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How SBS doco Struggle Street gave rising Penrith Panthers NRL star the drive to succeed 

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how sbs doco struggle street gave rising penrith panthers nrl star the drive to succeed

One of NRL‘s biggest young guns is using a confronting real life documentary that shocked the nation as motivation towards premiership glory. 

Samoan-born Penrith Panthers centre Stephen Crichton, 19, has become one of the code’s brightest rising stars since bursting onto the scene to make his NRL debut 13 months ago.

But it’s also been a tough journey for the Dally M rookie of the year contender who’s scored 14 tries so far this season. 

When he was two, his parents Sina and Va’a ditched their jobs at an onion factory in Apia and moved their growing family initially to New Zealand and then Australia, where they settled in western Sydney.

Crichton was in year nine when SBS aired Struggle Street, filmed in the Mount Druitt housing commission streets where he grew up.

Stephen Crichton (pictured after the Panthers' round 15 win against Cronulla) has been the integral part of the Penrith Panthers' stunning success in 2020

Stephen Crichton (pictured after the Panthers' round 15 win against Cronulla) has been the integral part of the Penrith Panthers' stunning success in 2020

Stephen Crichton (pictured after the Panthers’ round 15 win against Cronulla) has been the integral part of the Penrith Panthers’ stunning success in 2020

He recalls the deep hurt suffered and being given a hard time by Patrician Brothers Blacktown schoolmates about coming from the area when the documentary dubbed as ‘poverty porn’ by local mayor Stephen Bali aired in 2015.

‘They (SBS) threw us under a bus,’ Crichton told the Daily Telegraph.

‘Obviously living in Mount Druitt can be a struggle. And, yes, bad things do happen. But there’s also a lot of great things. Great families.’

‘And the fact they hid all that … it’s definitely what hurt the most.’ 

Crichton isn’t the only Panthers star to hail from the area they’re proud to call ‘Mounty.’

Struggle Street shocked the nation when it was aired by SBS. Pictured are documentary stars Peta and Ashley Kennedy with their family outside their Whalan home in western Sydney

Struggle Street shocked the nation when it was aired by SBS. Pictured are documentary stars Peta and Ashley Kennedy with their family outside their Whalan home in western Sydney

Struggle Street shocked the nation when it was aired by SBS. Pictured are documentary stars Peta and Ashley Kennedy with their family outside their Whalan home in western Sydney

Teammates Jerome Luai, Brian To’o, Moses Leota, Tyrone May and Spencer Leniu also grew up in the area and remember how badly their hometown was portrayed on screens across the country.

The confronting two-part series followed a group of Mount Druitt residents, most of whom were jobless, welfare dependent and living tough lives.

Among the characters were Ashley, a disability pensioner with an ice addict son and another with brain damage suffered in a car accident, while Bailee was a homeless teen who was kicked out of home at age 13. 

But it was Billie Jo Wilkie who shocked viewers the most, as the young mum was filmed smoking a bong while eight months pregnant. 

Five years on, the young Penrith Panthers stars use the documentary as motivation and haven’t lost a game in more than three months.

One of the more shocking scenes aired was Billie Jo Wilkie smoking a bong while pregnant

One of the more shocking scenes aired was Billie Jo Wilkie smoking a bong while pregnant

One of the more shocking scenes aired was Billie Jo Wilkie smoking a bong while pregnant

The Panthers hopes to continue their 13-game winning streak into the NRL finals and claim the club’s third premiership since 1967.

Leading the charge is Crichton, who’s desperate to the dispel the misconceived stereotype that nothing good comes out of Mount Druitt.

The younger brother of Canterbury Bulldogs  winger Christian, Crichton recently paid tribute to his parents for leaving Samoa in pursuit of better opportunities for their young family.

He almost never played rugby league because his family couldn’t afford the junior registration fees.

Stephen Crichton (pictured in  round nine NRL action for the Panthers) still remembers the deep hurt the SBS documentary caused in the community where he grew up

Stephen Crichton (pictured in  round nine NRL action for the Panthers) still remembers the deep hurt the SBS documentary caused in the community where he grew up

Stephen Crichton (pictured in  round nine NRL action for the Panthers) still remembers the deep hurt the SBS documentary caused in the community where he grew up

‘My parents weren’t wealthy as much as they are now when they were in Samoa,’ Crichton told nrl.com.au earlier this month.

‘They didn’t have enough to raise four kids there. And then my little brother and sister came when we were here. Full credit to my Mum and Dad. Every time I talk to them about it, I get emotional.’

His older brother Christian added: ‘We’re grateful for everything we have. We didn’t have much growing up but we had enough; we had our family, each other.’

Crichton still lives his parents and gives most of his NRL cheque to them. 

He plans to buy them a house in appreciation for everything he’s done for them.

Stephen Crichton (pictured) has emerged as one of the NRL's brightest rising talents in 2020

Stephen Crichton (pictured) has emerged as one of the NRL's brightest rising talents in 2020

Stephen Crichton (pictured) has emerged as one of the NRL’s brightest rising talents in 2020 

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Australian state overtakes Victoria in daily coronavirus cases for the first time in months

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australian state overtakes victoria in daily coronavirus cases for the first time in months

Coronavirus-ravaged Victoria has marked a major victory in its pandemic battle, having less new cases than another Australian state for the first time in months.

Victoria reported five new cases on Monday for the lowest number since June 12, the Department of Health and Human Services said. 

This brought the state’s total to 20,149 of which 349 are active infections.

Pictured: bulk carrier Patricia Oldendorff which came to Western Australia's iron-ore exporting Pilbara region from the Philippines and sparked an outbreak that has infected 17. WA surpassed Victoria in new daily cases for the first time in months

Pictured: bulk carrier Patricia Oldendorff which came to Western Australia's iron-ore exporting Pilbara region from the Philippines and sparked an outbreak that has infected 17. WA surpassed Victoria in new daily cases for the first time in months

Pictured: bulk carrier Patricia Oldendorff which came to Western Australia’s iron-ore exporting Pilbara region from the Philippines and sparked an outbreak that has infected 17. WA surpassed Victoria in new daily cases for the first time in months

Victoria's new daily cases are plummeting. Pictured is the Covid19data.com.au graph of the 14-day rolling average used to determine when restrictions can ease. Step Three easings come in when it dips below five.

Victoria's new daily cases are plummeting. Pictured is the Covid19data.com.au graph of the 14-day rolling average used to determine when restrictions can ease. Step Three easings come in when it dips below five.

Victoria’s new daily cases are plummeting. Pictured is the Covid19data.com.au graph of the 14-day rolling average used to determine when restrictions can ease. Step Three easings come in when it dips below five.

Western Australia had eight new cases on Monday from the bulk carrier Patricia Oldendor anchored off Port Hedland, which has so far been responsible for 17 cases.  

This brought Western Australia’s total to 676 of which 14 are active infections.

The cargo ship arrived from Manila in the Philippines last week and is anchored nine nautical miles off the iron-ore mining town on the WA north coast.

Pictured: a workout in Melbourne on Monday. Restrictions lifted on Monday, the same day Victoria was no longer the Australian state with the highest number of new cases

Pictured: a workout in Melbourne on Monday. Restrictions lifted on Monday, the same day Victoria was no longer the Australian state with the highest number of new cases

Pictured: a workout in Melbourne on Monday. Restrictions lifted on Monday, the same day Victoria was no longer the Australian state with the highest number of new cases

Ten of the infected crew are in hotel quarantine while seven remain onboard the vessel.

Four crew members have so far tested negative: two on the ship and two in hotel quarantine.  

Premier Daniel Andrews said Victorians should be proud of their single-digit daily new infection tally.

Once the 14-day rolling average of new daily infections reaches five cases per day, Victoria can move to Step Three easings of restrictions. 

It was originally expected that would happen on October 26 but it is now thought the state will meet this target early, on October 19 instead.

Hopes are also rising that travel restrictions can be eased with people eager for the freedom of holidaying away expected to boost suffering tourism operators.

Frustrated Australians will most likely be able to travel to New Zealand in a travel bubble to open long before Christmas, NZ's Deputy Prime Minister said Monday. Pictured: Wharariki Beach at Cape Farewell on the South Island

Frustrated Australians will most likely be able to travel to New Zealand in a travel bubble to open long before Christmas, NZ's Deputy Prime Minister said Monday. Pictured: Wharariki Beach at Cape Farewell on the South Island

Frustrated Australians will most likely be able to travel to New Zealand in a travel bubble to open long before Christmas, NZ’s Deputy Prime Minister said Monday. Pictured: Wharariki Beach at Cape Farewell on the South Island

New Zealand’s Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters has raised hopes across the Tasman saying a travel bubble with Australia could happen ‘much sooner’ than Christmas.

Previous discussions about opening a NZ-Australia travel corridor were ditched when Melbourne’s second deadly wave hit in June. 

Mr Peters said an early easing of travel restrictions would come long before December 25 as long as both nations had excellent contact tracing.

‘If we have the safe travel and tracing operations running as they should … then I think it [travel bubble] can be much, much sooner,’ he told Channel 9’s Today Show.  

CORONAVIRUS CASES IN AUSTRALIA: 27,040

Victoria: 20,145

New South Wales: 4,218

Queensland: 1,157

Western Australia: 676

South Australia: 468

Tasmania: 230

Australian Capital Territory: 113

Northern Territory: 33

TOTAL CASES: 27,040

ESTIMATED ACTIVE CASES: 505

DEATHS: 872

Updated: 7.47 PM, 28 September, 2020

Source: Australian Government Department of Health

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‘It is over to the authorities to ensure that it happens both ways. Personally if we can ensure that both Australia and New Zealand are safe in what we seek to do, it is very important that we get our tourism back on track as fast as we possibly can.’    

Domestic travel within Australia also has the potential to revitalise the tourism sector as Australians frustrated by restrictions get itchy feet.

Interstate borders have been tumbling with the following travel now allowed:

NSW: Anyone can enter unless they visited Victoria in the last 14 days. Anyone who has been in Victoria needs an exemption to enter and has to quarantine for 14 days. NSW residents cannot cross the border to Queensland.

South Australia: Everyone can enter unless they’ve been in Victoria in the last 14 days. South Australia has also just relaxed its rules to allow up to 600 overseas Australian travellers to return to the state each week – more than double the previous intake. 

Queensland: Anyone can enter unless they have been in a hotspot during the last 14 days, such as Victoria or NSW. Queenslanders going to Tasmania have to isolate for 14 days and they cannot go to WA without an exemption.

ACT: Anyone can enter unless they’ve been in Victoria recently. 

Northern Territory: Everyone can enter unless they’ve been in a coroanvirus hotspot (Victoria and Sydney) in the last 28 days. Those who have been in a hotspot must do 14 days of hotel quarantine costing $2500. 

Tasmania: Nobody can enter without an exemption if they have been in a hotspot (including all of Victoria) during the last 14 days. All those entering the state must quarantine for 14 days.

Western Australia: Nobody can enter without applying for an exemption.   

MELBOURNE’S ROADMAP OUT OF COVID-19 LOCKDOWN – WHAT YOU WILL BE ABLE TO DO AND WHEN:

Step one: Came into effect on September 14 

Step two: Came into effect on September 28 

Step three: When there is a daily statewide average of five new cases over the past 14 days. The original aim was for October 26 but that has been brought forward to October 19 after the 14-day average of new cases fell below initial expectations

Step four: The move to step four will come when there have been no new COVID-19 cases in the past 14 days. The aim is for this to come into place on November 23 

COVID Normal: After 28 days of no new COVID-19 cases, things will return to normal. 

FREEDOMS YOU GET AT EACH STEP OF EASING 

Step one – came into effect September 14 

Curfew has been eased to 9pm-5am

People can still only leave home for the four reasons (shopping, exercise, work and care or medical attention)

Public gatherings increased to two people, or a household, for a maximum of two hours

 Singles can have one nominated person to their home as part of the ‘singles social bubble’ 

Childcare and early educators to remain closed

Schools will continue to learn remotely unless they have exemptions

 Adult education to continue to be done remotely, unless they have exemption

 Only go to work if you are in a permitted industry 

– Cafes and restaurants will continue with take away only

– Retail businesses will remain open for essential shopping, with others only operating with click and collect

– Only one person per household can do the essential shopping 

Step two – came into effect September 28

 Melbourne’s curfew lifted

– Public gatherings increase again to five people from a maximum of two households

Childcare and early educators can re-open

Schools to continue with remote learning, but Prep to Grade Two and Year 11 and Year 12 students will gradually return to class in Term 4 

 There will be an increase to permitted workplaces

Step three – originally expected October 26, brought forward to October 19 

There are no restrictions on leaving home

Public gatherings increase to 10 people together outdoors

 A ‘household bubble’ will be introduced, so five people from one house can visit another 

Remote learning to continue, but Grades 3 to Year 11 can gradually return to class

– Adult education to continue to be done remotely, but hands on classes will see a phased return to onsite 

 Work from home is encouraged

– Up to 10 people can eat together at restaurants and cafes, with the majority of tables outdoor

– Retail shops to reopen, with hairdresses operating under safety measures but beauty stores to remain closed

– Real estate agents can conduct private inspections by appointment

– The one person per household limit on shopping is to be revoked 

Step four – expected in November, dependent on new case numbers:

Public gatherings to increase to 50 people outdoors

 Up to 20 visitors can attend a home at any one time

 All adult education will return to onsite with safety measures in place

– Groups limited to 20 indoors and a maximum of 50 patrons per venue

– All retail stores to reopen, while real estate agents can operate with safety measures and by keeping a record of attendants

Step five – COVID normal:

Public gatherings have no restriction

 There will also be no restriction on visitors to homes

– Phased return to onsite work for work from home workers

  Schools to reopen as normal

– Restrictions on hospitality removed, but venues to continue keeping records 

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This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Trailer flips over on bypass in Texas as lucky driver escapes unscathed

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trailer flips over on bypass in texas as lucky driver escapes unscathed

A lucky driver managed to escape a crash unharmed after his truck overturned because it could not withstand the weight of its top heavy trailer.

A man was driving his truck across a busy bypass in Irving, Texas, on September 17 when his trailer flipped over and sent the vehicle crashing into a road barrier.

The car was travelling in the right-hand lane of the bypass in Dallas-Fort Worth as other vehicles overtook it on its left, dashcam footage shows. 

In the video, the truck begins to turn the corner but the top heavy trailer sways unsteadily as the small car struggles to hold the weight of the large attachment.   

A man was driving his car on a bypass in Irving, Texas, on September 17 when his trailer caused the vehicle to topple over and crash into a retaining wall

A man was driving his car on a bypass in Irving, Texas, on September 17 when his trailer caused the vehicle to topple over and crash into a retaining wall

A man was driving his car on a bypass in Irving, Texas, on September 17 when his trailer caused the vehicle to topple over and crash into a retaining wall

Dashcam video footage shows the trailer, which has a Hummer strapped securely on top, topples over as the truck attempts to veer around a corner

Dashcam video footage shows the trailer, which has a Hummer strapped securely on top, topples over as the truck attempts to veer around a corner

Dashcam video footage shows the trailer, which has a Hummer strapped securely on top, topples over as the truck attempts to veer around a corner

The truck topples over when it veers around the corner as it is not able to withstand the weight of the long trailer, which has a Hummer securely strapped on top.

The truck smashes into the safety barrier on the bypass after skidding along the road on its side, the footage shows.

Another car, which had been driving alongside the truck before the crash, narrowly avoided the crash after managing to overtake the vehicle just before it lost control.

The driver of the truck also had a lucky escape as the safety barrier prevented his vehicle from toppling over the side of the bypass, instead pushing the overturned car back into the middle of the road. 

The driver who recorded the dashcam footage said that the man who was driving the truck had somehow managed to escape unharmed.

He added: ‘My commute home in DFW on my dashcam.

Another car, which had been driving alongside the truck before the crash, narrowly avoided the crash after managing to overtake the vehicle just before it lost control

Another car, which had been driving alongside the truck before the crash, narrowly avoided the crash after managing to overtake the vehicle just before it lost control

Another car, which had been driving alongside the truck before the crash, narrowly avoided the crash after managing to overtake the vehicle just before it lost control

The driver who recorded the dashcam footage said that the man who was driving the truck had luckily managed to escape from the crash unharmed

The driver who recorded the dashcam footage said that the man who was driving the truck had luckily managed to escape from the crash unharmed

The driver who recorded the dashcam footage said that the man who was driving the truck had luckily managed to escape from the crash unharmed

‘The trailer was way too top-heavy with a hummer on the top and the driver took the bypass going to fast One gentleman in the truck was perfectly fine.’

The footage of the crash has been shared on YouTube and viewed more than 40,000 times by shocked individuals.

One person said: ‘Wow that could have ended a lot worse if he made it over that retaining wall.’

Another commented: ‘Damn hope he had insurance and walked away from that!’

Other users commended the truck driver on effectively strapping down the vehicle on top of the trailer, which managed to stay securely attached throughout the crash.

Rollovers can be caused by a truck changing direction too sharply or turning a corner too quickly.

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Fears for AFL star Harley Bennell after his career ended when he broke COVID-19 rules in Queensland

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fears for afl star harley bennell after his career ended when he broke covid 19 rules in queensland

Friends and family are worried for the welfare of AFL star Harley Bennell after he announced his retirement following a COVID-19 breach.

The Melbourne Demons player was ordered to leave Queensland after leaving the club bubble to visit an ‘unapproved premises’ in Maroochydore on September 19.

The 27-year-old retired after the incident on Monday, while the Demons were fined $50,000.

Despite his orders from the AFL, Bennell has remained on the Gold Coast with friends while the Demons have been trying to organise his flight home to Perth.

AFL star Harley Bennell (pictured with girlfriend Amy Crellin) remains in Queensland despite being told to leave by the AFL

AFL star Harley Bennell (pictured with girlfriend Amy Crellin) remains in Queensland despite being told to leave by the AFL

AFL star Harley Bennell (pictured with girlfriend Amy Crellin) remains in Queensland despite being told to leave by the AFL

Bennell’s partner and child already left the state in the days after his breach, the Herald Sun reported.

Melbourne CEO Gary Pert said Bennell’s actions were selfish and a ‘clear breach’ of the AFL’s COVID-19 protocols.  

‘He has made a very poor decision, which is incredibly disappointing,’ Pert said.

‘He has not only put himself, his teammates and the competition at risk, but he has failed to live up to the values of the Melbourne Football Club.’

Pert apologised for the midfielder’s behaviour and said the club accepted the $50,000 fine. 

Upon learning of a potential breach, the Demons immediately notified the AFL, which investigated the matter. 

The 27-year-old (pictured in action for Th Demons) breached the AFL's COVID-19 return to play safety protocols to visit an 'unapproved premises' in Maroochydore on September 19

The 27-year-old (pictured in action for Th Demons) breached the AFL's COVID-19 return to play safety protocols to visit an 'unapproved premises' in Maroochydore on September 19

The 27-year-old (pictured in action for Th Demons) breached the AFL’s COVID-19 return to play safety protocols to visit an ‘unapproved premises’ in Maroochydore on September 19

AFL General Counsel Andrew Dillon said the AFL’s protocols are the competition’s license to play and anyone breaching them will be held to account.

‘Harley knew the rules and could have put his club and the competition at risk on the eve of a finals campaign,’ Dillon said.

The midfielder and former No.2 draft pick took to social media to call time on his rollercoaster 88-game career, which began in 2011 at Gold Coast.

Posting a photo on Instagram of himself in a jumper at all three of his AFL clubs – the Suns, Fremantle and the Demons – Bennell said it had been the ‘best 10 years of my life’.

‘Thank you to everyone that was involved. It was an awesome ride,’ Bennell wrote. 

Bennell started his AFL career with the Gold Coast Suns (pictured) where he enjoyed a breakout season in 2012

Bennell started his AFL career with the Gold Coast Suns (pictured) where he enjoyed a breakout season in 2012

Bennell started his AFL career with the Gold Coast Suns (pictured) where he enjoyed a breakout season in 2012

Bennell appeared set to earn a new contract with the club before the indiscretion after playing five games in his first season at Melbourne.

Injuries kept him to just two games in a four-year stint at Fremantle and he departed the Dockers in July 2019.

Melbourne acknowledged Bennell’s retirement, posting on social media: ‘Wishing you all the best for the future, Harley’.

Bennell played his best football at the Suns, enjoying a breakout season in 2012 when he finished second in the club’s best-and-fairest behind Gary Ablett Jnr.

Disciplinary issues saw him fall out-of-favour at Gold Coast and he was traded to Fremantle at the end of the 2015 season. 

Bennell (pictured with girlfriend Amy Crellin) announced his retirement on Monday in the wake of his COVID breach

Bennell (pictured with girlfriend Amy Crellin) announced his retirement on Monday in the wake of his COVID breach

Bennell (pictured with girlfriend Amy Crellin) announced his retirement on Monday in the wake of his COVID breach

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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