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(generated from captions) Today - more blood shed in the Middle East - reports of more than 20 killed in in Libya while in Bahrain further clashes between military and demonstrators. Also today - WA's Gascoyne River swells again after River swells again after two the town of Carnarvon. Mining being banned from running the

company he created and the NSW

Waratahs signal their intent, thrashing rugby's new boys in Melbourne. Good morning, you're

ABC News 24 this Saturday. I'm Jane Hutcheon. Let's take a capitals look at the weather around the Unrest continues to across the Middle East, one week after the fall of the

least 24'm have been killed in Mubarak regime in Egypt. At

Libya after security broke up anti-government

country. Libyan media also reported that eastern Lynched two police men in the

Meanwhile, in Bahrain, the crackdown on anti-government protesters has continued in the capital, Manama. At least four

people have been killed and more than 60 taken to

after clashes near Manama's Pearl Square. And in least two people have been killed after and anti-government protesters clashed overnight. There have, however, been scenes in Egypt where people

celebrated the ousting For more on the latest in region, Middle For more on the latest in the reports. It's exactly reports. It's exactly a week since Egyptians came out into this square for the protest this square for the final

Mubarak from protest that pushed Hosni

they were back again, they were back again, to celebrate and also Egypt's interim rule ears message. They expect the Army

to keep its promise to move democracy. Many their country towards

revolution has succeeded, but it's real. The and the events of the past week East living dick atorships that they can do

it noo. The past week there's

been pro protests in other countries and have announced political changes and Tunisia, all it would have taken was a show of riot police and any hint of protest would have been The authorities in Bahrain shown themselves out of depth. People were killed in

the crackdown but still the

protest continued. It used to

be said that Arab countryies can only ever be ruled by a

strong man. That only a or a Mubarak could keep order. strong man. That only a Saddam

And so for decades their people

accepted tyranny in return for contract. Egypt and Tunisia were youth revolution - young, educated regard stability as a

substitute for Facebook generation is not

unique to those two countries. I United States, indeed entire Western United States, indeed the Torn between cheering entire Western world off-guard.

prodemocracy movements and

worrying about who might get

voted in. Especially here in

proudly calls itself the only Israel, the country

democracy in the Middle democracy in the Middle East.

But for 30 years that democracy

has benefitted from the Mubarak regime. And now Israel's Government for the worst for the worst - that an

Islamist group could take power

on its southern border. While it's possible it seems unlikely. These protest tend

not to have clear leaders and

what leaders they do have tend

to be young, educated, secular and middle class, people who

as on the streets. And they gather on the Internet as well gather on the Internet as

revolution replaced by another don't want

form of tyranny under form of tyranny under religious

leadership like Iran's. For

place in the Middle more reaction to what's taking

place in the Middle East, I'm joined by Washington

correspondent Jane Cowan. Jane, the US has condemned violence and the response the US has condemned the

the protesters this week, violence and the response to

what has the President actually the protesters this week, but

said about the situation

today? Well, the situation now across the Middle East has

really revived the foreign

policy dilemma that the Egyptian uprising initially put

the Obama Administration in.

Where on the one hand the

relationships with friendly President is trying to maintain

regimes while on the regimes while on the other

democratic demands of peaceful trying to support the

protesters. So this week,

Barack Obama has been condemning the violence in the

Middle East, but at the same time his Secretary of time his Secretary of State,

Hillary Clinton, has been

emphasising that places like Bahrain are long-term friends

and allies. Now, you and allies. Now, you will

remember that the US criticised remember that the US was flailing around a bit.

Initially assessing the regime

there as stable before eventually urging a transition.

That criticism has been exacerbated this week by That criticism has actually

President, Barack Obama, the revelation that the

actually commissioned a report

way back in August last year, a study of the entire Middle East region that reportedly

concluded that the region from

Bahrain to Yemen was ripe for popular revolt, unless there was widespread political

change. So the question is now access to that kind of intelligence way back then why did it appear to be caught so un awares? The President obviously, though, argues it was obviously, though, argues that the Obama Administration of it was really making the best,

what was always going to be a difficult and messy situation. On the domestic

playing ball on the President's front, Republicans are not

proposed tax and budget

proposals. What is going to happen there? Well, Barack Obama this week unveiled his of that is a five-year freeze about what the President said nothing spending but on domestic discretionary

spending but in his proposal Medicare and Med kaid, these kelt the elderly and the poor that are actually on the US economy in terms on the US economy in terms of producing long-term deficits.

Some have argued that that is a lack of leadership on President's part but others are saying it's a smart political it's forced the Republicans to take a first swipe at the popular programs that are like. The prospect that like. The prospect that that also is raising is dispute about how best to dispute about how best to cut spending from the US budget

will lead eventually to a shutdown of the shutdown of the Government because the Republicans

saying that that they will not approve any measures to approve any measures to fund

the Government beyond the Government beyond March just a couple of weeks away

from now, unless they get the

spending cuts accompanying spending cuts accompanying that that they that they want. That does raise this shut down and at worst

default on US Government dent, which is something that Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke has warned against and

that the Treasury Secretary secretary, Timothy Geithner, would be as would be as bad as the financial financial crisis that the US is still trying to of. On another issue, is

President Obama about ready for a backdown on his decision to close Guantanamo close Guantanamo Bay? Well, the President is in a very

difficult situation here. He did promise to taking office. But that has been that, among other things, resolution that essentially prevents any of being held there being transferred to US soil. What's happened this week is that the

has said while giving has said while giving evidence to congressional hearing, that

the chances now the chances now of closing Guantanamo Bay Guantanamo Bay are frankly in his words very, very his words very, very low. Also

the CIA director Leon Pennetta hearing that if Osama bin Laden happened to be captured, you would have to say is a remote possibility at remote possibility at this stage, he would be sent to Guantanamo Bay most likely. So there you have two indication s from two figures inside the Obama Administration that, despite despite the administration's

commitment to closing the

detention centre, they

much factoring it into

plans and intend to use it for some time lovely to see you and thank you for speaking with for speaking with us. Thanks,

Jane. Residents in the Gascoyne town of Carnarvon are bracing for bracing for more flooding today region was devastate ed by flood waters. River levels at Carnarvon are forecast this morning at

7m. A handful of people, mostly tourist,

tourist, have gathered at tourist, have gathered at a relocation town. Carnarvon is facing its

third flood in just two months.

By now, the

drill. It will inundate the low lying areas which you would

expect to get inundated. I

think those that have assets think those that have assets in

that area now that they've got the information and some experience from the previous

floods in the last month or so,

will know what they can save

and what they can't with sand

bagging. I think the sand bag

willing be effective on a lot

of assets because the river the

water will be coming up, won't

be rushing at it. The town is

still in recovery mode after record flooding in December. The torential rains

out home, crops and infrastructure. Prime Minister

Julia Gillard toured the area during the clean-up. Yesterday, water clean-up. Yesterday, water s

peaked upstream of Carnarvon at

midday, the flows are from

recent heavy rains which are expected

expected to reach the town

today. But the damage won't be as severe as last time. It is

not the only concern for the

West. Tropical Cyclone Diane is still hovering off the still hovering off the WA

coast. It's moving south-west

away from the mainland, away from the mainland, but authorities are still watching closely in case it does become a threat. And inland the remnants of Cyclone Carlos is

dumping large amounts of rain

on the Top End. There is concern now that low will reform early on Sunday and

generate even more falls over

the west. The ABC's Andrew

O'Connor joins me now on the

phone from Carnarvon. Andrew,

what has been your experience

overnight because I know it is

still very early morning been putting the last touches

on preparing for this on preparing for this flood.

They're preparing for what will be the third flood in just two month s here. The residents

were down at the river where we were last night watching it steadily rise as the flood waters make it downstream. Some have sand bagged their

properties but they could do

little more than sit with a

beer and wait for waters to a

rise River. The gauges rise River. The gauges peaked

at around 7m on Friday. That peak water level some locals

are hell tells us it might

reach other early morn th morning and others say around

midday. But that level will sit

around 6.5 to 6.7m. In around 6.5 to 6.7m. In the December floods, the ones that

were so damaged here, the level was almost 8m. The critical number here is 7.8m, the locals

tell us. Once the waters get that high you have widespread

flooding, widespread

damage. This time it's damage. This time it's not going to be that high so the

locals are not expecting it to

be that damaging. So in terms

of the clean-up from the last flood, is there going to be a lot more work to do after this one subsides? There is one subsides? There is indeed. The are just going to progressively

inundate properties in inundate properties in the

lowest part of the flood plain

which is east of the town. which is east of the town. That includes horticultural properties like banana growers

and houses and businesses. While it's contrast to the floods which were back in December, it's going to be December, it's going to be very frustrating for these people. We were at a service station

yesterday and on many of the buildings here you can still

see the muddy marks on the see the muddy marks on the walls from the floods in

December and January. The

interior of buildings is still

cleared out as the owners try to get back they're going to have to face

another clean-up, another delay

in getting their lives back to

normal and while people are

optimistic it must be frustrateding. Indeed, is the cyclone that's coast likely to have any

impact? They were very worried

about Cyclone Diane coming down

the coast and dump another lot

of water on them, but that threat appears to have eased at

this stage. The cyclone watch

for the coastal communities

north of here was cancelled

yesterday. The cyclone is still

a long way off the coast, it's about 600km north-west of Carnarvon moment's only a category 2 system and it's move south-west, so people are hoping that it misses hoping that it misses this

region. The big concern is what

is going to happen with

ex-Tropical Cyclone Carlos. As you have heard it's moving you have heard it's moving across the Top End over the

next few days. It will next few days. It will cross the coast back into the ocean,

probably somewhere north of

Broome. If it re forms back

into a cyclone over the water

and heads down the coast,

that's what people are worried

about because they've seen that before. Back in 2000 there was

a cyclone called Cyclone Steve coast over near Cairns, went across Northern Australia,

reformed off the WA north

coast, came down and then made

landful near Carnarvon. That's what they what they don't need here. They

definitely do not want another

cyclonic deluge to add to their troubles. Andrew O'Connor,

thank you for keep ing us updated. Thank you. A reminds

they're no matter where in the country you are, if you near a

flood affected need to contact the flood affected area and you

need to contact the SES, the

number is the same.

The Federal Government now has the flood levy in flood levy Representatives after Andrew

Wilke announced he will the plan. The Wilke announced the plan. The Tasmanian Independent struck a deal the Government that Teaching Council retained. The Government still needs Independent Senator Nick Xenophon's support for the bill

to pass in the Senate. For more on this, we're joined Doyle in Canberra Julie, good morning Government have to do to convince Nick Xenophon

on board here? They have got a

bit of work to do with Senator

Xenophon because he has debate that he is looking at

the issue for him is this one issue for him is this one of

disaster insurance for the State the other States have disaster insurance and levy until

take up this insurance. So that

is his big issue. He has also

deficit for another year, so he has

has also expressed that view

that we have seen from others

as well. But the big thing for him is this disaster insurance.

give him some kind give him some kind of

concession there, it appear, to

convince him to support the flood levy. Yet another concession from the Government. What impact is this going have on the Budget? We've already seen in the last couple

of days a couple of impacts in

that to win over Andrew Wilke, the Government reinstated $50 it was $100 million for it was $100 million for the solar flagships program. To all up, up, the bill is now $150 million. Now the Government says that that money will be

found in extra savings in May Budget. They exactly what or how, but it will be revealed in the Budget. So if we see some So if we see some more concessions to we could see those saves have to grow even to grow even bigger. Yesterday we saw the release of the the last edeckses were left or at least not publicised. What has been the reaction to released which was released which was basically a reinvigoration of reinvigoration of the Those bit we all really wanted

to see we haven't has been released

of boosting party of boosting party membership,

giving peeping an incentive to join up or come back to join up or come back to the party, to make membership more meaningful is now how John Faulkner described it: One of primary campaign to preselection in some seats to preselection in some seats - seats that are seats that are non-Labor seats and seats where and seats where a sitting member is retiring. So member is retiring. So they're talking talking about giving the unions, the party members and also non-members - people also non-members - people who register as Labor supporters, - giving them all a say in preselection. On ACTU has said that it wants but it does say that it

courage dks? I the party that it wants to see the best Prime Minister has also put out a

a statement yesterday after this review came this review came out: She's put down a couple of that she sees as her main

points in response points in response to this. One of those is that she says it's crucial that the Prime Minister

is able to pick their own ministry team, so she's that down. that down. She has also said

that while the party sets the platform, it's up to the Government to and she's said while this review is important she doesn't want to get bogged down in want to get bogged down in the internal issues will continue this year on governing. A little bit of the reaction reaction we're seeing coming through so far . will see more in the days ahead and today as

we will speak to you next

Wayne Swan is talking up

Australia's economy at the Australia's economy at the G20 summit in Paris. He's told CNN Australia will remain resilient despite floods in Queensland, Victoria and WA, and Victoria and WA, and the destruction caused by Yasi. Natural disasters aside,

the Australian economy the Australian economy is in great shape, very growth, very growth, very strong investment pipeline, very low pipeline, very low unemployment - unemployment in the unemployment in the Eurozone.

Very, very strong economy, it will put a slight hit in the growth in the March quarter but

really strong. We're open for business. Wayne Victoria nood the safe Labor seat of Broad. Labor candidate frank McGuire is expected seat of Broad. win comfortably after withstanding

withstanding a court challenge from

from unions over his

endorsement by the ALP national executive. There executive. There were claims he

wasn't a member of the ALP and

does live in the does live in the Broad electorate. The Liberals

havemented not to contest the seat. It was vacated by former

premier John brumby after last year's elections. Billionaire

mining magnate Andrew Forrest faces being banned

faces being banned from running

his company, the company he created, fortd Fortescue

Group. In a rare win for the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, FMG Investments Commission, FMG and Mr Forrest were found to have

misled the. The case has its

roots in 2004, when Fortescue

Metals Group and Andrew Forrest

were seeking to carve a slice

of the lucrative Asian iron ore

market. FMG told the Australian

stock market it had binding agreements with three Chinese

companies to build mine, port Pilbara. and rail infrastructure in the Pilbara. But ASIC took Pilbara. But ASIC took legal action, claiming the agreements were to negotiate, not to build. In 2009, a Federal build. In 2009, a Federal Court

judge found FMG and Mr Forrest

were not guilty of misleading

an deceptive conduct. Now on

appeal, the full court has overturned that decision. The

court is yet to court is yet to decide whether Mr Forrest will be banned from

acting as a director. He could

also face a fine of up to $4.4

million, while the company

could be liable for up to million. But it's unlikely the decision will go unchallenged.

FMG and Mr Forrest can appeal

to the High Court and given the high

high stakes an appeal is likely. In a statement, FMG

says it's acedy pointed with

the result and is re -

disappointed with the result

and is & and is reviewing the

finding. The decision comes

after the Perth Magistrates

Court cleared FMG of Court cleared FMG of charges relating to the death of a

worker in the Pilbara during

Cyclone George in 2007. Mr

Forrest was not in court for

either decision.

In business, new data In business, new data shows

retail sales in Britain rallied

sharply in January. It comes as

weather conditions'sed after

what was seen as a snow induced

slump in December. Save sales

jumped just under 2% in January

from the previous from the previous month.

Experts say the trend was also

affected by a government sales

tax hike which took effect tax hike which took effect this year. G20 minuteses have gathered in Paris for a 2-day

meeting. They will be seeking

to agree on the indicators to

measure the economic gaps and im balances in the im balances in the financial

market. The G20 last met

Seoul last November but walked

away without any meaningful agreement. Now, host country

France hopes its year at the

G20 helm will lead to an over

haul of world finance. French

President Nicolas Sarkozy has

vowed to reform the world monetary system and commodities markets. And taking a look at

the markets now -.

Time now for sport and the super rugby season way last night? It did. Two

games in total last night and more to come this weekend. But

the games last night kicked off

the revamped season. In the

early match the Otago

Highlanders upset the Wellington Hurricanes in the New Zealand New Zealand capital while the

Rebel - Rebels were thrashed by

the Waratahs. A after a first half dominated by the half dominated by the Rebels,

possession wise, they dunt

finish and the visitors had the

first of a brace. Drew Mitchell outsteped the outsteped the covering defence after collecting a after collecting a neat Berrick Barnes advantage. Ged Robinson's

sin-binning just after the half-time break, the second of

the night for the homeside, the night for the homeside, saw NSW score three tries in the

NSW score three tries in the 10

minutes he was off the field. The first was for

Mitchell who made it two for

him on the night. The Waratahs

scored seven tries and four

conversions in total for a

comprehensive bonus point win.

The AFL's preseason Cup had plenty of entertainment at

Docklands Stadium in Melbourne last night. Essendon, St Kilda and Brisbane were combatants with James Hird taking over as the Bombers

coach for the first time. The

former playing great saw his

team skip out to a 39-0 need

the first half of their first match against Brisbane before

the Lions could even mustary points. In the second match,

the Lions went down again this

time to last year's beater Grand Finalists skilled dwra.

Highlight was at the end of the

match when Mark Williams marked and this pressure kick leveled

the match with the bombers and

St Kilda expected to the quarterfinals. In

soccer news, Adelaide United has ended Wellington Phoenix's

season with a 1-0 win in the

A-League elimination final at

Hindmarsh Stadium in Adelaide. In horrendous condition, Eugene

Galekovic pulled off a stunning

snaif the opening half to keep

a clean sheet. And Marcos

Flores had the chance to put

Adelaide ahead but couldn't hit

the target with this shot. United captained toed toed to scored in

scored in the 70th minute when

his side hit the Phoenix on the break. Adelaide break. Adelaide will play the

winners of Saturday's win ers

from the gold koeflt. St George Illawarra beat the

Canterbury blaus last night in

the trial match in Wollongong.

The Dragons ran in five tries to three and Nick Emmett could

be in doubt for next week's

world Cup charge match after leafing the field with an injury. The cricket World Cup

gets under way later today with India taking on Bollywood musician Bappi Lahiri

has composed a song for team.

He hopes it will provide team motivation in crunch situations. The team take on Zimbabwe on Monday

in their opening match as they

look to make it four World Cups

in a row: Staying with

cricket. NSW bats men dominated day one match against Victoria at the

MCG. When bad light ended play four overs early, the blues

were 4/345 with Phil Jakes on

1128. Earlier, darn darn darn

was dismissed -. Hughes and

Warner got the blues off to a

perfect start, putting an 109 runs for the opening wicket

with both players notching half centuries. The shots at time were not always text book but the runs still flowed before Hughes lost his wicket. NSW are strongly placed heading into the second day. And in Samantha Stosur has been knock

out of the Dubai Open in out of the Dubai Open in the quarterfinals by yank yank

while Caroline Wozniacki hey - Jankovic.

And just time for a And just time for a quick look at the weather around the

capital.

I

the hour: Before that it's time

for Contact cap sport.

Closed Captions by CSI

This Program is Captioned Live. # Theme music Hello, I'm Paul Kennedy. Welcome to Contact Sport. Today we'll look at the Australian cricket team's bid to win the World Cup. After two terrible warm-up performances is it realistic to hope Ricky Ponting's men can defend their title? Also, the netball season's begun. We'll chat to Bianca Chatfield from the Melbourne Vixens, we'll hear from a football historian with a unique tale. It's a fantastic way to let out all the stress and aggression. I find that after I'm a lot less worried about life in general. That is, of course, the sport of Brazilian jujitsu. The Australian one-day team has been routed by India and South Africa in warm-up matches after some much-needed victories against the tired English team in the past month. We previewed the Ashes on Contact Sport last year by talking to former Australian Test player Victorian spinner Bryce McGain. He expertly predicted would mean Australia would be suffocated on its home pitches and have trouble winning that urn. I invited the prophet McGain back to tell us what he thinks will happen at the World Cup starting this weekend. # Indian Bollywood music Well, Bryce, just want to talk to you about how Australia's going to fare at this World Cup. With such a great record, you'd think that they're going to compete really well but all the other indicators mean that they've got a big challenge ahead of them, haven't they? Well, it's an amazing record the Australians have in the World Cup. 27 consecutive victories at the moment. so it's a fantastic form to go into. They had a great series against England just recently in Australia. However, the Indian conditions are very, very different to what they've experienced just recently. Let's talk about the batting first, because it seems like the top three are certainly up to it and going quite well It sort of got highlighted in the pre-games, in the practice games that they played, the middle order against spin is a real challenge and especially in India and against those Indian spinners And every other country, if you're looking through their teams and Sri Lanka obviously very strong in their conditions as well so it's certainly going to be a challenge for that batting order in the middle there. Obviously the cream rises to the top - Ricky Ponting, Michael Clarke, in those conditions they're familiar with it and they do it very, very well. So they're in good form and they'll love these type of conditions and this style of play. But the others certainly have to pick up that slack to get any total that the bowlers can defend. Well, you know the middle order better than most, I guess. David Hussey and Cameron White, these guys, they're the ones And I think - we can have a look at some pictures of the warm-up match where there are some unusual settings. and so much pressure from the spin bowling? Certainly - obviously it's going to be a challenge for them. They're both good players of spin. They're very good players of spin in Australian conditions where you can hit through the line and really aggressively take it to the bowlers. Now that is harder in India and the ball holds up. It's not quite as easy to hit through the line as it is in Australia so it's going to be more manoeuvring. The players who are very adapted, sweeping and reverse sweeping even, will find it more comfortable over there and that is a good way of scoring so that the pressure is back on the bowlers. Well, some of them might have to But let's talk now about the bowling. Australia's gone heavy on its pace attack, working to its strength, which you could say is a good thing. with just Jason Krejza as the number one spinner. How do you think that's going to play out? Are they going to be able Certainly you mentioned it. Their strength is their pace bowling. Brett Lee's been in good form domestically for Australia. He's back in the mix there and bowling fast and straight. Tate, we really want him to bowl as well, and as accurate as he possibly can. They've got Bollinger, who's got a great record in India, in Indian conditions. They're going to try and bowl short at certain teams, aren't they? Yeah and it was interesting that Ricky Ponting said early on, 'Gee, I hope we don't get too many wickets like we did at Bangalore, slow and low and turn.' Well, we're in the Subcontinent, we're definitely going to get them. So they really need to adapt to those type of conditions especially the Sri Lankan curator

in Colombo when we go across there,

so it's going to be a challenge. to actually perform in those conditions. They are the best spin bowling conditions in the world so he does have that in his favour. I think the support spin bowling's really going to have to play well. Steve Smith, David Hussey, Michael Clarke, those type of players, really need to be able to be on their mettle and have the confidence to be able to bowl in those conditions under enormous pressure and we do know the boundaries are very short there, as well. So there is a lot of pressure for those I guess the second-string spinners that we have. So there is a lot of pressure for those as far as - against the top-line those back-up bowlers? Is there a way of keeping it tight while they get through those overs? That's where they're relying - and the game plan is around those quicks really locking up an end. You know, Watson's going to play a big role. Another highly skilled player in these type of conditions is John Hastings. He did very well for Victoria and her Champions League two Champions Leagues ago, in India, with his slower balls and cutters and fast yorkers. He can swing the ball as well and with a bit of reverse swing which will come into play very quickly over there so he'll be highly skilled in that back-up fast bowling mode but, look, it's going to be quite a challenge for Jason Krejza. A lot of the other countries will have two and three spinners in their line-up so they can vary it 'round and swing them around to different positions and different bowling times but Krejza's going to be our number-one man he should be confident and the conditions do suit. Let's talk about the other teams. No doubt they've got, when they compete against Australia, all those unbeaten matches in World Cups - it can't be taken lightly. What do you see from these other teams and who do you think's going to be the real contenders? Well, obviously India, in their own conditions, will be very confident going into there. A lot of expectation, huge expectation, from their whole country - a billion people supporting them and watching every game and fanatical supporters, so there's going to be a lot of pressure on them. But they do handle that quite well. Dhoni's a fantastic captain in those conditions. We saw little snippets there before of the innovative field placings that he put there with two slips and a leg slip against spin. It's going to be a challenge for everybody. He's innovative, he's very good. Sri Lanka, they're playing a lot of games in Colombo. I think India, obviously, are very good. I do like the look of South Africa, though. They have a very, very good side and one of the big inclusions into their side is a Pakistani-born player called Imran Tahir. He's a leg spinner. He's played a lot in England and he's now qualified to play for South Africa. They're two very high-class spinners and with their batting depth and their fast bowling with Steyn and Morkel they're a very good line-up, so I think they can get through. If they break through that duck of semifinals where they seemed to lose the unloseable in the past they'll do very well. How far do you see Australia going? Well, I think they will take it through. They'll definitely get through to that Super 8. I think they'll go through to the semifinals and then it comes down to who they've got on the day and - It could be South Africa. And that would be another great semifinal that we're looking forward to. Terrific. Well, thanks for your insight and we'll see how they go.

who they've got on the day and - Another team that has recruited well and is rebuilding for success with the signing of English star goalkeeper Geva Mentor. Co-captain Bianca Chatfield's preparing to play goal-defence, the teams coaches are making these slight shifts in approach to create better depth. I spoke to Chatfield about the Vixen's prospects and the Leagues development, as it charges into a fourth season. Well Bianca, before we talk about the Vixens, let's talk about the competition overall, what did you take out of the Swifts and Thunderbirds on the first weekend of the comp? Yeah, it was a tough game for the Thunderbirds, they're coming off being the reigning premiers and they've lost a lot of players, so they're still finding their feet. Swifts haven't really changed much, if anything they've gotten stronger. it will be interesting to see how the Thunderbirds go this year. Is it intimidating to know that the Swifts are hungry to get back on top? I don't think it's intimidating and we're hungry after our performance last year, Well let's talk about the Vixens, what's changed from last year, where your results were clearly disappointing? and we're the first ones to admit that. We've had some changes now and we've got five new players in our line up, we've got Kate Beveridge and Geva Mentor Madison Browne has come back, who's a Victorian come back from Perth Sarah Wall's come from Queensland, and we've got some youngies, Micaela Wilson, as well, who's coming up in the defence end. So, a totally new-look side. With that recruiting, have you noticed anything in the off season, more competition for spots that are of course, limited? Yeah, absolutely, we learnt our lesson last year that you had to have a strong bench when you have injuries, you need to have people who are ready to play. and shooting end as well, and our centre court. I think it just creates us to be a better team in the end. And what does that do to the competition overall, Geva Mentor's come across and now she'll be in defence. I guess that's one less spot that wasn't there last year. How does that impact on local players, with the imports particularly being so outstanding? How does that impact on local players, that we have here in Victoria, but I mean, it's a Catch-22, because we want to be the best team we can be, that they do come back eventually and play with the Vixens. What can we look for in terms of game style, is there something that you see in the future of netball that is going to be more expertly handled or a shift in the way teams play? where we're not relying so much on the big tall shooters all the time, I think we're finding that speed and movement of the ball is getting quicker and the quicker it gets, the harder it is to defend. So, I know with us at Vixens, we're not relying on just trying we're moving the ball around as quick as we can to get it straight under the post. There are a lot of tall shooters though, aren't there? There are a lot of tall shooters. How does that complement the faster ball movement, Yeah, well, I think with us we've made sure that, yes, we have a tall shooter, but we also have two quick shooters in Sharelle McMahon and Tegan Caldwell. on what the defence end's doing on the other team, we've got options to change it up to make sure that we suit what we want to do and not just what they're doing. Now, it is a Trans-Tasman competition, we mustn't ignore the New Zealand teams, what do you see - who do you think is the biggest threat out of New Zealand this year? The Northern Mystics had a win first up, so, I think they will be strong, they've got five Silver Ferns on their side. But with seasoned Vixens over the Tasman now, so Natasha Chokljat's playing for the Steel, So yeah, I think they're going to strengthen their sides and hopefully it is a more with the New Zealand girls. What's the relationship between - what we will see this year and Australia losing the critical Commonwealth Games final or do you see a more competitive Australian team, more girls shooting for spots on the national team? so everyone wants to be a part of that, I mean, I think everyone who's an Australian wants to be a member of that side. So, it all will go on selections, it all will go on this season so you have to play well. You have to play well early in the competition. Yeah, you do. You have no excuses, the coaches are watching, they're ready to pick their teams as soon as the season ends. So, for us, I think we didn't win that Gold Medal match, but New Zealand can have the bragging rights at the moment, but it's all reset after world champs, because it's a totally different ball game. and good luck to the Vixens this year. Thank you. Women's Australian Rules football is one of the fastest growing sports in the nation. It seems the question about a potential women's national league is not longer whether it should go ahead, but when it will be established. And while the administrators work on the detail of the sport's future, let's look at the history now. Historian, Rob Hess, has done the research and reveals women have been playing Aussie Rules much longer than you'd imagine. (Old fashioned music) COMMENTATOR: The battle of the Amazons. with the coyness of debutantes. Must be their first Ball. The 1933 game between the Carlton Ladies' Football Team

Ladies' Football Team took place during the Depression and it was used to raise funds for the unemployed. It was part of a carnival day, where, you know, on that very day there was a match between Chinese footballers, there was a carnival going on - big atmosphere which attracted a crowd of at least 10,000 to Princes Park to watch these women play. it's the earliest surviving film of women playing football, back in 1933. COMMENTATOR: Now then, no roughness, girls. Sylvia's got the ball. That's Sylvia, among the feet. Go on, 21, they won't hurt you! All on the ball, the fullback's the only one in position. Her bootlaces are undone. Nicely saved, sir - er, madam. Ah, that's tricked 'em. The participants were found by running an advertisement in the newspapers, The Argus in particular. And they were called down to the club, where the Carlton footy club let their captain, of the day, coach the women's team, where the Carlton footy club in particular, with the Carlton officials looking on and supporting them in their endeavours. But these women, that was their one and only game. They never played again, it was a one-off charity type match, When we talk about women's football, we have to understand that Australian Rules football, in terms of gender, is one of the most inclusive codes in the world. We're talking spectators, proportionally, spectators of 40-50% of the crowd We're talking spectators, and then codified. for women's interest to manifest itself didn't form until 1981, with the formation of the Victorian Women's Football League. You know, in the late 19th Century, early 20th Century. When did women first take up the game? And we can stretch it back - I guess a key question is what do you mean by women playing the game, because there's plenty of evidence from the late 19th Century of men dressing as women to play - again, charity fundraisers, theatrical troupes, Vaudeville shows, and this idea that it was funny for men to dress up as women playing the game. So, that's a bit of a forerunner, that's the prehistory, if you like,

of women playing. in terms of fundraising, Red Cross, et cetera. because they were raising funds for to actually play the game in Perth for the first time in 1915. It's interesting that women should first play the game in Western Australia because often the developments tend to go from a strong VFL and then throughout Australia. between two women of a department store, Foy & Gibson. That model of charity fundraising of women playing