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CONCERNS were raised last night that Lake Macquarie City Council would not have enough money to pay for infrastructure upgrades to adapt to sea level rise.

A council report said the council could expose itself to litigation if it approved development in a high-risk flood area or an area that became inhabitable due to sea level rise.

Conversely, the report said landowners may also seek compensation in future :‘‘if sea level rise does not eventuate’’.

It said there was an increased risk of roads, drains and the sewer failing as flooding became more frequent and lake levels rose.

The report was part of a council staff recommendation to refuse a plan, because of sea level rise concerns, to increase dwellings on a Marks Point site from three to 22.

The developer’s architect Rod Seymour said the Marks Point Road plan would be built 2.36 metres above sea level and floors could be raised further in future to adapt to sea level rise.

Cr Daniel Wallace said the council must consider whether it was viable to allow the development, when it might not be able to afford infrastructure upgrades in the area to cope with rising seas in 30 to 50 years.

‘‘We could be sued if we can’t provide infrastructure to support the development,’’ he said.

Mayor Greg Piper said he had no doubt action would be taken to protect the area, raise road levels and upgrade drainage if sea levels rose.

Councillors are facing legal and political pressure from residents opposed to the council’s sea level rise policy.

Cr Phillipa Parsons said the policy was up for review in August.

Cr Parsons said 97 per cent of scientists globally had reached consensus on human-induced global warming.

?Authorities should consider making Belmont’s busy Brooks Parade a one-way street or closing it to traffic, Lake Macquarie councillor Phillipa Parsons says.

The council plans to write to state officials asking for Cr Parsons’ plan to be considered.

ANXIOUS: Tyrone RobertsKNIGHTS halfback Tyrone Roberts is still waiting for an analysis of scans on the facial injury he suffered in the team’s 18-all draw with Penrith at Port Macquarie last Saturday night.

Roberts suffered a suspected fractured right-eye socket from a head clash and was replaced in the 64th minute, soon after he had converted Matt Hilder’s try for an 18-12 lead.

The 20-year-old Junior Kangaroos representative and Ballina Seagulls product had scans on Sunday but is due to see a specialist today for a full diagnosis and prognosis.

He is unlikely to be available for Newcastle’s NRL season-opener against the Dragons at Hunter Stadium on March 1, and if he requires surgery he could be sidelined for up to six weeks.

Roberts was the only significant injury concern for the Knights from the game against Penrith, and he will join fellow playmaker Ryan Stig (groin and knee) and utility back Peter Mata’utia (knee) in the casualty ward.

Coach Wayne Bennett rotated 27 players against the Panthers but said he would not use that many in the final pre-season hit-out against Cronulla at Muswellbrook on Saturday night.

NSW and Australian winger Aku Uate, who had clean-up surgery on his knee after helping the Kangaroos win the Four Nations tournament last November, is a likely starter against the Sharks after being rested from the Penrith game.

Panthers centre Michael Jennings was charged by the NRL match review committee yesterday with a grade-one dangerous throw for a lifting tackle in the 48th minute last Saturday, but will not miss a game if he pleads guilty.

Dragons duo Dan Hunt and Atelea Vea are expected to miss the NRL kick-off against Newcastle after they were injured in St George Illawarra’s 18-12 loss to North Queensland in a pre-season trial in Perth last Saturday.

REWARDED: Jacob PepperJETS coach Gary van Egmond believes rookie Jacob Pepper can become a midfield mainstay for Newcastle after agreeing to a contract extension with his home-town club.

Pepper, 19, a West Wallsend junior, was already signed for next season but has been rewarded with an extra 12months of tenure, taking him through until the end of the 2013-14 campaign.

By then, if his progress in the past year is any indication, Pepper could well have established himself as a first-choice cog in van Egmond’s engine room.

After debuting while still a schoolboy against David Beckham’s LA Galaxy 13months ago, Pepper, pictured, proceeded to play in six A-League games.

This season he has appeared in 10games, often in the starting team, and has played a more influential role in a revival that has yielded three wins and a draw from Newcastle’s past four games.

Van Egmond had no doubt Pepper would become a long-term proposition for the Jets around whom they can build a team.

‘‘Very much so,’’ van Egmond said.

‘‘Jacob has come on this year and probably been given more game time than he expected.

‘‘He’s improved and is doing really well and so he’s been rewarded.

‘‘He’s the first to admit there are still some areas of his game that need to get better, but he’s got such a wonderful attitude and he’s so open to taking in information that I believe we can make him an even better player than he already is.’’

The Jets recently extended the deal of another home-grown tyro, defender Taylor Regan.

And van Egmond reiterated yesterday his preference for youthful legs.

‘‘I want to try and change this mentality that 20 is young,’’ he said.

‘‘You might have players in England who’ve been playing in the Premier League for a year or two by the time they reach 20.

‘‘We want to try to get our young ones up to speed earlier, so that they can start coming up.’’

Pepper said it was a pleasant surprise to learn the club wanted to retain him.

‘‘I already had one more season under contract, but obviously Gary likes what he sees and it’s good that I’ll be able to keep playing in Newcastle, where I’ve grown up,’’ he said.

‘‘I’m looking forward to being part of the club’s future.

‘‘It looks like we’re headed for bigger and better things, and I’m just rapt to be a part of it.’’

Aside from the retention of Pepper and Regan, the Jets have a host of more senior players off contract, including Ryan Griffiths, Jeremy Brockie, Francis Jeffers, Michael Bridges, Labinot Haliti, Tarek Elrich and Ali Abbas.

Van Egmond said it was a ‘‘convoluted’’ process working through the salary cap.

He said the Jets would not be making signings during the January transfer window, which closes tomorrow.

Meanwhile, the legal battle between the Newcastle Jets and Jason Culina and Football Federation Australia kicked off in Sydney yesterday.

All parties were told by arbitrator Dominic Villa to exchange relevant information, get their submissions in order and return for a directions hearing on March 5, when a date will be set for arbitration.

Jets officials are eager for a prompt resolution, saying that until the Culina affair is settled, their plans for assembling next season’s squad are on hold.

AAP reports: Melbourne Heart’s Curtis Good may have avoided a send-off but he has not dodged a suspension.

The teenage defender was not sent off by referee Ryan Shepheard in his side’s 3-0 loss to Newcastle on Saturday despite collecting two yellow cards.

Good received a second caution late in the match, but Shepheard failed to realise he had booked the player twice and did not send him off.

The A-League match review panel put right the referee’s gaffe yesterday, banning Good for the Heart’s clash with Gold Coast United at AAMI Park on Friday night.

DAVID LOWE: Mind games top the list

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FLYING HIGH-FIVES: Newcastle celebrate after Jeremy Brockie opened the scoring against Melbourne Heart on Saturday.A

re you one of those people who makes lists of things to do, and takes comfort and pride in ticking them off as you go? Well I’m definitely not 95per cent of the time, but I will make an exception.

This week toilet paper is a must, as is a heartfelt IOU for a Valentine’s present (these monthly pays are killing me). And the Jets have one more box to tick for me – a good result on a long-haul road trip. That may be a crucial psychological boost come finals time.

In recent weeks the team have shown they have the discipline to carve out a result against the odds – and the flow of the game – in Brisbane.

The Jets showed their ability to control a game tactically and to convert dominance into goals clinically against Sydney, and won convincingly a brief battle of wills against struggling Melbourne Heart on Saturday afternoon.

Saturday’s clash was a strange sort of game. The Heart used a strong but fleeting southerly wind to pressure the Jets early, but did little with the ball after they forced turnovers.

As a result the Jets were far from the fluid force that dismantled Sydney on February 5 with precision passing and switches of play.

That all changed as the wind abated, and Tarek Elrich wriggled himself a yard of space to cross to find in-form Jeremy Brockie, who cleverly angled his header home.

Melbourne Heart’s stocks dropped as quickly as Greece’s international credit rating, and the Jets were suddenly 10foot tall and bulletproof.

In the next five minutes, Francis Jeffers found room to receive a neat pass from Jacob Pepper, turned and controlled in one motion, and narrowly missed the bottom corner he would hit eight times out of 10.

Clint Bolton then produced a top-class save to deny Elrich after Jeffers and an advanced Tiago Calvano had brokered the chance for the Newcastle winger.

The game may well have been dead and buried at that point, and it effectively was two minutes after the half-time break, when Ryan Griffiths headed Newcastle’s second goal from a free kick and kept alive the battle with Brockie to be the Jets’ leading scorer.

From that moment there was only ever going to be one result.

The Heart were very disappointing, the Jets pleasingly kept their foot on their opponents’ throats, and Michael Bridges appeared for his regular effective cameo and topped off the afternoon with his first goal in 18 injury-affected months.

Sometimes it is difficult to gauge a performance when the opposition are below par.

Were the Heart, missing several key regulars, short on competitive grunt, or did the Jets impose their will on their opponents?

Young fullbacks Craig Goodwin and Michael Marrone were stung by heavy tackles from Griffiths and Brockie in the first five minutes.

The Jets refused to allow the Heart to play from one side to the other across the back line, forcing centre-backs down narrow channels and into making decisions in congested areas.

Eli Babalj, possibly the best young striker in the country, received very limited service but got no change from Newcastle’s central defensive pairing of Nikolai Topor-Stanley and Tiago Calvano and was withdrawn before the hour mark.

Whatever your take on the performance, it was crucial for the Jets to back up two victories on the road with a home win, and it was equally important to win a game you are expected to.


hich brings us to this week, the long trip to Perth, the chance to tick that final box, and the chance to match wills with ‘‘a real team of men’’, as Jets coach Gary Van Egmond described the Glory early last November.

The Glory will be smarting from their loss to Sydney on Sunday – their first in nine games.

They will return to nib Stadium looking to produce the kind of form with which they demolished Gold Coast and Melbourne Victory in their two most recent home outings.

Regular readers of this column need wait no longer.

You knew it was coming, number two of the allotted 47 uses: ‘‘The result of this game will have a massive bearing on semi-final positions.’’

‘‘Thanks Einstein,’’ I can hear you saying, and you are right.

With six rounds left to play and competition for semi-final places so close, you can repeat that for a host of games.

Perth, who have four of their last six games at home, are well-placed but a loss to the Jets would jeopardise a top four spot and a home semi-final.

The Jets have an even run in – three home games, three away – but have a genuine sniff of a top-four position and will be desperate to maintain momentum.

Wellington, who were flying a fortnight ago, face the Mariners away this weekend, minus Andrew Durante, Tim Brown and possibly Ben Sigmund. Only two of their last six games are at home. One against the Gold Coast should produce three points, and their last-round match against the Mariners might bring a depleted opponent, given the scenario that the minor premiership is secured and the hectic schedule necessitates rest and rotation for Graham Arnold’s men.

Melbourne Heart have enough talent due to return to the team and a good run of home games to come, but they must take three points on Friday night at home to the Gold Coast to regain confidence.

Melbourne Victory have tough away games against Brisbane on Saturday, and Sydney and Perth in their run home.

They face the Jets at home on March 3 and I think are a touch-and-go proposition for the finals, despite their impressive individual firepower.

We will know much more about the prospects of Adelaide and Sydney after their clash on Sunday. If the Reds don’t get three points, I think their season will be gone.

Sydney need three points. Their run home is difficult without being totally scary.

Their last home game is the final-round clash against the Jets, and you can sense already the stakes in that fixture will be important for both camps.

An exciting six weeks is in prospect and I’m sure A-League fans will be treated to some thrilling football.

If I may, I’d like to give a rap to some of the players who shone in last weekend’s round of the A-League.

Take a bow Thomas Rogic, Carlos Hernandez, Harry Kewell, Besart Berisha, Mitch Nichols, Brett Emerton and Jeremy Brockie. Your goals would have lit up any stadium in the world.

They are a great endorsement for our league.

May it continue in spades over the mouth-watering remaining six rounds of matches we have to enjoy and endure. Loving it!

VOLATILE: Jets coach Gary Van Egmond and Adrian Trinidad of the Glory exchange words after the final whistle of their round 11 A-League match in Perth on November 9, 2008.T

he Jets should need no reminders of how easy it is to fall victim to an ambush on the other side of the Nullarbor, where the best policy is always to shoot (for goal) first and ask questions later.

In nine previous visits to nib Stadium, home turf for Perth Glory, the Jets have returned victorious just once.

That was on November 25, 2005, when a Vaughan Coveny goal in the 47th minute set up a 1-0 win for the visitors.

It has been all downhill for the Jets since. And invariably there is drama, either on or off the pitch.

Newcastle’s past eight games in the West Australian capital have produced four draws and four defeats – including three consecutive losses.

Indeed, it has been just shy of 6 years since that solitary, first-up victory – a long time between drinks in anyone’s language.

Newcastle’s record in Perth is perhaps not as depressing as in Wellington, where the Jets have lost eight successive games by a combined tally of 23-4.

In comparison, a win and four draws from nine games in Perth – 10 goals for, 14 goals against – seems almost respectable.

But a 2272-day hiatus certainly more than qualifies as a hoodoo.

And if Newcastle are to exorcise those demons on Saturday night, they will have to overcome the Glory’s significant home-ground advantage.

Travelling time is one major factor with which the Jets must contend.

On Thursday afternoon, they will bus it to Sydney, spend the night in a hotel, then board the five-hour flight to Perth on Friday morning.

The hours in transit can take the edge off any team.

Acclimatising to the weather is perhaps not as challenging as it was playing against the now-defunct North Queensland Fury in tropical Townsville.

But temperatures in Perth are tipped to hit 31 degrees on Saturday, which suggests it will be drier and hotter than recent weeks in Newcastle.

Then there is the time difference.

Saturday’s match does not kick off until 7pm local time, or 10pm AEDT.

In effect, the Jets will be playing when many of them are usually in bed, which will test their body clocks.

Newcastle coach Gary van Egmond acknowledged yesterday that the logistics of playing in Perth were always a challenge.

But he said the self-belief his troops had gained from three consecutive wins would stand them in good stead.

‘‘It’s definitely a hard place to go, as the stats show,’’ van Egmond said.

‘‘But we go there with lots of confidence after three good wins, a couple of which were on the road, so the boys are in a buoyant mood and we’re looking forward to the trip.’’

Saturday’s showdown shapes as a crucial one for both teams, as Perth are in fourth place, three points ahead of Newcastle.

The Glory’s for-and-against differential is six goals better than Newcastle’s, which means the Jets would need to win by three goals or more to leapfrog the hosts.

But with six games left in the regular season, Saturday’s fixture could determine which of the two outfits earns a top-four position – and priceless home-team benefits – in the play-offs.

‘‘We know it’s going to be a tough game,’’ van Egmond said.