Tigers and partners hit for $26m by axed metro

THE cancellation of the CBD Metro has left the Tigers leagues club and its partners at least $26 million out of pocket, newly released government documents on the axed transport project reveal.

An email from Sydney Metro to the Premier’s Department also shows the government was seeking legal advice on cancelling the metro at the same time it was reassuring the club the project was going ahead.

The Tigers leagues club and its partner, Rozelle Village, are two of the many companies that have lodged confidential compensation claims since the project was cancelled.

The terminus for the metro was to be built under the club site at Rozelle. The club had agreed to move for up to five years while the station was built, before Rozelle Village would redevelop the site.

The email states Sydney Metro was going to lease the site for $26 million over five years.

It also states that although agreements were non-binding, Rozelle Village ”would be liable to litigate against Sydney Metro to recoup damages if the agreement was not executed”, and that the government could also be ”liable to compensate RV for loss of profit and incidental cost”.

Hundreds of documents relating to the project, which was shelved in February, were released just before Easter weekend. The email was sent from Sydney Metro to the Department of Premier and Cabinet on January 18, 2008, three days before the government reassured the club the metro was going ahead.

”They were adamant that no decision [to cancel the project] had been made,” said a Rozelle Village co-director, Benny Elias, who met a government staffer and a policy adviser on January 21.

The club moved off the premises two weeks ago after shutting down operations and laying off numerous staff.

A Greens MP, Lee Rhiannon, said Tigers and Rozelle Village were only two of the many groups who had been left out of pocket. ”The government must now come clean on what it estimates the final compensation bill for this failed project will be,” she said.

The email also acknowledges that if the metro were to ever be revived, as the government has pledged, the Rozelle Village site would not be able to be used for a station and that more sites would need to be acquired at further cost.

Another internal document released on Thursday also shows a wild discrepancy in government estimates for the metro, stating the project would have cost up to $7 billion, far in excess of the government’s public estimates of $4.8 to $5.3 billion.

The larger figure was cited in a summary of key projects, including the CBD Metro, by the Department of Planning.

Dated October 20 last year, it states: ”The majority of these submissions oppose the project based on its expense (currently estimated at up to $7 billion)”.

A spokeswoman for the department said yesterday the estimate reflected what was being said in the media at the time: ”These notes did not form part of any statutory assessment process, and were instead a relatively informal background update of planning for major projects at the time.”


Five Star Special: Round 4

Beau Ryan: I can’t help but be impressed by Ryan’s work rate. His dummy half runs are usually well timed and he’s as solid as a rock under the high ball. My only knock on him has been his speed, but he left the Raiders for dead with his try in the 80th minute. Big Beau is always the first player celebrating a try or a big hit with a team mate and in that respect, he brings a whole lot more to the table than just solid play from fullback. We’re starting to see why Hodgo named this bloke as his likely replacement when he went to Super League.
Andrew Fifita: It’s easy to get carried away, but Fifita has it all. The fend, the offload and the mongrel are something we don’t see enough of at the Dubya Tees. This attitude seemed to inspire KG, Ellis and Co. into action on the weekend. I don’t think we see the nasty side of Gareth Ellis anywhere near enough and a young gun like Fifita might be just what Roger Ramjet needs to turn to the dark side. If Sheens continues to give Fifita big minutes – and let’s face it he has no reason not to – he could well feature in Rookie of the Year voting in 2010.
Daniel Fitzhenry: We get it Tim, Fitzy is a good trainer, a good team man and a good bloke. I have nothing against Fitzy and I was one of his biggest fans in 2005, but this isn’t 2005. Surely we could use Fitzy’s bench spot to blood a few young players, especially if he’s only going to play five minutes a game. Using 16 players, 15 if you consider Flanno only played 20 minutes or so, says a lot about our fitness. Black and gold blood aside, I firmly believe the Tees are the fittest team in the competition and Steve Folkes has already made his mark.
Jake Mullaney: Yet to make his first grade debut, but I’m a Mullaney tragic and he had to get a mention after scoring three tries and kicking five goals to lead the Toyota Cup boys to a 42-34 win over the Raiders. Speaking of which, the Under 20s are paying $17 to win the grand final and after last year’s heartbreaker at the hands of Melbourne, that’s bloody good value if you can get it. Mullaney would be perfectly suited to the above mentioned bench spot mortgaged by one D. Fitzhenry. The kid reminds me of a little fullback we sent to England a few years too soon.
Chris Lawrence: Easily Luke Skywalker’s best game of 2010. The hard running Lawrence of old returned and I got the feeling he was sick and tired of watching Lote bag all the tries and wanted to get into the action a bit more. Lawrence looks too passive at times, but he backed himself against the Raiders and showed why many good judges believe he could play Origin this year. He will have to step up even more with Ayshford gone for the next few weeks, so it could be the Lote and Lawrence show out wide against the Cowboys. Bring it!
<^Tiger Brad^>

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Tigers run down Raiders in Canberra

net press
A half-time spray from coach Tim Sheens helped Wests Tigers come from behind to record a 35-22 NRL victory over Canberra at Canberra Stadium on Sunday.

The Tigers trailed 22-10 at the interval and looked out for the count after an impressive opening 40 minutes from the Raiders.

But a sudden turnaround, led by the Tigers’ skipper Robbie Farah and in-form five-eighth Benji Marshall – who chalked up 16 points – saw the visitors run in four unanswered second-half tries to seal a comprehensive 13-point win.

Liam Fulton, just back from injury, put the game out of the Raiders’ clutches with his second try of the game with two minutes to spare, before fullback Beau Ryan added to hosts’ pain with another four-pointer right on the buzzer.

Tigers mentor Tim Sheens, who celebrated his 300th first grade victory as a coach, was full of praise for his players, but refused to get carried away following his side’s third victory in four games.

“To the credit of the senior blokes, who I gave a bit of a kick to the arse to at halftime … took a bit more control of what we were doing,” Sheens said.

“That’s character.

“You can say maybe we didn’t deserve to win based on our first half, but on our second half we did.

“And it’s about playing two halves of football.”

The Tigers had spent all week talking about the importance of restricting the Raiders to a quiet start, but failed to heed their own advice.

Twenty minutes into the game, the Raiders had stunned the visitors and led 16-0 with a series of missed opportunities behind them.

But, as Sheens put it, the gods appeared to favour the Tigers in small ways.

A desperate offload to Marshall in the dying seconds of the first half that led to a try, was critical in keeping the Tigers in the game, but Farah admitted he was lucky it came off.

“It was one of those plays where, if it doesn’t pull off, I get kicked up the backside by the coach,” the captain conceded.

And Farah, who scored the first of his side’s four second-half tries, said he was disappointed at the Tigers’ slow start to the game, given the attention they had paid to it during the week.

“We spoke about it all week … about going with them from the opening kick off, but I could sense in the warm up for some reason we were flat,” he said.

“But credit to us, we knew we had points in us.”

The third-placed Tigers are now 3-1 ahead of another tough road trip against North Queensland next week.

Meanwhile, the Raiders were left to rue the one that got away as they slumped to their third defeat of the season.

“We had our hands around their throat and all of a sudden, somehow, they got out of it,” skipper Alan Tongue said.

Canberra will also travel next week, meeting the out-of-form Eels at Parramatta Stadium.


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League Legends Cup up for grabs

The League Legends Cup is contested between Wests Tigers and Canberra Raiders to commemorate the 1989 Grand Final between the Balmain Tigers and the Raiders. To this very day, it remains arguably the greatest Grand Final of all time.

The Cup is contested just once each season when the two teams clash for the first time. Wests Tigers and Canberra will meet again in round 18 but the cup will not be played for.

Wests Tigers and Canberra have each won the Cup once since the concept began in 2008.

The Raiders won the League Legends Cup in 2008 with a 30-24 victory at Canberra Stadium in round five.

Wests Tigers Coach Tim Sheens needs just one more win to record the personal milestone of 300 victories as a career coach.

2008 flashback

Former Canberra half-back Todd Carney set up four tries and scored a 75 metre try of his own in the 30-24 round five victory over Wests Tigers at Canberra Stadium.

Carney levelled the scores at 24-24 late in the game after Wests Tigers led 24-10 at half-time.

The Raiders secured victory when winger Adrian Purtell scored a length of the field try after picking up a grubber kick from half-back Matthew Head, who was making his Wests Tigers debut.

Current Canberra second-rower Bronson Harrison scored two tries for Wests Tigers in the loss.

Canberra 30 (A Purtell 3, D Tilse, A Tongue, T Carney tries, Carney 3 goals) d Wests Tigers 24 (B Harrison 2, T Tuiaki, D Collis tries; B Hodgson 4 goals).

Wests Tigers team: Hodgson ©, Tuiaki, Collis, Lawrence, McDonnell, Morris, Head, Payten, Fulton, Galloway, Te’o, Gibbs, Heighington; interchange: Moltzen, Stuart Flanagan, Payne, Harrison.

2009 flashback

A powerhouse performance in his NRL debut signalled the arrival of Englishman Gareth Ellis to Wests Tigers.

Ellis was named the players’ player after Wests Tigers overcame a 26-18 half-time deficit to beat Canberra 34-26 at Campbelltown Stadium in the opening round of the premiership on a warm Monday night.

Canberra five-eighth Terry Campese laid on the first three tries before former Wests Tigers second-rower Bronson Harrison set up full-back David Milne for the fourth try.

Tries to centre Chris Lawrence and a double to winger Taniela Tuiaki saw the Wests Tigers produce a fine second half performance to take the two competition points and to collect the League Legends Cup for the first time. There was a late shock at kick-off with captain and hooker Robbie Farah starting from the interchange bench.

Wests Tigers 34 (T Tuiaki 2, R Farah, T Payten, C Lawrence, T Moltzen tries; B Marshall 5 goals) d Canberra 26 ( j Carney 2, A Purtell, D Milne tries; T Campese 5 goals).

Wests Tigers team: Moltzen, Tuiaki, Collis, Lawrence, Ryan, Morris, Marshall, Gibbs, Halatau, Galloway, Ellis, Payten, Heighington; interchange: Farah ©, Hanbury, Trimarchi, Laurie.

Head to Head record
Played 18: Canberra 9, Wests Tigers 9.

– Wayne Cousins

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Sheens to keep Benji on a leash

 net press 

WESTS Tigers coach Tim Sheens will be looking for another mature game from five-eighth Benji Marshall as he prepares for today’s battle with Canberra’s Terry Campese.

Marshall exercised as much control as brilliance against Parramatta last weekend and Sheens wants more of the same at Canberra Stadium.

“I was happy Benji didn’t overplay his hand, I thought he did what he had to do, all the basics were really well done,” Sheens said. “Obviously having (Todd) Payten and (Bryce) Gibbs back and (fullback) Beau Ryan’s go-forward helped.

“He played off the front foot a bit more, which is what we want to do this week.”

The showdown between the two five-eighths will be crucial after Campese rose to State of Origin level last year.

“It’s not so much one on one, it’s what their playmakers finish up doing and what our playmakers finish up doing (that) will determine, in many ways, the game,” Sheens said.

“Campese, I’m sure, young (halfback Josh) McCrone, will be looking to do the same.”

Tigers captain Robbie Farah said Campese could expect plenty of attention from the Tigers defence.

“He’s the key to what they do and he’s someone we’re going to have to try to put a lot of pressure on and try to shut down,” Farah said.

“If you can do that it cuts down a lot of the opportunities to their outside backs and to [Josh] Dugan at fullback as well.

“He’s a player that, if you don’t pressure him, he can really hurt you.”

Marshall will take the field still recovering from a rib injury suffered two weeks ago. He required a needle to get through last week’s victory over the Eels.

“Anyone who’s had a rib cartilage that’s nearly mended knows it’s a bit inconvenient, but you’ve just got to live with it,” Sheens said.

Farah said the key to tackling the Raiders’ impressive home record was being switched on from the start.

“They try and jump you early,” he said.

– The Sunday Telegraph

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