Think of Dave Warner’s “scared eyes” assessment of England’s batsmen after the first Test of the Ashes summer. Morally, what would have been worse, his bluntness, or another platitude, which is a white-ish form of lie?

Should Grainke have called it as he saw it, or sugar-coated – that is, falsified – his sentiments to propitiate commercial interests? Of course, there are limits to free speech – taste for one, the risk of harm to innocents for another – but Grainke did not stray anywhere near those.

Evidently, he did hurt Australia’s pride. Looking through the telescope from our end, it is impossible to see anywhere else he and the Dodgers might have gone to play. Looking from their end, Australia is one of dozens of places they might have fetched up, most a great deal closer to the US than a 15-hour plane ride away.

Strange as it might seem to us in our isolation, not everyone else in the world has a fetish for crocodiles, koalas and kangaroos, let alone Kangaroos. Not every Mohammed is prepared to come to our mountain.

By and large, professional sportspeople travel disinterestedly, because they have to. The Dodgers are coming to Australia not especially for Australia’s sake, but for baseball’s. Australia, Azerbaijan, whatever. Even then, they are hedging their bets, as they look likely to leave behind their first-choice pitcher Clayton Kershaw, so as not to overtax him with hundreds of games to come.

Greinke has been subjected to a double standard doubled, reproving him for speaking honestly, and for honestly dissing Australia. He is coming anyway, because he is contractually bound. “It’s a baseball thing. It’s an ownership thing, spreading stuff around,” he said. “That’s what it’s for and it’s for the greater good of baseball.”

Hopefully, he will enjoy himself. In the meantine, he has already served a third self-contradictory purpose. By professing disinterest in the Dodgers’ pair of games in Australia, he has stirred up a great deal more interest in them than could have been expected more than three weeks out.

Drayton South slows mining as approval process drags

THE Drayton coalmine, near Muswellbrook, is reducing its roster and says it will have to cut staff as a result of delays in the approval of the proposed Drayton South extension.

The company announced yesterday it would be moving from a seven-day to a five-day roster from July 1.

Mine general manager Clarence Robertson said the roster change was an unavoidable step to slow production and extend the life of the mine for as long as possible.

‘‘We are persevering to secure state government approval for Drayton South, but as a result of the delays with the approvals process we have run out of time to achieve the overlap we needed to keep the entire workforce employed while we developed the project,’’ Mr Robertson said.

‘‘Regrettably, with the change in roster we will be reducing the number of crews at site by one and taking out some equipment, which will mean some job losses and redundancies are likely.’’

The Drayton South project would extend the life of the 30-year-old Drayton mine, which is due to run out of mineable reserves next year.

The mine employs about 500 people, many of whom would move to the Drayton South project.

The Planning Assessment Commission panel recommended late last year Drayton South be rejected.

It found the proposed extension would have significant adverse effects on two nearby horse studs, Darley and Coolmore, as a result of dust, noise and the loss of the rural landscape.

A new panel of members will now re-evaluate the project.

Mr Robertson said the commission’s report was disappointing.

‘‘We have lodged our detailed response to the commission’s conclusions with the Department of Planning, and we continue our efforts to secure the necessary project approval without further delay.

‘‘For now, the next steps for us will be determining the detail for the roster changes we need to implement and starting formal consultation with the relevant people.

‘‘We understand this is a difficult time and we are providing our employees with assistance and support.’’

ASADA has completed its probe into the AFL and NRL, says chief executive

Investigation complete: Outgoing ASADA chief executive Aurora Andruska. Photo: Alex EllinghausenThe Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority has completed its investigation of the AFL and NRL, the body’s chief told a Senate hearing on Wednesday.

Outgoing ASADA chief executive Aurora Andruska said the authority was now reviewing the evidence it had gathered and developing briefs.

Andruska said former Federal Court judge Garry Downes would review the evidence to determine whether it was sufficient to take cases forward.

But she said Downes’ work would not hold up the authority’s work, and it would continue to prepare briefs and could issue show cause letters to players and take matters through the Anti-Doping Rule Violation panel and other tribunals while Downes completed his review.

ASADA said an Australian Federal Police and Deloitte investigation had found no one within their organisation was responsible for leaking sensitive information to the media.

During the peak of ASADA’s investigation into players in the NRL and AFL, several sensitive documents were published in the media last year that related to football clubs Cronulla and Essendon.

It was enough to force Andruska to call in the AFP and Deloitte to go over the organisation with a fine-tooth comb.

“There were media suggestions, and from other quarters, that the organisation was leaking,” she told a Senate estimates hearing on Wednesday.

“I brought in Deloitte and the AFP to make examination of any leaks occurring, and there were none. ASADA was not leaking.”

Andruska said the investigation examined all communication that had been made and received by the organisation over the past several years.

She said she could only speculate where the leaks came from, and when invited by the senators to do so, replied: “I don’t think that’s an answer I’d give”.

The investigation into both Cronulla and Essendon’s supplements programs has been completed, but ASADA is reviewing its evidence meaning players could still be issued with infraction notices.


Fantasy footy: overrated and underrated players


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I’ve done a couple of mock drafts and a couple of real ones now and I’ve realised that there are just some players who I don’t particularly have anything against, but I just won’t end up with them simply because someone else is prepared to take them a lot higher than I am.Overrated

Players get hyped up in the pre-season to such an extent that some drafters rate them way above realistic expectations, drafting them before players you rate more. These are guys you should keep an eye on to avoid if possible, as you’ll end up throwing out your team balance and pay too much for them. Controversy may arise from some of the players I have named in the overrated category, but I think people can get better value elsewhere.

Chad Wingard

Here’s a guy I picked up in a league last year off the waiver wire and who served me very well. Although he is a forward and forward scarcity is high I don’t believe it’s worth paying a third rounder for him. That’s where he has been going and that is the price you’re going to have to pay to get him. I can see why people draft him there, he’s young and could improve significantly on his average, but for me one year of fantasy relevant production isn’t enough of a sample size for a third round pick. Late 4th, early 5th as my 2nd forward, sure I’ll take him, but definitely not as my 3rd selection when guys like Brent Stanton and Keiren Jack have been sliding past there.

Dayne Zorko

Yes there have many pre season rumblings about how good he is going in pre-season and how much midfield time he is going to get with several young Lions departing in the off-season. But he burnt fantasy owners including this one so badly last season. I had him in one league and he wasn’t even startable, only averaging 74 fantasy points when I spent a 4th round pick to get him. If you believe the hype you’re going to have to pay a 9th or 10th round pick to get him, I’m not prepared to pay that price when there is a guy like Tom Lynch still available who averaged 87 fantasy points last year, and is young and can improve further.

Lance Franklin

Buddy has been going in the middle of the second round in drafts that I have participated in so far, which is way too early for my liking. If you take a look at the Footy Prophet rankings you’ll see I have him a lot lower than the other guys. There is a valid reason for this; he averaged 78 last year! Yes, he has averaged 100 in seasons gone by, but I am not willing to accept the amount of risk that comes with spending a second round pick on him. If he repeats his fantasy production from last year he isn’t worth a 10th round pick. I feel like no one else is taking this into account, and people are drafting him as if last year never happened.


From the drafts I have completed so far I have realised that there are players that are slipping far too late for no particular reason. The value on midfielders in the middle rounds are fantastic, simply because teams who can’t resist the temptation to load up on the premium midfielders at the top end of the draft are the same teams scrambling for backs and forwards in the middle rounds. Here are a few players I have found myself picking up late.

Richard Douglas

The 27-year-old was in great form last year, excelling in the Adelaide midfield. He averaged 96 fantasy points in 2013. He has since had his forward eligibility taken away from him, and is now only available as a midfield option in Ultimate Footy. This may why people are shying away, but you can grab him around the 13th round in most drafts. With Nathan Van Berlo to miss a lot of the season, Douglas should remain a crucial cog in that Adelaide midfield and maintain his fantasy production from 2013.

James Kelly

The 30 year old has averaged in the mid 90s for four years on the trot; there is no reason to suggest that 2014 will be any different. Yet he is often available around the 10th round. If you’re thinking of going into your draft with a strategy to get some backs and forwards early, then you may want to have a look at a guy like Kelly as your 3rd or 4th midfielder. He’ll often give you as much production as some guys drafted in the 4th or 5th round, with minimal fuss.

Jordan Lewis

Here is another example of a guy being drafted too late, simply because his position eligibility has changed. The 27 year old has hovered around the 90 point average mark virtually his whole career, but he has become an unfashionable pick in fantasy drafts this year, going around the 12th or 13th round. Be sure to keep an eye on him. He’s the most durable component of the premiership winning midfield, and one of the few under 30.

There is plenty of great value in the midfield this year in the middle rounds. My strategy is to load up on the high end defenders and forwards early on in the draft. Then I go out and grab consistent guys to fill up my midfield in the middle rounds. The problem fantasy draft players run into is being out of depth in the defence or up forward when an injury or 2 comes along. So go ahead and stack your forward and defence in your draft, I’d rather go shopping for waiver wire options in the midfield early in the season than in the forward and defensive lines.

Article supplied by Footy Prophet (www.footyprophet爱杭州同城论坛m) – football analysis and opinion with a fantasy focus. Be a part of the game.