September, 2019

Booze bracelets effective at keeping repeat drink-drivers sober, advocates say

Serial drink-drivers could be fitted with alcohol-monitoring bracelets. Photo: Jerry GaleaAlcohol-monitoring ankle bracelets for drink-drivers and domestic violence abusers are being considered by police and substance-abuse experts as part of a scheme that would force repeat offenders to stay sober.
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Supporters say abstinence orders for offenders with serial alcohol-related convictions would improve public health and safety and reduce crime, particularly among young men whose drinking poses a risk to the community.

Courts would require those with serial convictions to give up drinking for up to six months and wear ankle bracelets that provide round-the-clock monitoring of blood-alcohol levels.

The “sobriety tags” return readings every 30 minutes through the wearer’s sweat, with results being sent to a judge or parole officer. Another option under consideration is a breathalysing scheme, in which offenders make twice-daily visits to a police station or testing centre. If they fail a test they are jailed for 24 to 48 hours, with prison terms escalating for repeated failures.

The 24/7 Sobriety Program has been successfully adopted in some US states and will next month be rolled out across London, after a pilot scheme found the ankle bracelets had a 92 per cent compliance rate.

Both the bracelets and the breathalysing program have been shown to markedly reduce drink-driving offences, car crashes, family violence incidents and premature deaths.

“Any program that has results like this is worth looking at. When you’re using a drug that kills 5500 people a year we have to try some different ways of reducing the deaths and the hospitalisations,” John Rogerson, chief executive of the Australian Drug Foundation, said.

“It’s a mammoth cost to our community, around $17 billion a year. The people they have tested this program with are people with really high-risk drinking who have previously struggled to have any traction in turning that around so there is every economic and health reason to pilot the program.”

At a drug reform forum in Melbourne on Tuesday, senior police officials and substance-abuse experts heard about the sobriety program in a presentation by Beau Kilmer, co-director of California’s RAND Drug Policy Research Centre.

Steve Fontana, Assistant Commissioner of Victoria Police, attended the forum and told Fairfax Media he believed the scheme had merit and he was keen to learn more.

Stefan Gruenert, chief executive of alcohol and drug treatment centre Odyssey House Victoria, also backed the program.

Professor Kilmer was visiting Australia for a national drug reform summit at Parliament House in Canberra on Thursday. He has evaluated both the alcohol bracelets and the breathalysing program in South Dakota in the US Midwest and said they had significant public health benefits.

“In counties where these programs were adopted you saw a 12 per cent reduction in the total number of drunk driver arrests and a 9 per cent reduction in domestic violence arrests. It was also associated with a 4 per cent reduction in mortality across the community.”

Professor Kilmer said there were initial concerns the program would lead to jails becoming overcrowded but it had the opposite effect.

“The program is really focused on providing swift and certain but very fair sanctions and it’s holding people accountable,” he said.

“For the people in this program, their drinking has led them to engage in behaviours where they have repeatedly threatened public health and safety and in some ways it forces people to reduce their consumption.”

Britain’s Justice Secretary Michael Gove last month announced the government would help fund the “sobriety tag” program across London, saying it would cut crime and protect the public.

Victoria Police spokeswoman Senior Sergeant Sharon Darcy said the program was being discussed in the Royal Commission into Family Violence and it was an option police command was considering.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.


Matildas on brink of Rio qualification, boost for Australian women’s game

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If he carries on like this, Matildas coach Alen Stajcic will soon be able to rival Socceroos boss Ange Postecoglou for popularity.

The 42-year-old has guided the Matildas to a perfect three wins out of three matches in their opening games in the Asian qualifying tournament for the Rio Olympics, and Australia, following its 2-0 win over South Korea in the game on Friday night, is now in the box seat to take one of the two positions available for Asian nations.

With two matches to go Australia is almost there, with nine points and a massive goal difference of plus 13.

But arguably the two toughest tests, against North Korea and China, still loom on Sunday and Tuesday.

Avoid defeat in just one of those two matches and the Australians can start packing their bags for Brazil.

With each nation now having played three games Australia cannot be caught by the disappointing hosts, Japan, nor South Korea or strugglers Vietnam.

Japan, with just a solitary point from a draw with South Korea, has been a huge failure in front of its own fans. The team that last year reached the final of the Women’s World Cup cannot now hope to qualify for Brazil.

The Matildas could still slip up, but they would have to be either very unlucky or negligent to do so.

If they lose both their games they would finish on nine points.

China would, if they defeat the South Koreans on Monday  and the Matildas in the final fixture, end up with 13.

North Korea needs to beat both the Matildas on Monday and then hosts Japan on Wednesday to get 11 points.

If that scenario played out Australia would finish only third.

Simply avoiding defeat against the North Koreans in the penultimate fixture would put Stajcic’s team through: that would give them 10 points, and then the only nation that could equal or better that would be China.

Getting to this point is a major feather in the players’ cap, and a huge boost for Stajcic.

The New South Welshman was a player in the NSW Premier League and an Australian school International before injury cut short his career early.

He is the only senior Australian coach to have guided an Australian team to a knockout phase win in the World Cup, having taken the Matildas to the quarter-finals of the Women’s World Cup last year.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.


A-League: Kevin Muscat blasts Arnold, FFA disciplinary process ahead of ‘massive game’

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Melbourne Victory coach Kevin Muscat has blamed Sydney coach Graham Arnold for getting his star winger Kosta Barbarouses banned for two matches and has slammed the Match Review Panel after the disciplinary body outed the Kiwi wide-man following the ill-tempered A-League clash between Sydney and Victory last weekend.

Barbarouses went in heavily on Sydney midfielder Milos Ninkovic during the first half of a scrappy, physical encounter, but match referee Kris Griffiths Jones took no action at the time.

Afterwards Muscat said the referee had simply warned Barbarouses to be more careful with future tackles.

But Arnold took a different view, saying Barbarouses should have been shown a straight red card.

The MRP overruled the referee and looked at the case early in the week, cited Barbarouses, then handed down the suspension.

Muscat and his Victory players were in Osaka, Japan, for an Asian Champions League game at the time, but the coach was livid in Melbourne on Saturday morning ahead of what he described as a “massive” game for Victory away to Central Coast on Sunday afternoon.

“Roll out the Benny Hill music,” Muscat said, not trying to hide his anger.

“Staggering [decision)] … in the end we decided not to appeal simply because I don’t think there’s any point, which is sad.

“I think that Kosta has come under a little bit of a question mark here. His integrity has been questioned. The referee spoke to him, he’s seen the tackle and [told him] to be careful of future tackles.

“Now we have the situation where I assume that the MRP can act because Kris [Griffiths-Jones, the referee] says he doesn’t see the incident.

“We have sent footage that [Griffiths-Jones] was seven yards away. The fourth official was on a different angle, an opposite angle 25 yards away.

“If no one has seen the incident, we have got to question where they are looking. “

This was one of a series of contentious decisions that had gone against Victory this season, Muscat said.

“We’re expected to accept the rub of the green when the ball goes over the line and no one sees [Gui Finkler’s ghost goal against Melbourne City], we’re expected to get the rub of the green when, in hindsight, we get a note saying that Fahid was sent off incorrectly [when Ben Khalfallah was controversially dismissed against Perth Glory], we’re expected to accept the rub of the green when [City goalkeeper Thomas] Sorensen said he should’ve been sent off for a handball, and on this occasion when it’s gone against us.

“The one thing that’s disappointing in all of this is that Kosta’s spoken the truth and his character’s been brought into question, which is disappointing.”

Muscat had plenty of criticism for his former Socceroo teammate, too, saying his words created the climate for the MRP to take action.

“No doubt in my mind it did affect it. What I’d say to them is that [Arnold] wasn’t questioning any Match Review Panel when a goalkeeper lost eight teeth [when Newcastle’s Mark Birighitti was badly injured in a challenge by Sydney striker Shane Smeltz] and nothing was done by the MRP in that instance, so we assume the referee’s seen it and thought it was okay.

“I didn’t see Arnie questioning [Sydney goalkeeper Vedran] Janjetovic coming out of his box and pushing [Brisbane captain] Matt McKay behind play. All of a sudden, Arnie’s got an opinion and it seemed to work this time.”

Barbarouses will miss the Mariners game and next week’s clash with Brisbane Roar. Oliver Bozanic and Nick Ansell will also be absent after their exertions in Japan midweek.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.


Australia hoping to see off England for second time on home turf

Australia will play England more than 13 years after the two nations last clashed in London. Photo: Wolter Peeters Follow the Age Sport on Twitter
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Can Australia make it two out of two when they take on England at the end of May in a game that will be one of three matches Roy Hodgson’s side will play as a warm-up for the European Championships.

Confirmation of the match that has been talked about for weeks came late on Friday night.

Australia will play England at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light, more than 13 years after the two nations clashed at West Ham’s Boleyn Ground in London.

That time, Australia stunned Sven Goran Eriksson’s England by winning 3-1 in a game in which current England skipper Wayne Rooney made his senior debut. At 17 years and 111 days, the Manchester United star became the youngest senior England international in that game.

It will be a busy May and June for the Socceroos: after they return from the UK, they play two games against Greece, in Melbourne and Sydney, the following week.

Football Federation Australia chief executive David Gallop said the fixture represented a wonderful opportunity for all sports fans to get behind the national team.

“The Socceroos is a team that unites the nation and this game will excite not just football fans but sports fans in general,” he said.

Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou is hoping his side can emulate the achievements of Frank Farina’s squad in 2003.

“We have stated that we want to continue progressing as a football nation so we can challenge the best teams in the world and England was strong in qualifying for the Euros,” Postecoglou said. “We will take the game to them so we have a guide as to how we are progressing.

“Australia against England is a massive part of the Australian sporting culture and it will be a fantastic opportunity for our players to experience that rivalry.

“The clash with England, along with the two Greece games in Australia, gives us some great matches as we look ahead to the next round of World Cup qualifying.”

The match will be the seventh clash between the two nations since Australia first played England in 1980 when the Socceroos won one match, drew two and lost three.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.


Brumbies ride scrum dominance as Blake Enever set for stint on sideline

Blake Enever and Dave Dennis compete for the ball in the Brumbies-Waratahs match on Friday night. Enever injured his shoulder in the second half. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen The Brumbies won the battle of the scrum, earning a penalty try in the second half. Photo: Jay Cronan
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ACT Brumbies flanker Scott Fardy has backed Blake Enever to turn his shoulder injury into motivation to spark the team in the second half of the season after the lock became the first casualty of the season.

Enever had a scan on the SC joint in his shoulder on Saturday morning following a brutal contest against the NSW Waratahs on Friday night.

It is expected Enever will be sidelined for an extended period but the club is waiting for results before making a call on how long he will be out of action.

It was a devastating blow for Enever after coach Stephen Larkham injected him into the starting side in a second-row rotation with Rory Arnold.

“You can take the injury two ways. You can look at it as an opportunity to get your body in peak condition and look for the second half of the Super Rugby season and see what you can do there,” Fardy said.

“Blake’s a positive guy and very popular in the group, we’ll get around him in that way. But he knows himself he can build something and we’ll need him in the back end of the season.”

The Brumbies escaped the 32-15 win at Canberra Stadium relatively unscathed, with Enever the major worry and bumps and bruises to several players.

Playmaker Matt Toomua was left bloodied and with a broken nose after he was punched by hooker Tolu Latu. Latu has been cited and faces a judiciary hearing this week.

Brumbies outside centre Tevita Kuridrani was cited for a high tackle on Kurtley Beale, but escaped with a warning from the citing commissioner.

The Waratahs limped back to Sydney, with Bryce Hegarty suffering a suspected ACL injury, Rob Horne battling a knee complaint and Tatafu Polota-Nau fracturing his wrist.

Injuries aside, the Brumbies’ scrum appears to be going to a new level this year as they build formidable front-row depth.

Ben Alexander and Scott Sio were strong to start the game, and replacements Allan Alaalatoa and Les Leuluaialii-Makin marched over the top of the Waratahs pack in the second half.

The Brumbies won a penalty try from a scrum and trampled over the NSW forwards to push them back 15 metres at one set piece in the second half.

“Any time you get a good result out of your scrum as a tight forward, it’s very pleasing,” said Brumbies co-captain Stephen Moore.

“The guys that came on really lifted us again and that’s been the case for a while. The depth in the front-row has been strong and anytime it works you’re happy, but it’s a week to week proposition.”

Moore conceded the lineout was a bit sloppy, while Fardy attributed some disjointed lineouts to the noise of the crowd.

More than 20,000 fans packed into Canberra Stadium for the biggest crowd in almost a decade, with the club also donating $20,000 to the Domestic Violence Crisis Service as a result.

“We couldn’t hear much out there, which was great. The transfer of call and things like that are details we can fix up,” Fardy said.

“But when the crowd were as loud as they were, it was hard to hear yourself think. [The lineout] should be fine going forward. Hopefully we can get even more people out there when we’re back in three weeks.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.