Senators agree to axe truckies’ tribunal

The federal government appears to have the numbers to abolish a road safety watchdog when parliament resumes next week.

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Crossbenchers Jacqui Lambie, Glenn Lazarus, Bob Day, David Leyonhjelm and Nick Xenophon all support axing the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal, after it set new minimum pay rates which owner-drivers fear will drive them out of business.

Palmer United Party senator Dio Wang and independent John Madigan have now both indicated they are also willing to vote in favour of its abolition, provided funding is re-directed to road safety programs.

The government initially pledged to axe the tribunal after the election, but will now introduce legislation when parliament is recalled next Monday.

It plans on re-directing the $4 million in funding to the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator.

“I want to be assured that the $4 million will be spent on road safety,” Senator Wang told Sky News.

Senator Madigan says he wants to see that the government has a road-map in place to deal with road safety issues.

“That’s what I’m working on at the present time, to put forward a plan that takes on board all people’s concerns so that they’re dealt with and not swept under the carpet,” he told ABC radio on Thursday.

The coalition will also move to freeze the new pay rates, set by the tribunal, until 2017.

Acting prime minister Barnaby Joyce welcomed support from crossbenchers.

“That’s precisely what we want,” he told ABC radio.

“We should have absolutely no problem getting this through as quickly as possible.”

* The government has set up a temporary hotline through the Social Services Department to provide financial advice for owner-drivers 1800 007 007.

Victorian government to investigate death of toddler Sanaya Sahib

The actions of welfare agencies in the weeks and months before toddler Sanaya Sahib’s death are to be investigated by the Victorian government.

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The 14-month-old was allegedly murdered by her mother, Sofina Nikat, in Melbourne on Saturday.

Nikat was excused from fronting court on Wednesday after her lawyer, Michael McNamara, raised mental health concerns.

Now state families minister Jenny Mikakos has ordered a probe into how government agencies dealt with the family before the toddler’s death.

“There are strict protocols in place between agencies and services when it comes to sharing information about children,” a government spokeswoman said in a statement.

“The Minister for Families and Children has requested the Commissioner for Children and Young People investigate the death of Sanaya Sahib to determine whether these protocols have been followed by the Department of Health and Human Services and all related agencies.”

Sanaya’s body was found in the Darebin Creek on Sunday less than 24 hours after Nikat told police she had been snatched from her pram in a Heidelberg West park.

Nikat had told police a man of African appearance, smelling of alcohol and wearing no shoes, pushed her to the ground before taking off with the toddler.

She said she gave chase but could not catch him.

Nikat, of Mitcham, was charged with her daughter’s murder on Tuesday.

A public memorial will take place at the Heidelberg park on Friday when balloons will be released to remember Sanaya.

The 14-month-old’s funeral will be held on Saturday with Sanaya’s father – who separated from Nikat a year ago – saying the public is welcome to attend.

 

Eels’ Radradra urged to get off the wing

The Semi-trailer has been parked far too long for his owner’s liking.

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So now Parramatta star Semi Radradra has been told to get off his wing in a bid to get the wheels cranking again.

“If he sits out there and waits for it, it’s not always going to get to him,” coach Brad Arthur said.

“The game’s very fast this year, so there’s some opportunities for the outside backs once the sting gets taken out of the game from the opposition forwards. There’s chances for him to come and get the ball.”

Despite Parramatta soaring high in third spot on the NRL ladder heading into their round seven clash with Manly, their Fijian flyer has been relatively quiet.

His numbers of two tries, four line-breaks, 18 tackle breaks and eight offloads actually make for strong reading, but Eels coach Brad Arthur reckons the two-time Dally M Winger of the Year can do better.

“Every team is pretty smart with their plan against Semi to try and limit the opportunities that he gets,” Arthur said.

“It’s the same when you play against Greg Inglis – you don’t want to kick the ball to him.”

Radradra also has competition for the ball this year.

With new recruits Michael Jennings, Michael Gordon and Kieran Foran arriving over the summer as shiny attacking targets, the 23-year-old Radradra is no longer the sole option in the red zone.

“Maybe we’ve tended to rely on Semi a little bit and we don’t need to as much,” Arthur said.

So if the 23-year-old wants the ball, he’s been told to go get it.

“He’s not a happy man when he doesn’t get the footy, so he’s finding ways to get it,” Arthur said.

“He’s finding ways now to get into the game without the ball being kicked to him all the time. It’d be great if we could get him some open space. Hopefully he can get a few tries.”

Govt warned to urgently fix housing crisis

The Turnbull government must urgently reform housing policy to avoid creating a class of lifelong renters, economists warn.

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Prospective first-home buyers hoping for some relief once interest rates eventually drift higher will be left wanting, according to Rachel Ong Viforj, professor of economics at Curtin Business School.

The market has failed and strong government intervention is needed to fix the problems that are locking young Australians out of the housing market, she says.

“I do not think that we can afford to keep waiting around for the market to do its job any longer,” Prof Ong Viforj told the National Press Club on Tuesday.

“It’s very clear the market is not doing its job.

“The problem is so big at the moment and so entrenched and so persistent that it is going to require significant reform to make progress.”

Last week’s federal budget proposed a range of measures to help improve housing affordability, including allowing first-home buyers to make voluntary contributions up to $30,000 to superannuation to save for a deposit.

But that will not do anything to ease housing demand and will offer greater benefits to those on higher incomes, Prof Ong Viforj says.

She says the government needs to go further with genuine reform on negative gearing and capital gains tax concessions.

Economist Danielle Wood says government rather than the market has failed.

Governments have not kept with releasing new land, planning laws have stood in the way of boosting supply and investor tax concessions have worked to increase speculative activity.

“Government failure has led to some pretty perverse outcomes in the market,” she said.

Ms Wood said it was “absolutely baffling” the federal government failed to tackle capital gains tax concessions in the federal budget.

The new superannuation saver scheme was mildly helpful.

“If you’re trying to buy a median home in Melbourne or Sydney you’re talking about a deposit of $160,000 to $200,000 – $30,000 isn’t getting you very far,” she said.

Prof Ong Viforj believes the government must build on its mild housing affordability measures with more meaningful reform in the 2018/19 budget.

“The great Australian dream of owning a home is rapidly fading for younger generations,” she said.

“It’s very urgent that we now move very quickly beyond piecemeal approaches to housing affordability.”

British Moors Murderer child killer dies

One of Britain’s most notorious killers, “Moors murderer” Ian Brady, who murdered five children with his lover and accomplice Myra Hindley during a sadistic two-year reign of terror in the 1960s has died.

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Brady and Hindley were jailed for life in 1966 for abducting, torturing, sexually abusing and then murdering the children before burying their young victims on the bleak Saddleworth Moor near the northern city of Manchester.

Brady died at Ashworth secure hospital in Liverpool in Monday, where he has been housed since 1985 after being diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, aged 79.

“We can confirm a 79-year-old patient in long-term care at Ashworth High Secure Hospital has died after becoming physically unwell,” a spokesman for the hospital said.

For many of his last years, Brady had been on intermittent hunger strike and staff at Ashworth fed him via a tube through the nose on the grounds he was insane and incapable of deciding to end his own life.

In 2013, a Mental Health Tribunal rejected his request to return to prison, ruling it was necessary in his interests and for the safety of others that he remain at Ashworth.

The sadistic nature of the Moors Murderers’ killings made them among the most despised figures in Britain.

Brady was found guilty of snatching and killing 12-year-old John Kilbride, Edward Evans, 17, Lesley Ann Downey, 10, while Hindley was convicted of murdering Downey and Evans and shielding her lover in the third case.

In the 1980s, the couple admitted abducting and murdering 16-year-old Pauline Reade on her way to a Manchester disco in 1963 and killing Keith Bennett, 12, in 1964.

They were finally caught when Hindley’s brother-in-law tipped off police

During their trial the court heard tape recordings made by the couple of their victims pleading for mercy before they were tortured and killed.

One tape featured the voice of Downey, filled with pain and fear, whimpering: “I want to see my mummy. Please God, help me.”

Although their crimes took place 40 years ago, the revulsion felt by Britons and the hatred directed at them by the tabloid press hardly diminished.

Hindley was Britain’s longest serving female prisoner when she died in 2002 after 36 years in jail.

Successive UK governments had refused to release her despite her claims she had reformed and was driven to commit the murders by the psychopathic Brady. He insisted she was as much to blame.

Hindley had tried to court favour by helping police to find the missing body of Bennett. But despite exhaustive searches, his body has never been found.

When she was cremated, a banner which read “Burn in hell” was left outside the building.

No AFL sledging of Blues’ Murphy: Dockers

Fremantle have vowed not to direct any vicious sledging at Marc Murphy on Sunday as the Carlton AFL skipper deals with the fallout of verbal abuse from St Kilda players.

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Murphy was left fuming after St Kilda players allegedly sledged him about his wife during last week’s Blues-Saints match.

Fremantle play Carlton on Sunday at Domain Stadium, and Dockers forward Shane Kersten says his team will steer clear of the issue when they face Murphy.

“Personally, I don’t think it’s on,” Kersten said on Tuesday.

“I’m not one to go out and sledge people. If there’s a little bit of sledging, it’s all in good humour.

“I’m sure we’ll have a briefing this week. But we’re not a team that goes out to try to target players in that way to get under their skin or anything.

“If they’re a good player and if we’re looking to tag them, then that’s what we’ll do.

“We don’t need to go over and above to try to win a game.”

Kersten said the young nature of Fremantle’s squad meant they probably couldn’t afford to get involved in sledging even if they wanted to.

“Obviously being young, we don’t go and say too much because it might come back to bite us in the backside,” Kersten said.

“We just leave it to our actions and try to play some good footy.”

Kersten said troubled midfielder Harley Bennell still had the full backing of the player group despite hitting the headlines yet again for the wrong reasons.

Bennell fronted Fremantle’s hierarchy on Tuesday in relation to his bizarre actions on Saturday while watching a WAFL game.

The 24-year-old twice interrupted the three-quarter time huddle of the match between Peel Thunder and Swan Districts to speak to his cousin Traye Bennell.

The club are yet to comment on whether they’ll hand down a punishment.

“We, as a playing group, are sticking by him,” Kersten said of Bennell, who was ejected from a Virgin Australia flight last month for being drunk.

“He’s one of our brothers.

“We’re not a club to go and hang our brothers out and leave them to dry.

“We’re fully behind him at the moment.

“He’s been in good spirits around the club the last few days.”

The Dockers (5-3) are on the cusp of the top eight after snaring five wins from their past six matches.

Kersten, who was traded to Fremantle from Geelong at the end of last season, struggled in the early rounds.

But he has hit his straps over the past three rounds, booting six goals during that period to cement his place in the forward set-up.

Extra police at NSW schoolgirl attack site

A NSW community where a 12-year-old schoolgirl was dragged into bushland and sexually assaulted is “angry” and worried, with police upping their presence in the area in a bid to make residents feel safe.

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Superintendent Danny Sullivan says the man responsible for Monday morning’s horrific Central Coast attack hasn’t been found but locals have come forward with information and leads.

“We’re very pleased with the response so far,” he told AAP on Tuesday.

Additional police on the ground and a mobile command centre are “reassuring the local community that we’re doing our best to make sure the area is safe,” he said.

The girl told police she was grabbed from behind by a knife-wielding stranger while walking alone to school on a commonly-used pathway between Reeves and Carrington Streets at Narara just before 8am.

The man, dressed in camouflage clothing, took the girl to nearby bushland, tied her up and sexually and indecently assaulted her.

The girl escaped to her school where she reported the incident before being treated at Gosford Hospital.

‘I can acknowledge that our community is angry,” Supt Sullivan said.

‘But at this stage it’s about trusting your local police to conduct a professional and thorough investigation.

I certainly wouldn’t be encouraging anybody towards thoughts of vigilante action.”

Supt Sullivan said there was no connection between the attack and a poster recently seen in the area warning of a paedophile.

‘I’m not going to comment on that at all and certainly I’m not exploring that as a link in this matter at the moment,” he said.

The attacker is described as being in his mid-20s, about 175 to 180 centimetres tall, grey-blond haired, blue eyed and with a chubby build.

He was wearing a knitted camouflage shirt and camouflage pants and hat, with a loose covering over his face that exposed his eyes and nose.

As well as the hunting knife, he was carrying a camouflage bag.

Local investigators are working with detectives from the State Crime Command child abuse squad.

Leilua confident he can return to NRL best

Canberra centre Joey Leilua believes he and right-edge partner Jordan Rapana can shake off the targets on their backs and return to the form which has terrorised NRL rivals.

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The Raiders slumped to a third-straight loss on Sunday against struggling Newcastle, with the Knights deliberately kicking into touch late in the tackle count to deny ‘Leipana’ the ball.

It was a tactic also employed successfully last month by Manly, as teams looked for ways to shut down the devastating attacking flair of Leilua and Rapana.

“They are targeting us, for sure. You can see it in every game lately,” Leilua said on Tuesday.

“They’re getting out and marking us and tackling us.”

But he can see a positive to the kicking tactic which is starving him of possession.

“If teams are going to do that to us, it gives our forwards a rest – it’s a win-win,” he said.

While the dynamic duo started the season in fine touch, Rapana and Leilua’s numbers have dropped dramatically during the Raiders’ losing streak.

Rapana averaged almost 175 metres a game on the wing during the first seven rounds, a figure which had dipped to 74m in the past three matches.

Leilua racked up 114.4m a game up to round seven but had been averaging 80.3m in the Raiders’ past three losses.

The pair who combined for 13 tries after seven rounds had crossed once between them since, a spectacular effort from Rapana almost a month ago against the Sea Eagles.

While Leilua admits he has been below his best, he’s counting on his instinctive style to fight his way out of the rut.

“I’ve always got confidence,” Leilua said.

“We’ve just got to get in there and get more involved.”

The embarrassing slip-up against the Knights has applied the pressure on Canberra, who sit one game outside the top eight.

They face Parramatta on Saturday night at ANZ Stadium, with the Eels set to be boosted by the arrival of five-eighth Mitchell Moses after his release by the Wests Tigers.

That will go some of the way to offsetting the loss of star playmaker Corey Norman who is set to miss four weeks with a knee injury.

The Raiders will add some firepower of their own, with Satet of Origin forward Josh Papalii returning from suspension.

“He was a big loss on the weekend. Having him back will be a big impact for that left side,” Leilua said.

Papalii’s inclusion at second row pushes Joe Tapine to lock and Luke Bateman to the bench.

LEIPANA’S LAMENT:

Key statistics, rounds eight to 10, compared to first seven matches:

* Tries:

Rapana: 1 (down from 7)

Leilua: 0 (down from 6)

* Average run metres:

Rapana: 74 (down from 174.8)

Leilua: 80.3 (down from 114.4)

* Missed tackles:

Rapana: 8 (compared to 10 in first seven rounds)

Leilua: 11 (8 in opening seven rounds)

Vic sawmill on the brink, staff blindsided

A sawmill’s sudden warning that it might close with the loss of 160 jobs in the Latrobe Valley is an “act of bastardry”, the CFMEU says.

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Carter Holt Harvey is consulting with workers about the “possible closure” of its mill in Morwell, which is facing a reduced supply of sawlogs because of the Black Saturday and 2014 bushfires.

The company says fires since 2003 have burnt 15 per cent of supplier Hancock Victorian Plantations’ pine estates and new trees will take at least 28 years to mature.

Employee Julie Smith, a single parent, burst into tears when asked about her job prospects in the region.

“Where am I going to get a job? Where is any of us going to get a job?” she told Channel Nine from Morwell on Tuesday afternoon.

“We’re all competing against one another and competing against Hazelwood.”

The Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union says the announcement came as a “bolt out of the blue” despite the company knowing for some time its timber supplies were uncertain.

“We think the way they’ve conducted themselves demonstrates the company is ruthless and we are calling for urgent talks,” Michael O’Connor, CFMEU National Secretary said.

“The company is heartless the way they’ve gone about this. They’ve hidden the problem. It’s like being hit by a train that’s coming at you at one mile an hour.”

The union says CHH has breached its industrial obligations by failing to formally notify the union before announcing an impending closure.

CHH says a final decision hasn’t been made but at this point the mill isn’t “viable into the future”.

“The absolute priority of CHH is to work closely with employees to ensure the best possible outcome for all staff,” chief executive Geoff Harvey said.

“We are distressed by our predicament and more importantly, are extremely conscious of the distress of our workers whose livelihoods are now uncertain and threatened.”

The company says if it does close, it will seek to “redeploy staff where possible”.

The Andrews government says it’s “deeply disappointed” but has been told by the company it may be “unavoidable” given the poor sawlog quality.

Minister for Regional Development Jaala Pulford said the government would work with Carter Holt Harvey to ensure every effort to connect impacted workers to support services.

The CFMEU says it’s likely the company will close and make its workforce redundant in August or September.

The union is seeking a meeting with the company to discuss the timetable.

NSW bill gives terminally ill right to die

A terminally ill mother of two has told her emotional story in NSW parliament, leaving politicians in tears as they push for a new bill that would give her and others like her the right to die with dignity.

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Battling motor neuron disease, Anne Gabrielides, 53, joined MPs on Tuesday to show her support for the controversial legislation.

Slightly slurred speech less than a year ago has snowballed, leaving Ms Gabrielides struggling to talk and in fear she will be “trapped in her body” without the option to end her own life, she told journalists with the aid of text-to-speech software on her iPad.

“Ten months ago I only had a mild speech slur, now it’s all gone,” she said.

A cross-party working group of five NSW MPs led by National Trevor Khan released a draft bill for public consultation on Tuesday and expect to introduce it to parliament in August.

If passed it will give people over 25 and expected to die within 12 months, access to medically assisted euthanasia.

Mr Khan said current laws don’t stop people trying to end their lives and the legislation would encourage discussion of euthanasia with a doctor, providing more humane options.

“Is it fair and reasonable that a person has to choose to starve themselves to death to bring an end to their suffering? That’s an appalling choice that’s presented to people now,” Mr Khan said.

Safeguards in the bill include a 48-hour cooling-off period and the right of close relatives to challenge patient eligibility in court as well as a requirement that two medical practitioners approve the final decision.

A professional speech pathologist, Ms Gabrielides, from the Blue Mountains, has been given a 12-month prognosis and is terrified of an undignified, drawn out and painful death.

The “bastard of a disease” had made daily tasks a struggle and speaking, using her hands and eating almost impossible, Ms Gabrielides said.

Her husband, daughter and son joined her at Parliament House.

Paul Gabrielides said the decision for his wife to end her own life had been made more than 35 years after watching his mother die a horrible death.

“We had decided right there and then that we were not going to experience the same thing,” Mr Gabrielides said.

A change长沙楼凤, petition seeking support from MPs for assisted dying laws has received more than 51,000 signatures.

Nobody in the family wanted Ms Gabrielides to die but they supported her choice, daughter Eleni, 20, said.

“It was never a question for me. Our family has always been about supporting each other and loving each other no matter what,” she said.

Euthanasia is not legal in any Australian state or territory despite being briefly legalised in the Northern Territory.

Victoria is also working on a bill to legalise assisted dying and it is expected to vote on it later this year.

Elliott wants a review of BHP petroleum

Activist hedge fund Elliott Advisors has called on BHP Billiton to conduct an independent review of its petroleum business, saying it has found broad support from other shareholders for unlocking its value.

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Elliott, which claims a 4.1 per cent stake in BHP’s UK-listed unit, says it prefers a full or partial demerger of the unit, but recognises there are other possible solutions to unlock the latent value of the petroleum business.

“Our shareholder conversations have revealed extremely broad and deep-rooted support for proactive steps to be taken by management to achieve an optimal value outcome,” it said in a letter to BHP’s board, released publicly on Tuesday.

The logical next step would be an in-depth, open and timely independent strategic review of the business, Elliott said.

The statement is part of a public campaign launched by Elliott in April, urging the miner to spin off its US petroleum business for listing in New York and to return more cash to shareholders through buybacks.

It had also asked BHP’s board to improve returns by merging the UK and Australian entities into a single Australian-headquartered and London-listed company.

Elliott has seemingly backed down on the restructure, saying on Tuesday it was open to a unified company that would retain its full share market listing in Australia and London.

It said it had listened carefully to feedback on the collapse of the dual-listed structure, including the regulatory sensitivities, and believed the solution lies in a unified business remaining Australian-headquartered and a fully Australian tax resident, with a full ASX listing and a full LSE listing.

Earlier this month, federal Treasurer Scott Morrison threatened court action to prevent Elliott’s original plan for BHP to have a primary London listing and its shares still traded on the ASX through CHESS Depository Interests.

Elliott also said it had seen a significant groundswell of dissatisfaction among BHP shareholders because of the company’s chronic underperformance, and accused its board of not being open to suggestions and misleading in its response to the original proposals.

“We reject both claims,” BHP said in a statement, adding it will review Elliott’s revised proposal in full and formally respond as appropriate.

Speaking at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Metals, Mining & Steel Conference in Spain, chief executive Andrew Mackenzie said BHP had made consistent progress in the last year on its plans to improve shareholder value.

“We are confident that continued delivery of these plans, from our stronger base today, could grow the value of our company by up to 50 per cent and almost double the return on capital,” he said.

BHP has cut costs, invested in major growth projects, and has options to increase production capacity across its portfolio, Mr Mackenzie said.

All options to realise the value of BHP’s shale acreage, including further appraisal, new technology, asset sales and swaps will also be pursued, he said.

Healthe Care grows in Aust, looks to Asia

Hospital operator Healthe Care has cemented its position as one of Australia’s biggest operators following its latest acquisition and now the Chinese-owned group is aiming to be a dominant player across the Asia Pacific region.

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Healthe on Tuesday finalised its acquisition of 12 Australian and one New Zealand hospitals from Pulse Healthcare, a month after buying three hospitals from Evolution Healthcare.

Healthe now has 34 hospitals, including Westmead Rehabilitation Hospital and Bega Valley Private in NSW and Mackay Rehabilitation Hospital in Queensland.

The homegrown group, established in 2005, is Australia’s third-largest hospitals network behind Ramsay Health Care and Healthscope.

China’s Luye Medical, owned by Chinese billionaire Liu Dian Bo, acquired Healthe Care for $938 million in April 2016, adding it to a portfolio of health care services in China, South Korea and Singapore.

Healthe Care chief executive Steve Atkins says Chinese ownership gives the company he co-founded 12 years ago an edge over other healthcare companies wanting to do business in China.

Mr Atkins says the Chinese government has introduced health care reforms in the past four years which make it easier for private hospitals to grow and for international players to enter the market.

“China is an emerging market for private hospitals,” he said.

“We expect it will be the biggest market in the world at some stage in the future and it forms a big part of our growth strategy.”

Mr Atkins said previously doctors in China were only allowed to work at one site but now can work at multiple hospitals.

Also public “VIP suites” that offer hospital beds – usually single rooms with more staffing – at extra cost have been restricted, paving the way for the private sector to take up that demand.

“Things happen very quickly in China especially now that the reform agenda has taken place,” he said.

A report by research firm IBISWorld said ongoing health reforms will lead to an increase in private and foreign hospitals in China and forecasts total revenue for the sector to hit $492.4 billion by 2020.

People over 65 years old accounted for about 10 per cent of China’s population in 2014 and this is expected to grow.

Mr Atkins said Healthe wants to be a “Pan-Asia business” providing services through the Luye Medical group.

In the past 12 months, Healthe has provided a team of executives to work with Luye Medical on bringing Australian standards of health care to its Chinese hospitals and eventually the companies will share medical expertise.

Bulldogs’ AFL stars set to return for Cats

The Western Bulldogs are set to regain a swag of AFL stars for Friday night’s match against Geelong, with Bob Murphy, Travis Cloke and Mitch Wallis all in the mix to return.

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Star recruit Cloke hasn’t played since round four, while Jordan Roughead and Wallis are yet to feature this year for the reigning premiers.

The fifth-placed Cats host the eighth-placed Bulldogs in a pivotal match that will shape the top eight, with the defending premiers last beating the Cats in 2009 and not having won in Geelong since 2003.

While the Bulldogs will be bolstered by those key personnel, they have lost forward Stewart Crameri, who will undergo surgery on his injured hip and will be sidelined for at least a month.

“It’s just a little bit of a clean out, as it’s just been impeding him a little bit and giving him a fraction of grief,” Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge said.

“Hopefully, that will help free him up and, in the back end of the year, he’ll find (his) best form.”

All Australian defender Dale Morris is almost a certainty after recovering from a broken leg suffered in round one, while Wallis should also front up at Simonds Stadium after impressing in three VFL matches since his badly broken leg.

Cloke has been out with broken ribs since the Bulldogs’ Good Friday win over North Melbourne.

Ruckman Roughead (hamstring) is likely to spend another week in the VFL as he builds up his match fitness.

“It’s probably the most (fit players) we’ve had for a quite a while,” Beveridge said.

“It’s always a trade off with boys coming back – have they got the match fitness? Are they re-acclimatising to the level, especially players who have been out for a while like Dale?

“So we need to make studious and informed decisions around selection to make sure we go in fit and healthy and ready to be at our best,” Beveridge said.

While the Bulldogs fell last round to West Coast, Geelong were disappointed with their opening three quarters which resulted in a shock loss to Essendon.

Beveridge said he expected them to be at their best at home as the Cats tried to continue their dominance over his side.

“I imagine they will be stinging a bit,” Beveridge said of the Bombers loss.

“We’ve been on the end of their very best for a long period of time now and they’ve found it within them to beat us nine out of the last 10 times so there’s (a) challenge … to finally beat them.”