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Coffs Harbour News

Rebels bring Comets down to earth

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Rebels bring Comets down to earth

By Tim Howard

The South Grafton Rebels have slammed the door on the Coffs Harbour Comets’ Group 2 rugby league semi-final hopes with a 40-12 drubbing at McKittrick Park on Sunday.

Pre game the players and crowd held a minute’s silence in memory of artist and community figure Irene Daley, who died earlier this week.

The Daley name has featured strongly in the Rebels playing roster over the years and Mrs Daley’s son, country music star Troy Cassar-Daley sang the national anthem at the 2016 grand final between the Rebels and Grafton Ghosts.

On Sunday Rebels winger Brian Quinlin-Randall, who had an outstanding game, was the latest member of the family to turn out for the Rebels.

The Comets flared briefly in either half, snatching the lead in the opening minutes of the game with an opportunist try to halfback Joey Cudmore and for a brief period in the second half when skipper Nathan Curry scored a well-worked try to get the score to 22-12. But apart from that the Rebels, with star veterans Hughie Stanley and Grant Stevens leading the way, dominated all facets of the game. But not far behind them were a bunch of young guns like halfback Jordan Gallagher and brothers Nick and Tom McGrady and Quinlin-Randall

The Rebels made that dominance show on the scoreboard, scoring seven tries to two in a shutout performance. Although the Comets were ahead on the scoreboard early, it was the Rebels who were making the play.

Their opening score was a piece of Stanley magic when the big number 6 surged toward the line from 20m out then squeezed a pass to Lewis Cooper backing up on the inside, who crashed over.

Nick McGrady brought the scores level with the conversion. A crucial call came a few minutes later when massive Comets prop Peter Wong appeared to crash over near the sticks.

Instead the referee awarded a penalty for a double movement and the Rebels swept play downfield. Minutes later Gallagher was in for a try after a clever interplay of passes from a tap restart gave him a clear run to the line. Another crucial moment in the game was the sin-binning for backchat of Comets halfback Cudmore 13 minutes before half time.

The Rebels, 10-6 up, piled on the pressure and second rower Thomas Walker punched a hole in the defence. From the play the ball a short pass put a rampaging Tom McGrady under the posts.

The Comets almost paid double when a massive Austin Cooper run secured 70m of territory. Running onto a pass from the kick catcher Cooper smashed through the first up tackles then headed up field, pulling free of desperate cover defenders as he surged forward.

Poor ball security soon after cost the Rebels a scoring chance, but they kept applying pressure. A teasing Stanley kick drew a mistake from the Comets winger which the home team duly punished with a second try to Thomas McGrady.

In the second half the Comets rallied on the back of an extended period of possession and their skipper put them back in the game with a neatly taken try on the left edge. His successful conversion put the score at 22-12 to the Rebels with a comeback possible. But the Rebels soon snuffed that out when centre Aidan Hyland after some slick passing put him range of the line and he stretched out an arm to score. From there it came a procession. Stanley twice more to take the score to 40-12. Under-18s star Waylon Caldwell came on to take the kicking duties from Nick McGrady and kicked three from three.

After the game Rebels coach Ron Gordon was delighted with his team’s combination of slick attack and solid defence. The Rebels have not tasted defeat since May and after the game Gordon said a second place finish was possible if results went their way. They have beaten all the top four teams as they charged up the ladder and now share third spot with the  Grafton Ghosts. But the Rebels ahead on points difference and with a game in hand against Macksville have the most capacity to change the look of the table.

The Ghosts edged out competition leaders Woolgoolga 26-24 to continue their rebound to form after a dismal mid-season slump. But with the Rebels facing cellar dwellers, Nambucca in the last game and the Ghosts hosting a Macksville team desperate to get back into the top four, things can change quickly.

The form of both Grafton teams had Gordon licking his lips at the prospect of both Grafton teams meeting in the grand final. “That would be something,” he said. “They have been the only team to really put points on us (42-10) when they beat us over there in the first game of the season,” he said. “But we’ve come a long way since then.”

 

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Coffs Harbour

Mental Health Service Boost in Coffs Harbour with Opening of Medicare Mental Health Centre

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Medicare Mental Health Centre Coffs Harbour
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Mental Health Service Boost in Coffs Harbour with Opening of Medicare Mental Health Centre

 

Communities in and around Coffs Harbour will soon benefit from increased mental health support with the opening of a Medicare Mental Health Centre in late June. Healthy North Coast, which delivers the North Coast Primary Health Network program on behalf of the Australian Government, announced today the selection of local not-for-profit organisation Open Minds as the service provider for the new centre.

Monika Wheeler, CEO of Healthy North Coast, emphasised the importance of accessible mental health services. “It is estimated that 43% of Australians will experience mental health distress at some point in their lives. It is vitally important we have a range of mental health services that are easily accessed in times of need,” she stated.

The new centre will offer free, walk-in mental health services with no appointments or referrals necessary. This model is designed to provide immediate and tailored support to individuals in need. Wheeler highlighted the success of a similar initiative: “Our Lismore Centre, also run by Open Minds, opened in 2022 and has delivered over 9,000 sessions and supported more than 1,000 people. We’re confident that the Coffs Harbour Centre will be a welcome addition for residents looking for a tailored experience and connection to the right support for them and their circumstances, which are different for everyone.”

Rik Barker, General Manager of Integrated Mental Health Services (NSW) at Open Minds, welcomed the announcement. “We look forward to opening the doors in Coffs and delivering a quality mental health service, improving the wellbeing of people on the Mid North Coast,” he said.

Key Features of the New Centre

  • Staffing: The centre will be staffed by mental health and allied health professionals available to visitors based on their level of need. There will also be a Social and Emotional Wellbeing Worker for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients, in partnership with Galambila Aboriginal Health Service.
  • Location and Hours: The centre will be co-located with the Coffs Harbour Neighbourhood Centre in Block B of the Community Village, 22 Earl Street, Coffs Harbour. Initial hours of operation will be 8 am to 6 pm, Monday to Friday, with provisions for targeted/appointment-based services for up to four hours on Saturdays.
  • Accessibility: Residents can visit the centre without prior appointments, and services are free of charge.

Wheeler explained the community’s enthusiastic response to the new centre, noting its welcoming space and easy accessibility. She also encouraged those unable to visit in person to utilize the free Head to Health service by calling 1800 595 212 for phone-based support.

Additional Information

  • Crisis Services: The Medicare Mental Health Centres are not intended for crisis or emergency services. For urgent support, individuals should contact Lifeline at 13 11 14 or the Mental Health Access Line at 1800 011 511. For immediate help or if at risk of harm, calling 000 is advised.

For more information and updates, visit here.

 

For more Coffs Harbour news, click here.

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Coffs Harbour

LOCAL CONCRETE GIRDERS MAKE THEIR WAY UP THE HIGHWAY FOR BYPASS

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Coffs Harbour Bypass
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LOCAL CONCRETE GIRDERS MAKE THEIR WAY UP THE HIGHWAY FOR BYPASS

 

The Coffs Coast community will soon see locally-produced concrete girders making the trip from Macksville to Coffs Harbour where they will form part of 15 of the 17 bridges on the Coffs Harbour Bypass alignment.

Transport for NSW Director Region North Anna Zycki said the project team is working with Australian Precast Solutions, which is casting the massive 260 Super T girders, which measure from 18 metres to 35 metres long and weigh up to 90 tonnes.

“This demonstrates our commitment to investing in local businesses and local jobs,” Ms Zycki said.

“The ongoing program of work from the Coffs Harbour Bypass has ensured longevity for the 65 staff already employed at the precast yard, with further opportunities for an additional ten casuals in the future.”

Ms Zycki also said the girder movements will cause occasional delays for some road users and urged motorists to be extra mindful when sharing the road with these oversize loads.

“Each girder is classified as an Over Size, Over Mass (OSOM) load and will be escorted to site with a pilot vehicle,” Ms Zycki said.

“To minimise impacts, only approved heavy vehicle haulage routes will be used and deliveries will be made during off-peak periods, where possible.

“When driving near these vehicles, be mindful that they take up more space and are unable to stop quickly. Please remember to ACT – be aware, use caution and allow more time to get to your destination,” Ms Zycki said.

Doug Nimmo, Precast Superintendent from Australian Precast Solutions said the bypass is providing a great boost for local companies.

“We’ve worked with Transport for NSW for many years, helping deliver structural elements for the Pacific Highway duplication including for the Woolgoolga to Ballina upgrade a few years ago,” Mr Nimmo said.

“We’re pleased they keep coming back to us and we’re delighted to be part of the team that’s bringing the long-awaited bypass to Coffs Harbour.”

The Australian and NSW Government are funding the 14 kilometre Coffs Harbour Bypass. When complete, the project will save motorists 12 minutes travel time, bypass up to 12 sets of traffic lights and remove thousands of vehicles from the Coffs Harbour CBD.

More information about the bypass is available here.

 

For more Coffs Harbour news, click here.

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Alstonville News

Northern Rivers Koala Hospital needs funding: Urgent appeal for support

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A koala being treated at the Northern Rivers Koala Hospital in Lismore
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Northern Rivers Koala Hospital needs funding: Urgent appeal for support

 

By Sarah Waters

Koalas are becoming an increasingly rare sight in NSW and the one organisation that is dedicated solely to their care in the Northern Rivers is desperately trying to keep operating as normal.

The Northern Rivers Koala Hospital, operated by Friends of the Koala, has made an urgent plea for financial support.

A decline in donations and available funding has threatened the hospital’s ability to operate effectively.

The hospital is specifically designed for the medical treatment of koalas and is the only wildlife hospital in NSW licensed to vaccinate all treated koalas against Chlamydia – the number one cause of death for koalas in the Northern Rivers.

General manager of Friends of the Koala Silva Everaers said more than 350 Koalas are treated at the hospital each year.

“From July last year we’ve seen a 20 per cent increase in koalas coming in, versus the year before,” Ms Everaers said.

“It will continue to increase as the threats to koalas are increasing with climate change, natural disasters, habitat being destroyed causing more koalas on the road, which leads to car hits, dog attacks and more diseases due to stress.

“So that’s obviously concerning, and it has been really, really busy for our volunteers rescuing and caring for them,” she said.

The Northern Rivers Koala Hospital was formed in 2019 and is part of the wider Friends of the Koala (FOK) organisation.

The FOK organisation receives government grants for certain projects including a recent grant to vaccinate 300 koalas against chlamydia.

But no government money is received for the operational cost of the koala hospital.

General Manager of Friends of the Koala and Northern Rivers Koala Hospital Silva Everaers

General Manager of Friends of the Koala Silva Everaers

Half a million dollars needs to be raised by Friends of the Koala each year to cover the hospital’s annual operating expenses.

It is set up with diagnostic and treatment tools including ultrasounds, x-rays, a blood bank, as well as surgical and pathology equipment to provide specialised 24/7 veterinary care to koalas.

Until more funds become available the hospital may not be able to continue in its current capacity.

Ms Everaers said the priority was to keep the hospital funded and veterinary staff paid.

“That really is where the research and the magic happens,” she said.

“We work with over 300 volunteers, who do an absolutely incredible job rescuing and rehabilitating the koalas treated in our hospital, and because of that we are able to keep operational costs really, really low.

“But we can’t do it without financial support, in the end, there’s medicine, veterinary staff, the equipment we need, research facilities – it’s not free.”

Friends of the Koala have set up a special donation drive, appealing to the public’s generosity to help keep the hospital in operation and maintain their high standards of care.

Anyone with a heart for wildlife, including business owners and philanthropists, can become a ‘Friend of the Northern Rivers Koala Hospital’ at: friendsofthekoala.org or support by donating to the organisation.

Friends of the Koala are a grassroots organisation with more than 35 years of experience working on critical, on-the-ground activities to conserve habitat and protect koalas individually and as a species.

It originated as a charity focused on planting trees but has evolved into a multifaceted organisation that also provides 24/7 koala rescue, medical treatment, research, advocacy and community education.

Friends of the Koala has successfully rehabilitated and released over 2000 koalas back into the wild since its inception.

The Northern Rivers is home to one of the last significant, genetically diverse koala populations.

 

For more local news, click here.

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