McQueen had blood on his clothes: witness

A man who allegedly made multiple confessions to fatally bashing Queensland teenager Annette Mason was seen with blood on his jeans around the time of her murder but a witness can’t recall if it was the same night.
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A second inquest into the 1989 death of the 15-year-old has been told repeatedly this week that person-of-interest Allan McQueen disclosed to those close to him that he was behind Annette’s death.

An acquaintance of McQueen, who can’t be named for legal reasons, also testified on Wednesday that McQueen had turned up at a residence after midnight one night with three other men to use the washing machine.

“(He) said, ‘we’ve been in a fight and we’re going to wash out our clothes’. I had a quick look and I seen Allan McQueen there,” the witness told Brisbane Coroners Court.

The group was drunk and McQueen had blood on his jeans.

“Blood, near where he put his hands in his pockets,” the witness said.

The witness couldn’t remember if it was the same weekend Ms Mason was murdered but said it was about that time.

A large contingent of Ms Mason’s family tearfully endured the testimony. Outside court, their lawyer Leanne McDonald said they wanted to “face-off ” with McQueen who is a prime suspect in the 29-year-old murder case.

“We are only three days into a three week trial and already you can see that this is a very complex case with a lot of different players involved,” she said in a statement.

Ms McDonald praised the “bravery” of the witnesses, who had been forced through fear to hold onto secrets in a close-knit community for many decades.

Earlier, another witness whose identity has also been suppressed recalled McQueen had tried to get Ms Mason into Rumours nightclub in Toowoomba the night she died.

Because she was underage, however, McQueen wasn’t able to get her past the bouncers.

The witness told the inquest McQueen and his friends went inside and partied the night away without Ms Mason but she was spotted later by one of their friends walking in the street.

Annette’s bloodied body was later discovered in her bed.

“We all felt for the poor family. It was horrible. It’s the worst thing I can remember in Toowoomba in the time I was there,” the witness said.

At least five witnesses including police have already told the inquest McQueen subsequently made a series of admissions regarding Annette’s abuse and her death.

A previous inquest into Annette’s death found insufficient evidence to pin down her killer.

The inquest continues.

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Star Power: Who is Newcastle’s No.1 national sporting team

HUNTER’S BEST: The Newcastle Northstars celebrate after a win. Picture: Jonathan CarrollSIX-TIME n Ice Hockey League champions the Newcastle Northstars have been ranked in the top 25 sporting teams in and New Zealand, beating Hunter flagships the Knights and Jets.
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Super Rugby powerhouse, the Crusaders, were No.1 after a statistical analysis of 74,426 sporting matches between 222 teams in 14 national leagues (men and women) over 25 years.

The Northstars finished in 19thspot, ahead of iconic clubs Manly Warringah (NRL) and Hawthorn (AFL).

The Knights were the next best performed team from the Hunter followed by the Jets and Hunter Hurricanes water polo teams.All featured outside the top 25, but exactly where they finished in the 122 teams whoqualified has not been released.

“It is absolutely amazing,” Northstars general manager Gary Dore said. “I can’t believe we are up there with those great sporting organisations. It’s a reward for the many people who have contributed to making theNorthstarsa success over the years.We are very humbled and honoured.”

Gain Line Analytics in conjunction withPlatinum Capital, conducted the study in whichteams were judged on setcriteria. To qualify, teams had to be competing in a current national league, which ruled out the defunct Hunter Pirates and Newcastle Falconsandclubs from the old national soccer league.

Premierships and win-loss records formed the base of the criteria. Bigger and longer established competitions like the NRL and AFL were given greater bearing. Teams were rewarded for longevity and any sanctions, including salary cap breaches, were taken into account.

“There is continuous debate in the pubs, clubs and lounge rooms as to whether great historic teams could have survived in today’s competitionsor about which football code is best,” Gain Line director and former Wallaby Ben Darwin said.

“Australasia’s Best Sporting Team has been designed to bring an analytical approach to answering some of these questions, and in doing so aims to start a new conversation about greatness and rewarding success, as well as unearthing some hidden gems.”

National Rugby League clubs Brisbane Broncos (second), Melbourne Storm (eighth) and Sydney Roosters (10th) filled three of the top 10 places.

Geelong were the best-placed AFL club in third, followed by Sydney (11th). Teams from basketball, cricket and water polo also featured in the top 10.

Formedin 2002, the Northstars won the last of their six Goodall Cups in 2016. They have featured in 12 grand finals, won six minor premiership and only missed the playoffs twice.

Asked the secret to their success, Dore said: “It is just a lot of hard work.We built an an ice rink in 2000 and were talked intoentering a a team in the n Ice Hockey League in 2002. We felt there was a place for ice hockey in Newcastle.We made a mandate that we were going to be successful, promote hockey in Newcastle and give our people here an opportunity to play at the highest level.

“Once we realised the support we had, welooked at how we could make our program better. We startedlooking at opportunities to get coaches from overseas and then, of course, players from overseas, while still engaging our local talent.”

The Knights have won two premierships–1997 and2001–in the 25-year time framebut have also finished with the wooden spoonfour times and have notfeatured in the finals in five years.

It has been a similar rocks or diamonds scenario for the Jets. They won the A-League championship in 2008 and were grand finalists last year. However, they have also finished at the bottom of the ladder in three years.

TheCrusaders, as winners,received $25,000 for a chosen charity.

An annual award for the best sports team in Australasia, based on a five-year period, will be presented starting in 2019.

Australasia’s Best Sporting Teams:1 Crusaders, Super Rugby(3.41),2 Brisbane Broncos, NRL (3.08),Geelong Cats, AFL (2.96),4 Fremantle Mariners, NWPL (2.88),NSWBreakers WNCL (2.82),6 Queensland,Sheffield Shield (2.71),7 Sydney University Lions, NWPL (2.61),8 Melbourne Storm, NRL (2.45),9 Perth Wildcats, NBL (2.36),10 Sydney Roosters, NRL (2.31),11 Sydney Swans, AFL (2.19),12 Sydney University Flames, WNBL (2.12),13 Adelaide Lightning,WNBL (1.96),14 Brumbies, Super Rugby (1.86),15 Fremantle Marlins, NWWPL (1.79),16 Melbourne United/Tigers,NBL (1.75),17 West Coast Eagles, AFL (1.72),18 Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, NRL (1.69),19 Newcastle Northstars, AIHL (1.63),20 Brisbane Barracudas, NWWPL (1.58),21 Victoria, Sheffield Shield (1.56),22 NSW/Sydney Swifts, netball, (1.54),23 Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles, NRL (1.50),24 Hawthorn Hawks, AFL (1.44),25 Cronulla Sharks Water Polo Club, NWPL (1.40).

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Sharks great Rogers hits back at Gallen

Cronulla legend Mat Rogers applauds the club’s decision to release NFL hopeful Valentine Holmes.Sharks great Mat Rogers has lashed Paul Gallen for his “unbelievably stupid” outburst as the fallout continues from Cronulla’s decision to allow star fullback Valentine Holmes to chase his NFL dream.
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While Gallen has called on the NRL to consider life bans for players who break contracts to pursue another sport, Rogers on Wednesday applauded Cronulla chief executive Barry Russell for granting Holmes a release.

“I think Gal’s over-reacted,” Rogers told AAP after Cronulla’s co-captain accused Holmes of leaving the Sharks “in a big hole”.

“For someone who goes and cops money for fighting while he’s contracted, it’s unbelievable that he’d come out and say something so stupid.

“Oh mate, Gal, keep your mouth shut mate.”

Rogers acknowledged Gallen had the right to be disappointed, but felt it wasn’t panic stations yet for coach Shane Flanagan.

“Don’t forget they’ve got (Josh) Dugan there who’s been a pretty good fullback in his time, and (Matt) Moylan, as well as Josh Morris coming in,” Rogers said.

“So they can shift players around a little bit. I don’t think they’re in too bad a position, if they can stay healthy.”

Rogers believes it’s the timing of Holmes’ departure, three days before the try-scoring freak was due to report back for 2019 pre-season training, that will have hurt the Sharks most.

“It’s a bit disappointing the decision wasn’t made six months ago and they could have signed Benny Barba. I’m sure he would have come back in a heartbeat,” said the dual international.

After having his contract terminated by the Sharks following his cocaine-fuelled grand final celebrations two years ago, Barba has returned from a stint in the English Super League to take up a one-season deal in 2019 with North Queensland.

Before Holmes’ shock announcement he was heading to the US, the Cowboys had been confident of luring Townsville-born flyer back to his home town in 2020.

Should his American dream not materialise, Holmes could yet still wind up back at the Cowboys in a development that could also pave the way for Barba to return to the Sharks.

“Maybe they bide their time and wait for Benny at the end of next year. I know he’s got a great relationship with a lot of the players there (at Cronulla),” Rogers said.

“That’s probably the toughest situation, the timing, and probably where Gal’s frustrated and he’d be speaking – before he’s thinking – with too much emotion.

“But I’m all about the players first. For too long I’ve seen teammates get burnt.

“So good on Barry Russell for releasing him because they could have dug their heels in and made it difficult, but Cronulla’s never been like that.”

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Dwayne Eric Welsh pleads guilty to firing shotgun during police pursuit at Belmont North

BY his own admission, Dwayne Eric Welsh was “f—ed up on ice” when he fired a shotgun out of the passenger sidewindow of a stolen car during a wild police pursuit at Belmont North in April.
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“Just, we couldn’t get away and I was, yeah, I was in a f—ed up state,”Welsh told police after his arrest. “Uh, I didn’t want to go to jail. I didn’t want to get caught, so I let a shotgungo in the air.”

Welsh, 37, of Woodberry, appeared in Newcastle Local Court on Wednesday via audio visual link from Goulburn Correctional Centre where he pleaded guilty todischarging afirearm with intent to resist arrest, aggravated break and enter and stealing a motor vehicle.

He will be sentenced in Newcastle District Court next year.Welsh had stolen the red Holden Commodore from outside a unit at Kurri Kurri the night before the pursuit through Belmont North on April 19 this year.

At 3.30am, a police officer saw the red Commodore and a white Commodore driving along the Pacific Highway before both vehicles slammed on their brakes and turned left in Dalrymple Street before veering into Old Belmont Road.

The police officer followed and attempted to pull over the red Commodore but it sped away, heading back out onto the Pacific Highway and launching over the median strip.

The police officer stuck with the car and gave chase as the red Commodore reached speeds of between 100km/h and 120km/h in the approach to Violet Town Road.It was then that Welsh, seated in the passenger seat of the red Commodore, pointed a shotgun out the window and discharged the gun straight into the air.

Welsh later told police he did not aim the gun at the police vehicle and his intention was to put a stop to the pursuit.

And it had the desired effect; the police officer terminated the chase and the Commodore driver got away.

The car was later found burnt out at Glendale.

Meanwhile, Welsh, who was described as”sweating and off his guts”, went to a home at Speers Point where he hid in the roof.

He later jumped from a car at Edgeworth and ran into bushland. He was found the next day stumbling around and wearing only boxer shorts. When he was arrested, Welsh admitted to firing the shotgun and said he was significantly drug affected at the time.

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Internal probe on alleged molester’s call

A man accused of sexually assaulting a seven-year-old girl at Sydney dance school while on parole was interviewed by police just weeks prior about an offensive phone call – but no action was taken.
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The 54-year-old remains under guard in hospital following last week’s attack at Kogarah, in which he also allegedly stabbed a man who confronted him.

He has now been linked to calls made to a woman at a southern Sydney business in late October.

Deputy Commissioner Jeff Loy on Wednesday admitted that police identified and interviewed the alleged offender about the call but there was “no action” taken – despite knowing he was on parole.

Police have now launched an internal investigation to see why it was not reported.

Asked whether the attack could have been prevented, Mr Loy told reporters in Sydney: “Nobody can predict the future or the future actions of any person.”

Investigators are now appealing for anyone else who may have been contacted by the man to come forward.

His parole, which began in September 2017 after a jail term for a violent sexual assault in 2012, was revoked within hours of his arrest.

“He is a danger to the public and that’s why he’s under corrective services guard in hospital,” the deputy commissioner said.

My Loy has personally contacted the parents of the child to tell them of the situation.

“They are very brave. They want to get their lives back in order.”

Police Minister Troy Grant has urged the deputy commissioner to complete the investigation as soon as possible.

“The initial indications are that police could have done more, and if that is the case, I’ll expect swift action to be taken,” Mr Grant said in a statement.

NSW Corrections Minister David Elliott on Wednesday said he was “horrified” that the man had been granted parole.

He also took aim at the state’s parole board.

“The mere fact that I have taken parole board decisions to the Supreme Court in the past is good evidence to suggest that I’m not comfortable with a lot of parole board decisions,” he told reporters.

Opposition leader Michael Daley in question time called on Mr Elliott to divulge a preliminary report into to the circumstances behind the incident, which he described as “an appalling failure”.

Mr Elliott confirmed he had received a preliminary briefing, but refused to outline what it contained because it could prejudice a looming trial.

“That would put this investigation into some question, it would certainly put into question any potential court proceedings that are coming,” Mr Elliott told parliament.

“I cannot believe the man that professes to be the alternate premier in this state is actually asking me to provide information, put it into the public domain, which would put a criminal investigation into question.”

Mr Elliott accused the opposition of politicising the attack.

“Right now there is a seven-year-old girl who has gone through the most traumatic of experiences,” Mr Elliot told parliament.

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Big Blue a crying game to Niedermeier

Melbourne Victory import Georg Niedermeier looks forward to experiencing an A-League Big Blue clash.Melbourne Victory defender Georg Niedermeier’s n football education continues as his teammates school him in the Big Blue ahead of Sunday’s renewal of the A-League rivalry.
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The Victory-Sydney FC rivalry has always been a massive clash, and perhaps never bigger than now with the two heavyweight clubs firmly established as the country’s best.

The two clubs have shared six of the past eight A-League trophies, squaring off in the 2015 and 2017 grand finals.

A new chapter was written in the rivalry last April, when Victory beat FC 3-2 in an epic semi-final en route to their title win.

Niedermeier, a new arrival at AAMI Park this season, has seen the highlights and had one takeaway.

“I saw the crying guy. Scoring two goals but counting one,” he said.

The ‘crying guy’ would be teammate Terry Antonis, driven to tears after scoring an own goal and then an extra-time winner for Victory against his old side.

Niedermeier is no stranger to big occasions, playing his fair share in Germany before joining Victory, and is eager to sample this rivalry.

“The boys are talking about this game, the Big Blue. Every league has the game with two big rivals fighting each other,” he said.

“These big games in Germany are pretty intense. Stuttgart v Hoffenheim … Schalke v Dortmund. Bayern Munich against Dortmund.

“My first match on the bench for the first team was in Dortmund.

“My knees were a bit shaky to be honest but no worries on the weekend. They won’t be.”

Niedermeier has won plaudits for his first month in Melbourne, starting all four matches and looking the business at the back – save for two moments against Perth Glory.

The giant German ducked a header that allowed Andy Keogh to score in the Glory’s 3-2 win, before being knocked out by goalkeeper Liam Reddy in a fair but sickening clash.

While Niedermeier didn’t lose his place in the team after the result, fellow centre-back Nick Ansell did, with Thomas Deng and Niedermeier partnering for two wins since.

“Nick was struggling a bit with his body after those two matches,” Niedermeier said.

“They both have qualities … it’s good to give the boss some problems.”

Fellow imports Ola Toivonen and Raul Baena trained strongly on Wednesday ahead of Sunday’s clash, with both in contention to start against Steve Corica’s side.

Toivonen has just a substitute appearance to his name since arriving in while Baena missed the past two wins with a hamstring issue.

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Tas gender law push ‘ridiculous’: PM

Tasmania is poised to become to first state to make it optional to include gender on birth certificates, but the prime minister has slammed the push as “ridiculous”.
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Landmark transgender rights reforms, put forward by the Labor opposition and the Greens, passed the Tasmanian lower house late on Tuesday night.

The changes were passed against the state government’s wishes by the casting vote of rogue Liberal Speaker Sue Hickey, who voted against her party.

They’ve been hailed by transgender right groups but Scott Morrison and religious groups have voiced opposition.

“Labor’s plan to remove gender from birth certificates in Tasmania is ridiculous,” Mr Morrison tweeted on Wednesday.

“Bill Shorten should step up and commit to put motion to ALP Federal Conference to outlaw it.”

Mr Shorten said he had no plans to change the way birth certificates are filled out.

The legislation allows people aged 16 or older to change the gender on their birth certificate by filling out a statutory declaration.

It also allows parents to decide whether their child’s gender is recorded on birth certificates.

An anti-discrimination law amendment, designed to ensure the correct use of transgender people’s names and honorifics, was also passed.

“It’s going to make our lives so much easier and so much safer,” Roen Meijers, spokesperson for Transforming Tasmania, a transgender and gender-diverse rights group, told AAP.

“When young people want to apply for jobs, and they have to show their birth certificate to show their age, they won’t immediately be outed to everyone they’re working with.”

State Health Minister Michael Ferguson accused Labor and the Greens of conducting a social experiment on kids.

Ms Hickey labelled Mr Ferguson’s comments disappointing and accused Mr Morrison of making judgments on the run.

“I think we just need to get with the times,” she told reporters.

“That’s the kind of stuff that has been very harmful to the transgender community.

“People have to realise the Liberal Party has a very strong, right-wing Christian element.”

The bill must still pass Tasmania’s 15-member upper house, nine of whom are independents.

With Labor’s four upper house members likely to vote for the legislation, only four independents will need to support it for it to become law.

The state government wants the amendments referred to the Tasmania Law Reform Institute, with Attorney-General Elise Archer describing them as “deeply flawed”.

The n Christian Lobby said the removal of gender on birth certificates was ignoring biological truths.

Labor MP Ella Haddad and Greens leader Cassy O’Connor hugged in the House of Assembly when the legislation passed.

“These changes will make people, who we should all care about, feel happier, safer and more included,” Ms O’Connor told parliament.

The changes were attached to a bill introduced by the government that would stop people who change genders from being forced to divorce, bringing state laws in line with federal legislation.

Under the amendments, the sex of children would still be recorded on medical records.

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Left ‘progressives’ to gather for annual dinner at Carrington Bowlo on Saturday night

Alex Edney-BrowneA MELBOURNE activist and academic will speak in Newcastle on Saturday night on what she says are the increasing links between the weapons industry and n universities.
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Alex Edney-Browne, who has written and lectured extensively on she calls “themilitarisation of education”, is the guest speaker at the Hunter Broad Left’s annual Red Flag Dinner at Carrington Bowling Club.

MsEdney-Browne is in the final stages of a PhD in International Studies at the University of Melbourne, looking at the psycho-social effects of drone warfare on the Afghan civilian population and US military drone operators alike.

Ms Edney-Browne said it had become obvious that the supposed“surgical precision” of drone warfare was a“dangerous myth” that overlooked a high civilian casualty rate and the“psychological torment” experienced by the operators.

On thelinks between military funding and academia, Ms Edney-Browne said universities were places that should teach the resolution of conflict through more peaceful means.

“Universities should not be doing research that contributes to the death of people,” Ms Edney-Browne said.

She said a number of n universities had embarked on joint ventures or partnerships with big weapons companies including Lockheed Martin, Thales, Raytheon and BAE.

She said these companies liked to call themselves“defence” manufacturers but they were really about promoting war, not defence.

Hunter Broad Left spokesperson Rod Noble said the group was bringing Ms Edney-Browne to Newcastle after hearing her at a peace conference in Melbourne.

“This is very relevant to us here in Newcastle, given the proximity of the RAAF base at Williamtown and the links that the University of Newcastle has already established with the RAAF and some of the major companies,” Mr Noble said.

A conjoint lecturer in health sciences at the university, Mr Noble said it was time that university ethics committees looked more closely at some of the research that was being approved at n universities.

For its part, Newcastle Universityisforging closer links with the defence sector, and in one example announced a newBachelor of Aerospace Engineering (Honours) degree in August, developed“with input from key industry partners” including the RAAF, Boeing and BAE.

“Graduates . . .will be highly qualified for positions within aircraft design and manufacturing companies, n and international airlines, airworthiness organisations and the n Defence Force as aerospace, satellite and systems engineers,” the university says on its website.

Mr Noble said Saturday’s dinner started at 7pm, with the bistro and bar open from 6pm.

Previous Broad Left dinners

US influence greatly outweighs China’s, says Sydney academic

Burgmann calls ASIO ‘incompetent, offensive and inefficient’

Pat O’Shane at Red Flag dinner

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How winning Future Leaders team aims to stem brain drain from Hunter

Forward thinkers: Team Worrimi members Amanda Murray, Tyler Plowright, Teegan Bell, Adam Fisher, Kate Thomson, Jude Sneesby and Trudie Larnach with HunterNet chief Tony Cade (blue suit).STEMMING the “brain drain” from the Hunter and attracting more talent, skills and businesses from outside the region.
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The task for the record number of teams in the 2018 edition of HunterNet’s Future Leaders program was not easy, but HunterNet CEO Tony Cade said the five teams rose to the challenge.

“We received fivepractical and innovative submissions, all of which are able to be implemented and could help arrest the brain drain of the region,” he said. “The program is very fortunate to have such a high calibre judging panel and a group of mentors focused and committed to the development of our regions young leaders.”

At a recent gala event Team Worrimi was named winner of the Future Leaders 2018 program with its Ninety° submission. The team comprised Kate Thomson (n Business Lawyers),Teegan Bell (Newcastle Airport),Tyler Plowright (Pacific National), Jude Sneesby (Hunter Industrial Ceramics),Amanda Murray andAdam Fisher (both from Amp Control) and its mentor was Port Waratah Coal Services executive Trudie Larnach.

In its winning presentation, Team Worrimi said the Hunter wassuffering from a brain drain of degree qualified young people away from the region, with many lost permanently to the region. It said the ramifications of the exodus were manifold, but the economic implications for the development and maintenance of a modern, service-based economy are significant.

Its proposal addressed two confined but critical aspects of thebigger issue.

It undertook to provide market research services to ensure that both students and business have the information they need to identify areas of growth, potential skills shortages and to enable better matching graduates with areas of demand.

“Ninety° will also provide student placement services in a number of guises to link students with business,” it said. “This will ensure students complete tertiary education with the experience, skills and connections necessary to find jobs in the Hunter and with opportunities for career advancement to retain them in the region long-term.”

Team mentor Ms Larnach said while other student placement programs and market research organisations existed, the Ninety° point of difference layin its unique combination of the two –a focus on the social and economic sustainability of the Hunter region and the deep relationships it would form with key stakeholders.

Ms Larnarch encouraged businesses to encourage their“shining stars” to participate in the “engaging and practical” Future Leaders program.

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Franjic still craves Socceroos recall

Ivan Franjic (left) is hoping with the help of coach Tony Popovic he will return to the Socceroos.Perth Glory defender Ivan Franjic hasn’t given up hope of reigniting his Socceroos career, but he knows words are cheap.
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Franjic played in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and was also part of ‘s 2015 Asian Cup title triumph.

The 31-year-old has fallen out of favour in recent times, but is determined to work his way back in.

Franjic, a three-time title winner with Brisbane Roar, hopes new Glory coach Tony Popovic can help him get back into the national set-up.

The speedy defender has played an important role in Perth’s unbeaten start to the A-League season and hopes team success will also lead to individual honours.

But he faces an uphill battle to win a recall in time for January’s Asian Cup given he wasn’t selected for recent friendlies against Lebanon and South Korea.

“Socceroos is something you always want to be a part of,” Franjic said.

“It’s a great honour to play for the national team. I’ve been fortunate enough to win the Asian Cup and play at the World Cup.

“It would be something I’d love to get back into. But unless I’m playing well at club level, it’s very hard to get in.

“I want to let my football do the talking and hopefully the rest will take care of itself.”

Glory will be aiming to continue their hot start to the season when they host last-placed Central Coast at nib Stadium on Sunday.

The Mariners have just two points to their name after four rounds, while the Glory have notched three wins and a draw.

Glory skipper Diego Castro has been grounded since injuring his hamstring during the pre-season and is no guarantee to return against the Mariners.

Franjic praised the influence of Popovic, who has helped transform Glory into title contenders.

“He’s a great coach. He knows how to get the best out of every player and that’s important,” Franjic said.

“I think we’re only going to get better as the season goes on.

“You’re seeing glimpses in games and it’s really exciting when we move the ball fast and play around the opposition.”

Glory lost to EPL powerhouse Chelsea 1-0 in July, but Popovic’s charges will get another chance to take down a big scalp when they face Manchester United in Perth on July 13.

Manchester United will then play fellow English side Leeds United at Optus Stadium on July 17.

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