Sezer learns from painful NRL expectation

It took more than half the season for Aidan Sezer to learn how to deal with the high expectation that surrounded Canberra’s NRL hopes, but it’s a lesson he won’t have to take twice.

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Sezer has snapped back to form in recent weeks, as the Raiders embark on an unlikely mission of five sudden-death games to make this year’s finals series.

Among the favourites at the start of the season, Canberra slumped to seven losses in nine games midway through the year to fall as low as 12th, their finals hopes spiralled out of control.

But it was only after that seventh loss, against North Queensland last month, that Sezer learnt the key to dealing with the expectation and eventual criticism of his game.

“I made a conscious effort not to give a s*** and just play footy,” Sezer said.

“I’m just playing footy and taking every game on its merit, not worrying about what the outside public is saying.

“I dropped everything and just tried to find out why I enjoy the game. That’s come with more positive performances.”

When Sezer says he took that approach, it’s with no disrespect to the Raiders’ jersey and what the team is trying to achieve.

In fact, it’s the exact opposite.

After the loss to the Cowboys, Sezer admitted he hit a low place and was no longer a positive influence on those around him.

And he knew something had to change.

“That came with my footy as well,” he said.

“If you’re not happy you don’t play good footy, you’re not going to play in a positive manner.

“This year’s been a big learning curve for me in how to deal with a bit of adversity and playing with a team that has high expectations.

“I can speak for most of us, we’ve never been in a position where we’ve come into a season with high expectations on us.”

Subsequently, the new mindset has worked wonders for Sezer on the field.

A golden-point 40-20 against St George Illawarra highlighted his new-found confidence and he has set up three tries in the past fortnight, and busted six tackles.

After swapping sides with five-eighth Blake Austin, the Raiders have beaten the Dragons and South Sydney, while being competitive against Melbourne.

“I’m just enjoying my footy again,” Sezer said.

Eagles dominant in AFL win over Lions

West Coast forward Josh Kennedy has boosted his chances of winning a third-straight Coleman medal after booting six goals in a 68-point AFL win over Brisbane at Domain Stadium.

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In a match that failed to reach any great heights, the Eagles booted five goals to nil in the second term to set up the 17.11 (113) to 6.9 (45) victory.

West Coast’s 10th win of the year lifted them to eighth on the ladder, and brought a positive end to a tumultuous week.

The Eagles copped widespread criticism after their costly fadeout against Collingwood last round.

With questions being raised about West Coast’s ageing list, Brownlow medallist Matt Priddis announced his retirement on Friday.

Sam Mitchell is expected to follow suit in the coming weeks, with Drew Petrie and Sam Butler also set to retire at the end of the season.

Sunday’s match against the Lions featured plenty of handling errors, but West Coast coach Adam Simpson was relieved to end the week with a win.

West Coast face St Kilda at Etihad Stadium on Sunday in a game that could make or break their finals hopes.

Kennedy’s return of 6.4 and nine marks gave the crowd of 32,652 something to cheer about in a match that featured few highlights.

“He’s an A-plus talent,” Simpson said of Kennedy.

“He is a one-in-a-million type player for us. He had 10 shots today.

“There were a couple of times when there were other guys potentially on but he just has such a presence and he knows how to run.”

The 29-year-old Kennedy missed five games with a calf injury, but now has 49 goals to his name after booting 15 goals in his past three matches since returning.

Essendon’s Joe Daniher leads the Coleman race with 53 goals, while Lance Franklin and Ben Brown have 51 apiece.

Brisbane defender Daniel Rich (32 disposals) and midfielder Dayne Beams (41 disposals, nine clearances) tried their best to lift their side, but the youthful Lions were never in the hunt.

Debutant Sam Skinner produced a special moment in the first quarter when he snapped truly for his first AFL goal.

Skinner had to overcome two knee reconstructions just to get his shot at AFL level and his teammates mobbed him once he kicked the goal.

Although Brisbane finished with their lowest score of the year, coach Chris Fagan still had things to smile about.

“Jacob Allison came over and played his first game and ended up with 20 touches,” Fagan said.

“At different times his speed really stood out on the wing. He’s still got a little bit to learn.

“But I walk away from the day thinking there’s a bloke who can become an AFL player in time.

“And the same with Sam Skinner.”

Delays at Australian airports as security bolstered after alleged terror plot

Travellers have been warned to arrive two hours earlier because of “additional scrutiny” and security experts say the arrangements will likely be in place for the foreseeable future.

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“What people can expect to see is an increased police and security agency presence,” Federal Police Commissioner Andrew Colvin said in Sydney on Sunday.

“You can expect longer delays to make sure that more screening is being done on baggage – both hold luggage as well as hand luggage.”

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The measures began at Sydney Airport on Thursday before being extended across Australia.

Dr John Coyne, who heads the Australian Strategic Policy Institute’s Border Security Program, said the immediate counter measures to eliminate threats would give authorities the chance to analyse potential vulnerabilities.

Passengers might notice more precise x-ray screenings or an increase in swab tests, but there could also be more personnel behind the scenes monitoring anomalous behaviour, he said.

“The question will be how were these guys allegedly planning to get this device onto a plane,” Dr Coyne told AAP on Sunday.

Just arrived at #MelbourneAirport domestic. Screening process didn’t take any longer than normal but there was more security.

— Ricardo Goncalves (@BUSINESSricardo) July 30, 2017Exceptional work @Qantas #Sydney airport staff managing heightened security measures (+ huge queues). Professional & not a whiff of chaos!

— Joseph Scales (@JosephScales) July 30, 2017So now I have to get to airport 2 hrs early today?

— Elaine Stead (@ElaineStead) July 29, 2017

“Is there an actual vulnerability they were going to exploit, and is it something we need to mitigate.

“That will be the big question that will be faced now and over the coming weeks.”

On Saturday afternoon, NSW and Federal Police swooped on five properties in the Sydney suburbs of Surry Hills, Lakemba, Wiley Park and Punchbowl and arrested four men.

0:00 Sydney anti-terror raids conducted over ‘plot’ Share Sydney anti-terror raids conducted over ‘plot’

Mr Colvin said terrorists were becoming “ingenious” about coming up with ways to bypass security, but he was also confident Australian security procedures would have stopped the plan.

Dr Coyne agreed and said constant reviews and input from international experts kept travellers safe.

“I don’t mean to sound flippant, but you’re still safer travelling by plane anywhere in the world – even with the current counter terror threat – than you are driving on Australian roads, if you’re talking about statistical probability of getting hurt or killed.”

Mr Colvin said there was no reason to believe the integrity of airport security had been compromised.

The terrorism threat level in Australia was raised to “probable” in 2014.

0:00 Counter-terrorism expert analyses Sydney terror ‘plot’ response Share Counter-terrorism expert analyses Sydney terror ‘plot’ response

Since that time, terror incidents overseas have involved everyday items including vehicles being used as weapons.

But in a submission to a Senate committee examining aviation security, the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) noted “civilian aviation will remain a high-value terrorist target for the foreseeable future”.

Terrorists were “adapting to security measures already in place and subsequently changing and refining their methods”, the committee’s report said.

Two killed, four wounded in German disco shooting: police

The 34-year-old attacker “was critically injured in a shootout with police officers as he left the disco, and later succumbed to his wounds in hospital,” police said in a statement.

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Police said they did not believe that a nightclub shooting in the southern city of Constance was a terror attack.

“We’re not assuming that this is an act of terrorist violence,” Fritz Bezikofer told rolling news channel NTV.

Officers began receiving emergency calls from terrified clubbers at around 4:30 am (0230 GMT) after the man began shooting in the nightclub in an industrial zone in the city of Constance, killing one person on the spot and leaving three other people seriously wounded.

Police officers stand at the door of the night club ‘Grey’ in Konstanz, Germany, 30 July 2017 (AAP)AAP

Shortly after he left the building, he was shot by police. One officer was also injured in the exchange of fire.

Terrified nightclubbers had either fled the building or found a place to hide, police said, adding that the danger was now over.

Helicopters were circling overhead and special forces were also deployed to secure the site.

Local broadcaster SWR reported witnesses saying that the gunman was armed with an automatic pistol. 

A bouncer at the site had sought to stop the attacker, but was himself injured by the man, SWR said.

The shooting came just two days after Germany was shaken by a knife attack in the northern port city of Hamburg.

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A 26-year-old Palestinian had killed one and injured six in an assault at a supermarket.

He was a known Islamist with psychological problems, and investigators say his motives remain unclear.

Germany has been on high alert about the threat of a jihadist attack, especially since last December’s truck rampage through a Berlin Christmas market that claimed 12 lives.

But it has also been hit by other assaults unrelated to the jihadist threat.

Among the deadliest in recent years is a Munich shopping mall rampage by 18-year-old German-Iranian man which left 10 people dead including the gunman himself.

Labor pledges to crack down on ‘unfair’ family trusts

The opposition has unveiled plans to impose a 30 per cent tax rate on payments to adults from discretionary trusts.

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It says this will curb the legal but unfair practice of high income-earners funnelling money through trusts to lower-earning family members, thus avoiding paying top tax rates.

“The lucky few, riding the business end of the tax system are able to opt out of paying taxes,” Opposition Leader Bill Shorten told reporters in Sydney on Sunday.

“Nice deal if you can get it! The real challenge here is that we want to create one system for Australians.”

The 30 per cent level is just below the second marginal income tax rate, paid by people earning less than $87,000 a year.

0:00 Shorten promises Republic vote Share Shorten promises Republic vote

The policy will “prevent leakage” in the billions from the federal budget, adding $4.1 billion to commonwealth coffers over four years and $17.2 billion over a decade, Mr Shorten said.

Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen issued a challenge to the Turnbull government.

“Either come out today and defend income splitting, defend the current arrangements and promise no change, or admit there’s a problem and look at adopting Labor’s proposals,” he told reporters, anticipating the government

would opt for a scare campaign.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann offered a flavour of the response on Sunday morning, though conceded he didn’t know the full details of Labor’s policy.

“This is ultimately going to be a tax hike in particular on the many small business operators across Australia who use trust structures as a legitimate way of managing their financial affairs,” he told Sky News.

“They will want to see how Bill Shorten thinks he’s going to be able to take $17 billion out of their pockets.”

He said trusts were predominantly used for legitimate purposes and there was an integrity taskforce within the tax office to rout out the rorters.

Mr Bowen acknowledged there were legitimate uses, such as asset protection for small business owners or succession planning.

Labor’s “carefully calibrated” changes shouldn’t affect these.

“There are many, many hundreds of thousands of small businesses in Australia and most don’t use discretionary trusts,” he said.

“Where a small business is employing a family member … they will or can pay them a wage and of course they’ll be taxed at the normal rate and they can claim the tax-free threshold, there’s no change.”

Farm trusts, charitable trusts, disability and those set up to manage deceased estates will be exempt.

There are about 642,000 discretionary trusts operating in Australia and Labor estimates its policy will affect 315,000 of these – and 98 per cent of taxpayers will see no change.

Left-wing think tank The Australia Institute says there has been an explosion in the use of discretionary trusts in recent years and they now hold more than $3.1 trillion.

Income from trusts overwhelmingly flows to the wealthiest Australians, director Ben Oquist told reporters, with more than half going to the top 0.5 per cent of the population.

“It’s time something was done about them. This is a modest step in the right direction by Labor today,” he said.

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