Storm row overshadows earthquake

ON the 20th April, just over a week ago, at 8am, the mining towns of Kalgoorlie and Boulder in Western Australia were hit by an earthquake registering 4.8 on the Richter Scale.

It lasted 30 seconds, shaking buildings, roads and mines, damaging historical hotels and other buildings including the local hospital and schools, roads, an overpass and open cut mining operations.

Aftershocks continued throughout the day but once things had settled down local authorise were able to assess the situation and reports suggest major structural damage had been caused to some historical buildings including two of the town’s famous hotels, one of which had lost it’s Victorian veranda, schools and homes.

The local hospital had been evacuated during for fear of structural damage, dust and contamination.

This is an area known and recognised for its vast mining deposits of gold and other minerals and for its vast open cut mining operations.

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As soon as the earthquake struck all mining was suspended until safety could be assured.

This story ran for about a day before being overtaken by the news about the successful Melbourne-based National Rugby League team ‘The Melbourne Storm’ who had been handed a devastating fine by the NRL authorities for a breach of salary cap.

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To me this demonstrates how much importance is based on sport in this country regardless of all else – earthquakes included – and none more so than any team that happens to be located in parochial sports-mad Melbourne.

The state government had authorised more public money to build yet another purpose built stadium for the Storm to play in during their next season.

The NRL has imposed the heaviest fine on any club in the league with some arguing rightly or wrongly that this is more about interstate rivalry between Melbourne and Sydney than the game, its rules and regulations.

Not overlooking the success of this comparatively new team in the mainly NSW-dominated national rugby league in winning the premiership in its first season and more titles since.

The NRL argues Melbourne were able to secure many of the league’s best players by offering and paying above the salary cap and in conjunction with team being stripped of its two national rugby league titles it has also been fined $1.6 million and will not be awarded any points for the remaining games played in the season.

News Limited chief executive John Hartigan, the club’s owners, have made a statement suggesting the club has ‘had a couple of rats in the ranks’ and has referred the matter to the police.

Meanwhile the club’s coach Craig Bellamy has asked fans to support the club through this most difficult time.

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