Maple Leafs, Browns, Cubs, Canucks On List Of Sport’s Longest Active Title Droughts 

PHOTO: The Sharks and Bulldogs celebrate during their preliminary final victories. (AAP/Getty)

By Jon Healy

September 26, 2016

This year’s AFL and NRL grand finals could play host to two drought-breaking victories.

The Western Bulldogs and Cronulla Sharkswill contest the last match of the year in their respective codes on the weekend with the chance to end decades of heartache for their fans.

The Bulldogs, or Footscray Football Club, have not only gone decades without winning a flag, but have only reached one other season decider since taking out the title in 1954.

In that 1961 fixture, Footscray jumped out to an early lead, but kicked just 2.4 (16) in the second half while Hawthorn booted 67 points to hammer them by 43.

They had one shot, one opportunity, one moment, to seize everything they ever wanted … and they let it slip.

Cronulla, meanwhile, has been in the top flight rugby league competition since 1967 and never won it all, missing out in the 1973, 1978 (via a replay) and 1997 (Super League) grand finals.

So, can one or both of these teams shake the monkey off their backs and get off this list of some of sport’s most title-hungry teams?

Chicago Cubs — No World Series win since 1908

Cubs fans look on during the 2008 MLB playoffs

Long-suffering fans … The Cubs faithful look on during another loss during the 2008 playoffs.(Getty Images: Jamie Squire)

Baseball might do superstition better than any other sport, and the Curse of the Billy Goat is one of its best.

The last time the Cubs reached the World Series, in 1945, Billy Sianis tried to get into game four to watch his team go around against Detroit at Wrigley Field.

Unfortunately, Sianis had with him a goat — he was the owner of the Billy Goat Tavern — and security refused to let the animal in because you cannot bring random animals to sporting events, especially those that have a reputation for eating everything in sight.

The story goes, Sianis appealed Cubs owner PK Wrigley, who also denied the goat entry, prompting Sianis to exclaim: “The Cubs ain’t gonna win no more.” And win they have not.

But, with the Cubs currently boasting the most wins in the MLB, and the Sharks and Bulldogs heading to deciders, 2016 could be the year for a hard rain to fall on some sporting droughts.

Toronto Maple Leafs — No Stanley Cup win since 1967

Toronto Maple Leafs dejected against Buffalo

PHOTO: Toronto has not returned to the finals since its last title. (Getty Images: Bruce Bennett)

Think about Toronto as the NHL’s South Sydney Rabbitohs.

This hockey-mad city saw its Maple Leafs lift the Stanley Cup 13 times, but not once since 1967.

Once again, they have not even stumbled into the finals once in the interim.

Although, maybe that is for the best considering when the Vancouver Canucks, who have never won the title, lost their third finals in 2011 the city was almost burned to the ground.

Cleveland Browns — No title since 1964

Robert Griffin III's injury troubles sum up the luck of the Browns in the NFL

PHOTO: Robert Griffin III’s injury troubles sum up the luck of the Browns in the NFL (Getty Images: Jason Miller)

Mercifully, LeBron James and the Cavaliers quenched the city of Cleveland’s thirst for a trophy by winning the 2016 NBA title, but football (and any other sporting) success still alludes ‘The Land’.

The Browns won an NFL title in 1964 but have not won or even reached the last game of the season in the Super Bowl era (since 1966).

With a miserable name like the Browns, voted by fans as an homage to former heavyweight boxing champion and Cleveland native Joe ‘The Brown Bomber’ Louis, making fun of this sorry lot is almost too easy.

Unfortunately, while some other teams on this list seem to have some upside and hope in the not too distant future, the Browns appear destined to be terrible for a while yet, having recently signed injury-prone quarter-back Robert Griffin III, who instantly got injured.

Liverpool — No League title since 1990

Gerrard skulks off after woeful Liverpool farewell

PHOTO: The Reds have won other trophies in the interim, but are still looking for another Premier League title.(Getty Images: Dave Thompson)

Some context is required to justify Liverpool’s spot on this list.

The streak is nowhere near as long as the others, but the Premier League is so top heavy that there really is no excuse for one of England’s most storied clubs to miss out for as long as the Reds have.

Of the 26 titles available since Liverpool’s last league win, which was its 11th in 18 seasons, 21 have gone to the other members of the ‘Big Four’ – Manchester United (13), Chelsea (4) and Arsenal (4).

Sure, Liverpool has been usurped by Manchester City in the awesome foursome but that only happened relatively recently and as the drought extends it is becoming increasingly difficult for Reds fans to keep saying their team is a major player in the league.

Source: Cronulla, Western Bulldogs looking to get off list of sport’s longest active title droughts – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)


AgTech Ideas For Aussie Farming Incubator Programs

AGDRAFT AgTech is revolutionising the way Aussie farmers run their business.

Our next home-grown ideas boom.

By Andrea Beattie  Small Business Writer, HuffPost Australia

September 26, 2016

Australia is on the cusp of an agricultural technology innovation boom, with entrepreneurs urged to submit startup ideas to reinvigorate and boost our $60 billion agriculture industry.

Financial advisory and accounting services provider Findex and the National Farmers’ Federation last week announced the launch of a pre-accelerator program as part of a joint initiative called SproutX designed to collate startup ideas to nurture and commercialise the best ideas in food, fibre and agribusiness.

The $10 million accelerator fund, supported by Artesian Venture Partners, will invest in the best AgTech ideas, and is backed by $1 million in initial funding from the Victorian Government as well as industry leaders including Findex and Ruralco.

The pre-accelerator will accept 100 applicants from across the country who will be equipped with basic business skills and lean startup principles, as well as access to mentors and a strong support network.

SPROUTX General Manager of SproutX Sam Trethewey says Australia’s biggest natural advantage lies in agriculture.

“Australia’s biggest natural advantage lies in agriculture, not fintech, and we need to invest to ensure that we lead the way in developing and commercialising innovations in agtech,” General Manager of SproutX Sam Trethewey said.

“The innovation boom has had a strong focus on fintech, but movements like that are not where Australia’s natural competitive advantage lies.

“We’re still in our infancy, but it’s important to get behind the AgTech industry now and stimulate its growth. We need to connect innovators, investors and the agri-community to help bring ideas to fruition, and this pre-accelerator lays the groundwork for that.”

At the end of the six-week pre-accelerator program, graduates will receive $1000 cash and $10,000 in services to help them pursue their venture. Those that show promise will also be invited to join the full six-month accelerator program when it launches in 2017.

Budding entrepreneurs can apply to be part of the SproutX program on theirwebsite.

StartUpAus CEO Alex McCauley, with Content and Community Manager, Alex Gruszka, said technology has always played an important role in increasing Australia’s agricultural output.

Report outlines AgTech potential

A StartUpAus report called Powering Growth: Realising the Potential of AgTech for Australia threw the spotlight on AgTech naming it a critical component of the Farmers Federation goal to develop a $100 billion agricultural industry by 2030.

The report, co-authored by KPMG Australia, and supported by the Queensland Government and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), notes that the agricultural sector is already the largest employer in rural and regional communities, generates 4 per cent of Australia’s total employment, provides 93 per cent of the nation’s domestic food supply, and contributes approximately 13 per cent ($42 billion) of Australia’s export revenue.

StartUpAus CEO Alex McCauley said technology has always played an important role in increasing Australia’s agricultural output.

“We have an extremely valuable opportunity here to develop technologies that make a real difference to the economy’s bottom line, while also helping rural Australia realise the economic benefits of the digital technology revolution,” he said.

“If Australia is to realise its ambition to be the food bowl for a rapidly-growing middle class in Asia and Africa, we will need to become a leader in AgTech.”

AgTech platforms such as AgDraft are giving farmers access to a skIlled workforce when they need it.

Innovation brings change

Some Australian agricultural producers are already changing the game when it comes to technological innovations.

Since 2011, researchers across the northern parts of rural Australia have beentrialling satellite technology to aid farmers on immensely large properties in tracking their livestock and monitoring the condition of their pastures.

Entrepreneurs such as Ella Shannon are also using tech to make life easier for primary producers.

Shannon, who grew up on a sheep and cattle property in Yass, NSW, designed and launched a tech platform called AgDraft to help increase the utilisation of skilled labour in regional areas as well as make use of more transient, seasonal labour sources.

“We profile and match workers to jobs on skills, job category and time availability,” Shannon said.

“No farm is immune from labour shortages. I wanted to provide a tool and ignite a workforce from outside of the industry including backpackers, grey nomads and uni students.

“We use an Airbnb style reviewing system to build trust and help people connect outside their networks.”

Working on the family farm with her dad Peter has given entrepreneur Ella Shannon a unique insight into the needs of primary producers

Shannon said without a reliable labour force, production is affected.

“Short-term jobs (don’t get) done, or resources are pulled from other part of the business and this is costly in terms of productivity and output.”

She said the site already had 650 registered users in less than a year of operation.

“The industry is at a turning point in digital disruption, we have forged past early adopter and moving into widespread use of technology,” she said.

“These advancements in technology will change the skills and expertise needed in agriculture.”

#WordsAtWork: David Morrison wants Australians to stop saying gender-based terms like ‘guys’ 

Australian of the Year and former Army chief David Morrison says the term “guys” should no longer be used in workplaces.

By Andrew Greene and Kristian Silva

The retired Lieutenant General on Wednesday launched a new Diversity Council Australia video which aims to crack down on language which excludes minority groups.

“Exclusive language, gender-based language or inappropriate language, has as much a deleterious or disadvantaged effect as something where you’re saying something blatantly inappropriate to another human being,” General Morrison told ABC News Breakfast.

He said he was not trying to become the “language police” by supporting the new campaign, and expected to be criticised for the idea.

The #WordsAtWork campaign video depicts a group of women rolling their eyes at being called “girls” by a male colleague.

“All the campaign is doing is saying look, it’s a proven fact that more inclusive [and] more diverse workforces create real diversity of thinking and are more productive, more effective,” General Morrison said.

“And one of the ways that you can engender that type of environment is being careful about how you speak to other people, talking to them with respect and listening to their views with respect.”

The campaign also promotes gender equality, calls for the word “gay” not to be used in a negative fashion, and strongly discourages the use of other offensive terms.

General Morrison said he was now trying to stop using the word “guys” when speaking to groups of people.

“I have now removed that from my lexicon as best I can, I think it’s important.”

However, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop cautioned against interfering with freedom of speech.

Ms Bishop said words such as “guys” were generic enough they should not cause offence.

“I don’t think we should try and interfere with the freedom of speech in this country to a point where people are too concerned about day-to-day conversations,” she said.

Guys’ commonly accepted by males and females: expert

Australian National University language expert Catherine Travis said she supported the campaign to rid stigmatised words from workplaces, but believed its aim to eliminate the term “guys” was trivial.

Dr Travis said the phrase “you guys” had evolved to include all genders and was commonly accepted.

She said the male element in the phrase “you guys” could be linked to a trait seen in languages like French and Spanish, where a masculine version of a word can be used when it is in plural form.

“The masculine form may be seen as more basic,” she said.

“The form that’s going to take off is the more frequent one, it’s going to be used in more circles and used with a more general meaning.

“‘Guys’ is much more generalised than the other examples in the clip, and so has much less risk of offending.

“That is, mum really only refers to a mum, girls only refers to girls, whereas the meaning of guys has changed to include males and females.”

Source: #WordsAtWork: David Morrison wants Australians to stop saying gender-based terms like ‘guys’ – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Cancer interactive tool to raise awareness of ‘lifestyle factor’ risks 

Australians can assess their cancer risk using a website that will be launched today by the Federal Health Minister Sussan Ley.

Ms Ley said the interactive tool asked participants about their drinking, smoking and exercise habits, diet and weight in a bid to highlight how lifestyle factors can contribute to the risk of cancer.

“130,000 people are going to be diagnosed with cancer in Australia this year,” Ms Ley said.

“We want that number to come down and we want people to realise they can do something about their own risk.”

Ms Ley said some cancer cases in Australia could be prevented if people increased their awareness of the risk.

“We all sometimes think ‘oh I hope that doesn’t happen to me’,” she said.

“What this tool aims to do is educate people how to make sure it doesn’t happen to them, or at least it minimises their risk.”

You can check your cancer risk here: Cancer Australia — lifestyle risk

Source: Cancer interactive tool to raise awareness of ‘lifestyle factor’ risks – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)