Glenn Maxwell has leadership potential, says Melbourne Stars coach Stephen Fleming

Melbourne Stars coach Stephen Fleming sees leadership potential in Glenn Maxwell and is looking forward to spending time with the mercurial all-rounder on the golf course in coming days.

After a tumultuous few months, Maxwell has joined Stars teammates ahead of the Big Bash League, travelling with the majority of the squad to Albury on Monday ahead of practice matches against Sydney Thunder on Tuesday.

Fleming, who captained New Zealand in a national record 80 Tests, said he was looking forward to again working with Maxwell, with whom he forged a strong working relationship last summer – Fleming’s first as Stars coach.

Fleming said he didn’t want to pigeonhole Maxwell as hard to manage. Rather, he  suggested he could learn things from the at-times brilliant batsman, and that Maxwell had leadership qualities. “My relationship with Glenn is very strong,” Fleming told Fairfax Media.

“I enjoyed my time with him last season. We worked on some stuff away from the game just around the captaincy and leadership and other aspects, which I really enjoyed talking to him about.”

After winning Australia’s one-day player of the year award in January, Maxwell credited his rapport with Fleming for helping his growth as a cricketer.

Fleming said he relished the chance to discuss captaincy with the 28-year-old, who is touted as a possible inclusion for the upcoming Test tour of India. “Sometimes players who you don’t see as potential leaders are the ones who are most interested,” Fleming said.

“So that’s just one of the projects that we work on. And sometimes people surprise you about what some of their goals are. From my point of view it’s just understanding players, not boxing players into a certain category.”

Fleming did not rule out the prospect of Maxwell captaining a professional team in the future. “Maybe? Who knows? To me it’s about building leaders. It doesn’t matter whether they captain or whether they just lead themselves or lead others around them,” he said.

“Leadership isn’t just, we’ve got to groom them to be captain. Leadership is about how Glenn is perceived, what he works on, on and off the field, and what he wants to become.

“The workings of it can be quite interesting, both ways. And even for me to learn off Glenn, the way he goes about his cricket, is a lot different to how I played and how a lot of my contemporaries played.

“So it’s not just one-way traffic either. There’s a leadership aspect that we’ve been able to feed off.”

While they are yet to taste ultimate success, the Stars have made the top four in every BBL season to date, and have managed to fit divisive English superstar Kevin Pietersen comfortably into the side. The Stars generally feel that Maxwell is happy while with them, and Fleming agreed. “When he’s been with the Stars – certainly during my involvement – he’s been very good.”

The BBL window looms as somewhat of a sanctuary for Maxwell, who has endured a turbulent season  with both Victoria and Australia.

Having unsuccessfully sought a move to NSW in the off-season, the all-rounder was overlooked for the Bushrangers’ first Sheffield Shield match of the season. He was eventually recalled, but consistently batted below wicketkeeper and captain Matthew Wade.

When both were picked for Australia’s recent ODI series against NZ, Maxwell sensationally criticised Wade for placing himself above Maxwell in the batting order, suggesting it made Maxwell’s quest to return to Australia’s Test team more difficult.

Maxwell was subsequently fined by the Australian team leadership over the comments, and left out of the Australian XI for all three matches against the Black Caps.

Time, not money, the reason for split with Nine, says James Brayshaw

Now that James Brayshaw has hung up his two most prominent caps, at Channel 9 and as chairman of North Melbourne, he admits that having several of them jammed on his head at once took a toll that he hopes he can remediate.

The severest was on his family. Brayshaw, 49, is divorced with four sons, aged nine to 22. “I’ve got to get better at being a dad, and a partner, being around a bit more, not being stressed and knackered when I am,” he said. “That’s the part of my life I’ve got horribly wrong for too long. That’s priority No.1.”

There are also his parents, Ian and Joan, who he visited recently at their home in southern WA. “It was the first time I’d been to see them for two-and-a-half years,” he said. “That’s just appalling. I have no doubt I got the balance wrong.

“In our business, you do run the risk of becoming a bit lost in yourself. I have, anyway. I’ve been guilty of letting what I do dictate the life I lead. I have the chance to do better.”

Brayshaw needed time. This, he said, was the issue at Channel 9, not money. “I’ve never once argued with Nine about money in the whole time I was there,” he said. “None of this dispute had anything to do with money. The money was absolutely fine, right from the start.

“I wanted to have some flexibility to do other things. Nine were clear they weren’t comfortable with that. I understood their position. I don’t leave with any bitterness or resentment. I have enormous regard for the place, great friends and great memories. I wished them well on departure, as they did me.”

Brayshaw had 16 years in television, beginning at Channel 7, 11 years as co-host of Channel 9’s Footy Show, also calling cricket for the network, and nine years as Kangaroos chief. He still has his role as co-host of MMM’s Rush Hour, and a six-year contract to call footy for the station.

Brayshaw said the single highlight of his time at Nine was five years of calling live footy. Though he forged his name as an able first-class cricketer for a decade, this was his dream realised. “Live footy is a special thing,” he said. “It has its own rhythm, especially on TV.”

But sometimes, the broadcaster knew what only the footy club chairman should, and he slept uneasily. “There were definitely times when it was tough, especially when the brown stuff hit the fan,” he said. “You had to walk a fine line between doing what was right for the club and also being honest. There were times when that was very difficult.”

Brayshaw admits to having been an ingenue in the North job when it fell to him, having led the resistance to an AFL-engineered move to the Gold Coast. He is proud of what has ensued.

“We took over something that was in a pretty parlous state and it is now a very, very well-performed business,” he said. North didn’t win a flag in his time, but nor did 12 other clubs. “Otherwise, when you look at the health of the club now, I defy anyone to say it would have been a good option to leave,” he said.

Inescapably, Brayshaw has lived in, and enjoyed, a blokey world. At times, this has led to uncomfortable pinches, on the Footy Show and most recently in so-called Caro-gate.

Brayshaw said the football industry had only by degrees come to a realisation that women were not merely extras in the show. “When I started in the ’90s. there was no appropriate understanding of that,” he said. “There is now.”

His conscience was clear, he said. “I don’t think I have a misogynist bone in my body. I have great relationships with all the women in my life, including my ex-wife, my partner now, my mum, my sister when she was with us. I worship all those people for different reasons.

“But having said that, I continue to learn about the appropriate way to broadcast every day. I’m not arrogant enough to think I haven’t got lots to learn in lots of ways as a broadcaster.”

In the many-mirrored modern sports landscape, a broadcaster now is as much opined upon as he/she opines. “I can’t remember a time when there has been so much commentary on commentators,” Brayshaw said. Years ago, Ian Chappell said to him that he could only ever please half the people. Then, Brayshaw thought Chappell was exaggerating. Now he knows he was not, and accepts it.

“I will say that the one thing you can’t be in 2016 is vanilla,” he said. “You can’t sit on the fence. You’ve got to have an opinion. If people like it, great. If they don’t, great. But that’s so much better than not caring.”

A broadcaster also needed a thick skin, he said. Ten years of first-class cricket meant that he came to the job with the necessary hide. “I love Merv Hughes. I loved every minute of playing against him. He’s a great friend now,” Brayshaw said. “But if I took offence at everything he said to me on the cricket field, I’d still be sucking my thumb in the corner.”

University of Newcastle deal could double students in the city

PARTNERS: University of Newcastle Vice-Chancellor Professor Caroline McMillen, Chief Operationg Officer Nat McGregor and NSW Premier Mike Baird on the rooftop of the NeW Space building. Picture: Simone De PeakTHE University of Newcastle’s decision to movepart of its campusto two hectares of Honeysuckle and railway corridor land will double the number of students coming into the city in the coming years to 6000, Premier Mike Baird said.

The Newcastle Heraldrevealed on Mondaythat the new university site is across Hunter Street from itsNeW Space building, which isunder construction.

Broken into three parcels, the new sitehas height limits of 30 metres, or eight to nine storeys, and includes Honeysuckle’s Wright Lane car park next to the rail corridor.

In a visit to Newcastle on Monday, Mr Baird said the announcement that the university would “anchor” the redevelopment of the former heavy rail corridor marked “an exciting time for the city”.

“It has the potential to bring another 3000 students, so up to 6000 students that could be undertaking their studies right here in the city of Newcastle,” he said.

“The expectation is for additional facilities for students, potentially accommodation, we’re excited to be announcing that.”

The government still has work to do to get the corridor rezoning passed, but Mr Baird said the announcement marked an important point in the city’s regeneration.

“What you’re starting to see is how great Newcastle will be,” he said. “The trend around the world is very clear, the great cities are seeing great universities come back toward the centre.

“In terms of renewal and in terms of revitalisation, university campusesare leading that, the innovation to come, the energy, and the opportunities are boundless.”

The announcement marks the first confirmed use of the former heavy rail corridor, a stretch of land that hasbeen bitterly contested along party lines since the government announced it would run light rail down Hunter Street.

Butwhile protesters made their displeasure known outside Mr Baird’s appearance at a Property Council lunch, Newcastle’s Labor MP Tim Crakanthorp welcomed the decision.

“I’ll be happy to see the university in the city, I can only see that as a positive thing,” he said.

Mr Baird said the deal with the university should provide “assurance” to those opposed to the government’s plans, and that the university would anchor the future of the area.

University of Newcastle Vice-Chancellor Caroline McMillen said theagreement “builds opportunities for an integrated city precinct that could double the numberofstudents in theNewcastle CBD”.

She said that subject tothe finalisationofbusiness cases and development approvals, construction on the land could start from late 2018.

Sporting complex planned for Creek Road at Maryland if Newcastle Council approves Glencore land transfer

FORWARD THINKING: Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes, pictured at the site, said in 20 years it could a “showpiece” for the western suburbs. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

A MULTI-MILLIONdollar sport and recreation complex willbe built to servicethe growing population belt west ofNewcastle, under a plan set to go before Newcastle Council on Tuesday.

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the long-term vision was to create a first-class sporting precinct inMarylandthat could rivalNational Park at Cooks Hill.

But the plans hinge on whether councillors agree to accept the transfer of a 15.5-hectare parcel of land at 40 Creek Road, that has been offered up by mining company Glencore free of charge.

Fletcher Parkwould also be absorbed into the precinct,taking itstotal size to about 20 hectares.

Including the construction ofa “special event venue”, thestaged development would takebetween five and 10 years.

A $12 million concept plan designed by ADW Johnson includes soccer and AFLplaying fields, cricket pitches, 180 parking spaces, a playground, cycle paths and an amenities block.

EXPANSIVE: A $12 million concept plan developed by ADW Johnson includes playing fields, cricket pitches, 180 parking spaces, a playground and amenities block.

However Cr Nelmes said it was only a“mud map” andwhat was offered at the complex would be decided after community consultation. Agrandstand, netball and tennis courts were also in the mix, she said.

“Because it is adjacent to the Hunter Wetlands National Park, we’re looking atthings like boardwalks through thelow-lying areas,” she said.

A masterplan would be developed to link thecomplex to the sporting facilities at Callaghan College, Federal Park and Wallsend pool, and to the Wallsend CBD through pedestrian pathways.

“This will give us enough land to create an area that we can turn into a showpiece of sporting facilities for all of the western suburbs of Newcastle,” Cr Nelmes said.

The city alreadyhas six large-scale sporting complexes, but the furthest west is at New Lambton.

If the deal goes ahead, the Wallsend New Lambton Pony Club will eventually need relocation and councilwill have to pay $5000 to $10,000 in land transfer costs. However astaff report stressed it was unlikely another suitable site could be found in the Fletcher/Minmi area, which is forecast to grow in population from over 11,000 in 2011 to nearly 28,000 by 2036.

‘Puzzling’: Potent greenhouse gas spike prompts calls for climate action

Agriculture, including animal husbandry, seems “to be a major, possibly dominant, cause” of the jump in methane emissions. Photo: Brendon ThorneRice paddies and flatulent cows appear to be behind a surge in the potent greenhouse gas methane over the past decade, a shift that threatens to counter efforts to curb global warming, scientists say.

After growing at the rate of half a part per billion annually for the first six years of this century, atmospheric levels of methane have “experienced puzzling dynamics”, increasing more than 10-fold since 2007, researchers said in a paper published Monday in Environmental Research Letters.

The team, including Pep Canadell from the CSIRO, said expanded agriculture including rice fields and animal husbandry seems “to be a major, possibly dominant, cause” of the jump in emissions.

The finding has implications for the ability to reduce humans’ impact on the climate, as well as “the need to balance food security and environmental protection”, the paper said.

“Keeping global warming below 2 degrees is already a challenging target, with most of the attention placed on carbon-dioxide emissions,” the paper said.

“Such a target will become increasingly difficult if methane reductions are not also addressed strongly and rapidly.”

Methane’s impact on warming can be as much as 100 times more than CO₂ over a couple of decades and 34 times the warming potential over a century.

Although CO₂ is about 200 times more abundant, methane has contributed about one-sixth of recent warming, NASA says.

While a consensus on the source of the extra methane remains elusive, the paper said agriculture, fossil-fuel related emissions and a decrease in biomass burning were likely the biggest contributors. (See chart below in annual methane emissions by region for the 2003-2012 decade.)

“While methane is not warming the planet for centuries like CO₂, slowing down the impacts in the nearer future will depend on us adopting a less meat-rich diet, and a transition to renewables rather than investments into gas as a temporary ‘transition fuel’,” said Malte Meinshausen, director of Melbourne University’s Climate & Energy College.

“Luckily, those switches can come with a number of benefits,” Professor Meinshausen said. “For one, a healthier diet, and in addition, the avoidance of sunken investments into a gas energy infrastructure that does not fit well with a zero-emissions future sketched by the Paris [climate] agreement.”

Natural methane sources include wetlands, particularly in the tropics. “Some scientists think tropical wetlands have gotten a bit wetter and are releasing more gas,” NASA said in an online methane feature.

Humans do not have a direct influence on methane sinks, unlike CO₂, in which extra tree planting can take some of that gas out of the atmosphere, Professor Meinshausen said.

Methane also has a positive feedback loop, in which the higher the concentration of the gas, the longer its atmospheric lifetime, he said.

While atmospheric CO₂ levels have increased about 30 per cent since the Industrial Revolution began, methane levels have roughly doubled. (See NASA chart below, showing levels now exceed 1800 parts per billion.)

Another feedback is expected to come if a warming world triggers, as expected, a thawing of methane-rich permafrost.

For now, though, the paper found “no significant increase from Arctic regions”.

Research agencies are stepping up efforts to get a better fix on the sources of the extra methane, with the Franco-German Methane Remote Sensing Lidar Mission satellite – dubbed Merlin – due for launch in 2020.

Dimitri Lafleur, a former Shell engineer and PhD researcher at Melbourne University, said debate continues about the contribution of methane from the fossil fuel sector, with emissions apparently varying widely from basin to basin.

“When US fossil-fuel related emissions can be seen on satellite images then the potential differences on a basin level become quite clear,” Mr Lafleur said.

“It would be really valuable if we would have more measurements in Australia to understand the methane emissions from the fossil fuel industry and agriculture,” he added. “Currently we don’t have a good understanding who is responsible for how much.”

Follow Peter Hannam on Twitter and Facebook.