Roos captain Ziebell out of Dons AFL clash

North Melbourne coach Brad Scott says he has to leave battered skipper Jack Ziebell out of their AFL clash with Essendon to protect him from himself.

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Scott said Ziebell had been carrying multiple injuries for a number of weeks and needed a match off to recover, so would sit out Saturday afternoon’s Etihad Stadium match.

The Kangaroos’ coach said if it was up to his combative first-year captain, he would play, so he took the decision out of his hands.

“We just need to leave Jack Ziebell out this week. He needs to be protected from himself,” Scott said on Thursday.

“He’s just battered and we’ll manage him this week, much to his disgust but, as I said to Jack, if he was on crutches, he’d still want to go out there and lead the team.

“I haven’t seen anyone in my time in footy do what he’s been able to do so far this year, in terms of carrying things that would keep lesser players out and it’s not just one thing – it’s a multitude of things.

“He’s just not doing himself or the team any favours so I’ve had to make the call.”

Mason Wood and Marley Williams are also out, while ruckman Braydon Preuss is also very doubtful, but veteran forward Jarrad Waite is set to return from a calf injury.

Preuss’ back complaint means Scott will continue with out-of-form first-choice ruckman Todd Goldstein.

Scott said he wanted to try to help Goldstein rediscover his All Australian form but didn’t have many options.

“Clearly, we’re hamstrung with Preuss – we’d like to get Braydon in but it’s enormously frustrating to us and to him as well that he’s not fit and available,” Scott said.

“Goldy sets really high standards for himself and, if he’s not going to get up to the level, then I’ve got to work out a way to get him back to his All Australian form because clearly he’s not happy with the way he’s playing and neither are we.”

North have had a disappointing season to sit second last but have a strong record against their geographical neighbours, who are just outside the eight in 10th spot.

Scott said it was a game his team usually lifted for.

“We always enjoy playing them and I’m sure they enjoy playing us too as there’s great history,” he said.

“There’s always been a rivalry there but they’ve been in really good touch and we’re going to have to be at our best to be competitive.”

Woodside’s output and revenue slip

Oil and gas giant Woodside Petroleum’s production dropped 6.

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6 per cent in the second quarter of 2017 due to outages at some of its facilities and a lower share of pipeline gas from the North West Shelf.

The company produced 20.7 million barrels of oil equivalent (MMboe) in the three months to June 30, down from 22.2 MMboe a year earlier.

Sales revenue rose 5.1 per cent to $US867 million in the quarter, as higher realised prices offset a four per cent decline in sales volume.

Royal Bank of Canada analyst Ben Wilson said Woodside’s production modestly missed expectations, and the fall was spread among a number of the company’s assets.

Woodside said there was a temporary unplanned outage at its Karratha gas plant, and a scheduled four day turnaround at its Pluto liquefied natural gas project in Western Australia.

The company said it had progressed plans to expand Pluto, with a trial run completed during the June quarter.

“Results of the cold high-rate trial confirmed there is additional available pre-treatment capacity which may be utilised through expansion,” it said.

Chief executive Peter Coleman said the company also achieved a major milestone after joint venture partners at the North West Shelf project agreed to process third party gas from the Karratha gas plant.

That is expected to pave the way for the development of the offshore Browse gas fields, which had been under a cloud since the company and its partners there indefinitely shelved plans for a $50 billion offshore floating LNG project in March 2016.

Woodside in March outlined its plans to boost cash flow through expansion of existing projects over the next few years and ruled out investment in any major new projects in the near term.

Its shares were up 27 cents, or 0.9 per cent, at $30.00 at 1410 AEST.

Magpies have plenty to play for: Buckley

The storm clouds may be gathering over Collingwood and its besieged AFL coach, but Nathan Buckley still sees plenty of reasons to get out of bed.

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The most optimistic fan might struggle to see the upside in the club’s 2017 campaign.

At 6-10 in the win-loss, the Magpies are set to miss the finals for the fourth-straight year with a playing list designed to reach September this season.

A warts-and-all football department review will decide on the future of Buckley as senior coach at season’s end.

And a bruising run-in with five of six matches against top eight sides also allows for the potential of an ugly finish to the season.

But Buckley isn’t buying into the gloom, outlining a long list of players or changes that should excite club supporters.

“We’re paying AFL footy. These boys have dreamed about this their whole lives. We don’t take it for granted. I don’t take it for granted,” he said on Thursday.

“Jordan de Goey going through the midfield.

“Josh Thomas coming back in, what an amazing story with a couple years off.

“Ben Reid as a forward, what can he do in the next six weeks?

“Seeing (Daniel) Wells, (Travis) Varcoe and (Jamie) Elliott in the same side which hasn’t happened that often and we’d like to see that as often as we can in the next six games.

“Brayden Maynard … can he finish the year off with what’s been a really strong growth period for him?

“We may see some younger players. Rupert Wills is in the mix this week

“Brodie Grundy – can he finish off what was touted as an All-Australian year?”

Buckley also saluted his leadership group of Scott Pendlebury, Steele Sidebottom, Taylor Adams and Jeremy Howe for their “great integrity in their attitude”.

“It doesn’t feel like we’re under siege. But we are,” he said.

“Every time you get yourself out of bed there’s something to achieve and every time you take to the training track there’s an opportunity to get better.

“It’s just reminding yourself of that and not getting yourself caught up in some of the stuff you can’t influence.”

New artefacts extend arrival of First Australians to 65,000 years ago

Humans arrived in Australia 10,000 years earlier than was previously thought, casting doubt on the theory that they killed off the giant kangaroo and other unique animals, scientists believe.

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New artefact evidence suggests that the continent was first occupied about 65,000 years ago, long after the ancient ancestors of modern humans emerged in Africa.

The discovery challenges the theory that people caused the extinction of Australian megafauna including giant kangaroos, wombats and tortoises which disappeared more than 45,000 years ago.

“Previously it was thought that humans arrived and hunted them out or disturbed their habits, leading to extinction, but these dates confirm that people arrived so far before that they wouldn’t be the central cause of the death of megafauna,” lead scientist Dr Ben Marwick, from the University of Washington, said.

“It shifts the idea of humans charging into the landscape and killing off the megafauna.

“It moves toward a vision of humans moving in and coexisting, which is quite a different view of human evolution.”

Supplied image obtained July 19, 2017, of an edge-ground hatchet head being excavated at the Madjedbebe rock shelter in the Kakadu National Park. (AAP)GUNDJEIHMI ABORIGINAL CORPORATIO

Since 1973, digs at Madjedbebe, a rock shelter in Australia’s Northern Territory, have unearthed more than 10,000 stone tools, ochres, plant remains and bones.

A dating technique called optical stimulated luminescence (OSL) was used to determine the age of the oldest buried artefacts.

The process can show the last time a sand grain was exposed to sunlight up to 100,000 or more years ago.

This and other tests built up a picture of the environment and showed that when the first humans arrived, northern Australia was wetter and colder than it is today.

The findings, published in the journal Nature, support the theory that our species Homo sapiens evolved in Africa before dispersing to other continents, Dr Marwick said.

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Giants coach Cameron locked until 2020

Greater Western Sydney have jumped at re-signing coach Leon Cameron to 2020, believing stability will bring consistent AFL dominance.

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Cameron has set his sights on top-four finishes every year for the rest of his tenure, with the Giants locking him in well before his contract had been due to expire in late 2018.

The Giants’ highly rated football manager Wayne Campbell will also remain to 2020.

Giants chief executive David Matthews said the decision to re-sign the pair was not taken lightly, believing in the importance of on-field success to help the fledgling club thrive.

“We can’t afford to make major mistakes with major decisions,” Matthews said.

“We don’t want our club to be characterised by any sort of instability at all. It’s just really important that we have that in place to underpin future success.”

Cameron said his decision to stay had nothing to do with convincing the club’s in-demand stars to do likewise, rather being based on the prospect of success.

“I am very confident that I’m the person who can help lead our footy club to constant finals and the aim is to finish in the top four every year,” Cameron told reporters on Thursday.

“The really powerful clubs all around Australia that have done that year after year – it puts them in really good stead.

“Stability is a big thing at any football club and to extend to 2020 no doubt gives the playing group confidence that these are the people who are going to be around them and guiding them to the ultimate prize one day.”

Cameron, who succeeded foundation coach Kevin Sheedy at the end of 2013, took the club into the playoffs for the first time last year before they narrowly lost to premiers the Western Bulldogs in the preliminary finals.

The Giants sit third ahead of Sunday’s MCG clash with Richmond, having not won since June 24, recording two draws and losing last week to Sydney.

Star GWS forward Jeremy Cameron will miss a second-straight match with a hamstring injury, while Stephen Coniglio (ankle) and Matt De Boer (concussion) are 50 per cent chances to play.

The fifth-placed Tigers, after beating Brisbane last week, are rated by Leon Cameron as the most-consistent team this season. He says their heavy loss to St Kilda a fortnight ago has been long forgotten.