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A vintage day out for auto club

Posted on: December 20th, 2018 by
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Judy Smith,Warren Brown,Anne Coulton, Barbara Livermore, Marcia Fancourt, Mavis Humphries, Avril Mills (back) Max Smith,David Kelvin,Bill Coulton, Arthur Broadley, Dick Fancourt, Ross Humphries,Brian Mills,Judy Payne, and on the table top of our hosts’ Ford F100, Cliff Stockley, Brian and Liz Galloway, owners of “Indigal Hacienda Grande”Maybe global warming is a fact of lifeor spring has come early.
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Either way, itwas a blessing for Great Lakes Historic Automobile Clubevent director Bill Coulton as we assembled at the TuncurryRockpool for our very popular mid week run.

Our first stop was for our morning teabreak, and a dozen or so cars headed down The Lakes Way for a cuppa in thepicturesque forest setting in the picnic area adjacent to the Pacific Palms CommunityCentre.

Good to see some of our members are getting their classic cars out of the shednow that the weather has improved.

Arthur Broadley and Barbara Livermore werealong in their 1971 Triumph 2000 and David Kelvin was enjoying the fresh air in his1977 Triumph Stag, as was Cliff Stockley in his 1993 Ford Capri.

Ross and MavisHumphries had their immaculate 1975 Toyota Crown out for the day, with Brian andJudy Payne along in their 1982 Volvo 240GLE aka ‘The Abbamobile’.

It was MichaelStJohn Cox’s inaugural run in his recently acquired 1997 MGF, which now sharesthe stable with his much admired 1985 Jaguar XJSC.

Next stop was at our barbecuelunchdestination, the unique Indigal Hacienda Grande at Pacific Palms hidden high on amountain overlooking….well everything.

Our hosts Brian and Liz Galloway madetheir barbecueand catering facilities freely available to us and gave us a guided tour ofthe Spanish themed property and shared many of their extensive range ofcollectables, each with its own story, with us.

It was good to see both Ray Sonter andMax Smith along for the run, and well into recovery mode after more than their fairshare of health problems.

If you have an interest in older vehicles or just enjoy motoring related mattersgenerally, why not come along to one of our regular monthly meetings, which areheld on the first Wednesday of the month, startingat 7pmat the BellevueHotel, Tuncurry, where you will be made most welcome.

It’s notnecessary to own an older vehicle, but should you decide to purchase one, there is awealth of expertise in the club, to help you with unbiased advice, in deciding on yourchoice.

The club is affiliated with many other clubs actively involved in thepreservation of our motoring past, and as such, a wide variety of events, both socialand otherwise, are regularly on our calendar.

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Fencing money spend still awaited

Posted on: December 20th, 2018 by
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Agriculture Minister Leanne Donaldson pictured with Wild Dog Fence commissioner Vaughan Johnson and Longreach landholders Elisabeth and Peter Clark, inspecting their exclusion fence.As Agriculture Minister Leanne Donaldson inspected cluster fencing projects at Longreach on Wednesday and repeated her conviction thatfencing strategies will help revive the central west’s sheep industry, an announcement on the allocation of the $5m for more fencing announced by the Premier in May is still being waitedfor.
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Ms Donaldson was accompanied on her fence visit by Wild Dog Fencing Commissioner Vaughan Johnson, who, along with fellow commissioner Mark O’Brien, started work last month with the Queensland Feral Pest Initiative oversight group.

According to a spokesman for the minister, theyhave been actively meeting members of the Remote Area Planning and Development Board, gathering information on how the money can be spent to maximum advantage.

RAPAD is responsible for rolling out the current allocation of state and federal funding in the central west for the Queensland Feral Pest Initiative.

“The oversight group met in July to discuss the roll out of future funding support for the construction of wild dog fencing,” the spokesman said. “While the details of the new program have not been finalised by the oversight group, this additional investment will continue to provide much needed support to graziers and the local community.”

Speaking in Longreach, Ms Donaldsonsaid she was focused on how to maximise the benefits of the latest $5 million allocated by the Premier to wild dog eradication.

Decisions about where the next tranche of state government exclusion fence money is to be allocated are currently being debated by Agriculture Minister Leanne Donaldson and fence commissioner Vaughan Johnson, pictured, along with fellow commissioner Mark O’Brien.

“I don’t think there is now any doubt in this part of Queensland that cluster fencing is the best way to protect livestock from feral pests.

“Today I have been speaking with property owners who have installed cluster fencing.

“They made it very clear that landholders are now convinced that the strategy will quickly bring positive gains for the sheep industry.

“I’ve been told that where fences have been constructed, lambing rates increased by 70 per centalmost immediately.

“It has been enlightening travelling with Vaughan Johnson and hearing his thoughts about the best types of fence to ensure wild dogs can be kept out.

“Vaughan, his fellow Wild Dog Fencing Commissioner Mark O’Brien, and I are very clearly focused on ensuring that the $5 million allocation is spent wisely, to ensure the biggest bang for the buck.”

The issue is also being discussed today at the QDOG meeting in Charleville.

Ms Donaldson was due to participate by teleconference for a part of the meeting, to discuss the rollout of the program.

“While I want to see the funding allocated and more cluster fences under construction as quickly as possible it is very important that the right decisions are made to benefit the industry.”

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WA hits genetic jackpot

Posted on: December 20th, 2018 by
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Ross Adams, Peter Jackson, Michael Gough, Rony McDonald, Bruce Cameron and Tim Spicer with the Westerdale ram that sold for $25,000 during the Rabobank WA Sheep Expo and Sale at Katanning last week.GENETIC advancement by WA Merino breeders has been rewarded with major interest from local, interstate and international buyers.
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The 2016 Rabobank WA Sheep Expo and Sale held over two days in Katanning last week reflected the positive outlook for the WA sheep industry, with stud breeders out in force, showing off their latest genetics.

The week climaxed with the sale on Friday, rated as one of the best on record at Katanning, with strong support from both stud and commercial buyers.

It averaged $9323 for the 24 rams sold – the best average in 20 years and the most rams sold in the sale since 2009.

The sale topped at $23,000 for a Poll Merino sire sold by the Gooding family’s East Mundalla stud, Tarin Rock.

Three other rams sold for $20,000 or more.

But it wasn’t only the sale where buyers were active.

There were some big privately negotiated sales following Merino field days in the Wickepin, Williams and Gnowangerup areas.

The biggest of these was $25,000 for a Westerdale sire which was sold to Argentina.

WA Stud Merino Breeders Association president Steven Bolt said everybody involved should be proud of their efforts.

“The quality that was on display and the outstanding results of the sale really demonstrated the best of what WA breeders can produce,” Mr Bolt said.

“It was exciting to have such large numbers of registered local, interstate and international buyers in the sale, as well as support from so many studs during the Expo.”

Elders stud stock manager Tim Spicer and Landmark Breeding representative Mitchell Crosby said overall it was a positive week for the Merino industry.

They agreed with Mr Bolt who said the attention from the east, along with sale results, was a reward for the effort breeders had been making to improve their flocks with good genetics over the past five to 10 years.

“The feedback has been positive too,” Mr Crosby said.

“It’s great to hear that potential buyers are noticing the continuing quality of WA Merinos year-in, year-out.”

In the show ring the supreme exhibit went to reigning champion the Norrish family, Angenup stud, Kojonup, with its impressive medium-woolled Merino ram that could not be overlooked by the judges.

The ram was also a high achiever in the sale selling for $20,000.

p For more results from the Rabobank WA Sheep Expo Show and Sale, see the comprehensive review in Sections 1 and 2 of this edition of Farm Weekly.

Grylls backs foreign capital

Posted on: November 20th, 2018 by
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Brendon GryllsINTERNATIONAL investments create more opportunities for local family farms, according to The Nationals WA leader Brendon Grylls.
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Mr Grylls said the Chinese company which trades in Australia as Kimberley Agricultural Investment and operates as KAI in the Ord River district, was just one example.

“KAI provides the opportunity for all the other farmers to think about how they can piggy-back off the back of that investment,” Mr Grylls said.

“On the east coast, they seem to be a bit shy of international investment – I don’t mind that.

“That makes WA the premier destination, we lead the way, we attract and secure investments.”

Mr Grylls said international investment across all WA agricultural sectors was helping local economies and supporting farming families.

“If you go back five years and take away all this international investment and see what agriculture looked like – this has been a revolution,” he said.

“I want to see family agricultural businesses be able to piggy-back off the back of the substantial investments.

“I think politically this is the key. If many family farms can see the benefits in the supply chain, we set up a really exciting environment in WA.”

Mr Grylls said investments could encourage growth, innovation and premium products.

He said a family pastoralist could grow cattle for the live export market and continue to do business but have some insurance from neighbouring investors.

Mr Grylls said if an investor was to implement centre pivots, neighbouring properties could increase their carrying capacity, even in a drought, as they would have insurance from the fodder they could grow.

“The region could really benefit from this,” he said.

“This is the most exciting part of my job.”

Mr Grylls said without such investments WA agriculture would not be progressing as rapidly.

“Jack Burton’s Broome abattoir will provide pastoralists opportunities across the North to have another option for processing,” he said.

“For the first 10 years of my life in politics that was a pipe dream, everyone remembered when they all shut down and now we are about to open one. It is a massive turn around and that’s exciting for the sector.

“International investment did that, yes Jack is a great entrepreneur, but international investment opened up more opportunities.

“Further south, Singaporean-based investor Bruce Cheung is developing a Wagyu herd at Pardoo station, north of Port Hedland, and plans to develop a premium product branded Pilbara beef for the international market.”

Mr Grylls said without government creating the space to attract investment, WA agriculture would not have progressed this far.

Locusts looming as possible threat

Posted on: November 20th, 2018 by
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Regional landholders, particularly in eastern and southern parts of the grainbelt, are advised to inspect properties for locust activity and prepare to implement control activities during spring.SHIRES in the eastern Wheatbelt and South West could be at risk of significant locust infestations this spring.
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The Department of Agriculture and Food (DAFWA) is predicting significant locust numbers in spring in eastern and southern parts of the grainbelt.

It predicts moderate density hatchings could occur in parts of Ravensthorpe, Jerramungup, Gnowangerup, Narrogin, Kulin, Yilgarn, Westonia, Mukinbudin and Nungarin shires.

In these areas, some locust bands and loose swarms are expected to form.

Department Invasive Species acting director Malcolm Kennedy said hatchings were expected to occur from next month.

“It is vital that landholders control locusts by spraying paddocks at the right time to minimise damage to valuable pastures and crops where locusts emerge and feed,” Dr Kennedy said.

“Locusts will hatch at variable times and landholders should be checking their properties from early September to determine when to start spraying.

“Green crops and pasture are most at risk from locust damage.”

Landholders who observe locusts in autumn need to be particularly vigilant as there are likely to be egg beds which will hatch in spring.

“The main activity will be seen in pastures – look for early hatchings and hatching egg beds in places where there are bare areas such as around dam banks, roaded catchments and along fencelines,” he said.

While landholders are responsible for controlling locusts, DAFWA will assist with monitoring and surveys and provide advice to landholders on the best control options.

Growers are also encouraged to use the department’s PestFax Reporter app to report where locusts are found.

Adaptability is key to farming succes

Posted on: November 20th, 2018 by
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Graeme McConnell, Dean Nalder and Richard Bator at tjhe release fo the 10th edition of Planfarm Bankwest Benchmark.ADAPTABILITY appears to be the difference between WA’s top 25 per cent of broadacre farmers and the rest.
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And last season helped prove it, according to the 2015-2016 Planfarm Bankwest Benchmarks.

The Benchmarks data sets released last Friday, show the top 25pc of WA farmers spent an average of $4 a hectare more on chemicals and fertiliser last year than the average farmer, but overall, their financial costs averaged $1 a hectare less.

The data showed they also reaped $55 more a hectare in operating profits than the average farmer.

The top group’s operating surplus per millimetre of growing-season rainfall was $1.74 per effective hectare, compared to the State average of 93 cents.

“Being adaptable and controlling operating costs rather than chasing higher yields, appears the key to profitability,” Planfarm consultant Graeme McConnell told a business breakfast for about 80 agribusiness guests at Bankwest headquarters to launch the 10th annual Benchmarks.

“A year of contrasts”, which reflected 2015, demonstrated the adaptability.

“Farmers in the normally much drier north-east Wheatbelt regions, through Southern Cross, Merredin, Bencubbin, Wubin, Caron to Mullewa, did much better financially than farmers in the normally medium and high rainfall regions last year,” Mr McConnell said.

“While low rainfall regions had extremely good summer rains and much higher than normal rainfall across the growing season, they still received less rainfall in total than the much drier than normal medium and high rainfall regions.

“There is no year in agriculture where everyone has a good season and last year was no exception.

“Low rainfall areas did more with less rain.

“My thinking is, as an industry there is probably some room for high-rainfall farmers (to be) thinking more like low-rainfall farmers in these tough years.

“So when you have a tough start what do you do to manage your enterprises better?

“Do you drop cropping percentages, do you change your enterprise mix, do you take canola out of the rotation – or all of those things, to actually improve your water efficiency.

“Last year those high-rainfall zones should have done better.”

According to Mr McConnell, the top 25pc of farms generated “a fantastic cash flow return on capital” of 8.3pc, compared to the average of 4.3pc.

“That same trend comes through irrespective of the (rainfall) region,” he said.

“The top 25pc always double the return on capital.

“Good farmers in every region are still able to capitalise on the returns that they are getting, or are able to maximise those returns.

“In (low rainfall) areas where farmers were not chasing higher yields last year, they were rewarded with lower operating costs levels.”

Mr McConnell pointed out the six-year data set showed yields having less of an affect on return on capital.

The average wheat yield difference between the top 25pc and the average farmer was only 0.1-0.2 tonne a hectare.

But the enterprise mix did make a difference last year, with farmers having legumes in their rotation or running more livestock, not achieving the best return on capital despite good wool and meat prices.

“Farmers with better returns on capital had more cereals in their rotations,” he said.

“It was as simple as that.

“They have had much higher operating costs, but also much higher profits.”

One “good news story” from last year was in stabilising farm equity, helped in part by low interest rates and debt-reduction strategies.

“The average farmer now owns 81pc of their total farm assets, up from 80pc and well up from those really tough years of 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2012,” he said.

“We are starting to get some really positive things happening here and a much more stable industry than we’ve seen for a long time.

“About 30pc of farms in the State in every region are very close to operating without debt.

“That’s a much higher number even than last year.

“As well, some farm businesses that had been ‘marginal’ in previous years, had recovered because of the underlying strength of the farm sector.

“And the number of businesses on the bones of their backsides has decreased.”

The average farm’s ability to service debt had also improved with the ratio of $1 debt to $1 income now below one to one.

“What it’s saying is the agriculture industry is now pretty conservatively geared,” Mr McConnell said.

“One of the messages we’ve been trying to get out there is if you’re an average farmer there is pretty much some proof (that) to get up to the top 25pc, it doesn’t matter which region you are in, you just have to concentrate on what you’re doing and the changes you have to make aren’t necessarily that big.

“One of the things I think that is becoming really obvious the more years we run this long-term data set, is you have got to be able to adapt to the season.

“Being adaptable you can cope with most seasons and I think that’s one of the efficiencies we see in the top 25pc – always better than the average in every region because they’ve done that little bit more to prepare and they are managing their seasons.”

The Planfarm Bankwest Benchmarks is a comprehensive annual farm business analysis survey comprising information compiled from Planfarm, Bankwest, Bedbrook Johnston Williams, Business Ag and Ag Asset clients.

“It is a reliable indication of broadacre farm performance comprising 532 broadacre farms surveyed throughout the South West land division,” Bankwest rural and regional banking State manager Richard Bator said.

“Data from the survey provides farmers with the information they need to improve the performance of their business.”

Agriculture and Food Minister Dean Nalder officially launched the 2015-16 Benchmarks.

In his address he reiterated his commitment to rebuilding the Department of Agriculture and Food as an advocate across government for agriculture and to ensuring increased business acumen was involved in its decision-making.

Region’s promising signs

Posted on: November 20th, 2018 by
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QUEENSLAND Resources Council’s chief executive said there were signs of a recovery in the mining industry inNorth West Queensland.
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“Are there green shoots?” Michael Rocheasked rhetoricallyat the 2016 Mining Convention in Brisbane on Thursday.

“Technically the answer is yes.

“However, I don’t think we should get too excited too soon.”

Mr Roche said Evolution Mining’s stake in Glencore’s Ernest Henry Mine in Cloncurry, announced on Wednesday, was a “remarkable but clearly win-win linkup.”

He also reflected on current market trends with gold and copper and what it could mean for the region.

“At the end of July gold was some 27 per cent above its end-2015 price.

“This is occurring against a backdrop of a low interest rate environment and ongoing economic uncertainty globally.

“Interesting transactions continue to emerge in the gold space,” Mr Roche said.

Mr Roche said that there had not been a jump in copper prices but there were signs of promising investment.

“Good businesses are producing cash and we are seeing plenty of interest in bringing on new supply in North West Queensland.

“CuDeco delivered its first concentrate to the Port of Townsville and Altona Mining is getting closer to concluding its arrangements with its Chinese partner for the Cloncurry Copper Project.

“Elsewhere in metals we have seen encouraging improvements in pricing for zinc and nickel.”

He recognised the “worst downturn in more than 30 years” for the sector.

“It was the perfect storm. One moment China was booming and so was the global economy, but seemingly within the blink of an eye, that all collapsed.

“Looking back, while the collapse seemed fast at the time, we always knew that the sector would transition from a construction ‘boom’ phase to an enhanced production phase.”

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IMB Bank reports $29.6 million profit

Posted on: November 20th, 2018 by
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IMB Bank chairman: Michael ColeIMB Bank is reporting a$29.6 million profit after tax for the last financial year.The bank is describing theresult,9.1 per centbelow the headline profit result of the previousyear, as a consistent result in line with forecasts.
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IMB Bank chief executive officer: Robert Ryan

And it come in a year where the Illawarra grown financial institution made the transition from a building society to a mutual bank,announced amerger with Sutherland Credit Union and made a$2.9 million profit on the sale of its head office.

IMB Bank chief executive Robert Ryansaid the result was made against the backdrop of anhistorically low interest rate environment and intense competition for both loans and deposits.But even soIMB’s balance sheet increased by 5.0 per centon the previous year to $5.2 billion.

MrRyan saidloan approval levels for the year 19.1 per cent higher than the previous year at$1.011 billion.Growth in members’ deposits continuedin 2015/16, with total deposits increasing by $230 million to $4.3 billion.Retail deposits grew by seven per centduring the year.

Mr Ryan saidthe resultwas supported by maintenance of the margin, lower levels of bad debts and a modest increase in expenses to allow for investment in a number of initiatives, including IMB’s digital offering which has changed significantly during the last 12 months.

That includes thelaunch of anonline personal loan application system and adigital on-boarding and deposit account opening platform.Internet banking has also beenredesigned.And IMB Bankstarted rolling out a new fleet of ATMs that includeSmart ATMs that accept both cash and cheque deposits.

ChairmanMichael Cole said IMB Bank wasdelighted to have completed the merger with Sutherland Credit Union onJuly 1, 2016 andwelcomed a further 10,000 members in the Sutherland Shire.

That hasadded fourmore branches to the IMB network.

Mr Cole did warn though thatfollowingtworecent RBA reductions to official interest rates andcontinuing pressures fromcompetition for loans and depositsthe ability to maintain profits at presentlevels will be challenging.

The board has declared a final fully franked final dividend for 2015/16 of 15 cents per share, taking the full year dividend to 25 cents per share.

The dividend will be paid onSeptember 2, 2016.

The latest news comes after IMB Bank recently announced it would reduce the interest rate on its owner occupied and investment home loan standard variable rate (SVR) and business loan rates by 0.10 per centper annum.

That coincided with the announcement of an increase of 0.60 per centin the interest rate on a oneyear term deposit to 3.00 per cent.

At the time Mr Ryan said IMB Bank wascommitted to providing better value banking to members.

“Our Standard Variable Interest rate has been lower than that of the four major banks for more than five years,” he said.

“IMB’s new owner occupied SVR of 4.99% will now be more than 0.25% lower than the average of the major banks.

As of August 24 IMB’s new Owner Occupied SVR is 4.99 per cent per annum and the new Investment Loan SVR is 5.31 per cent.

IMB’s 1 year Term Deposit of 3.00 per cent took effectfrom August 19, 2016.

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Flying in to finals

Posted on: October 20th, 2018 by
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DERBY FINAL: On a weekend of grand final appearances for Leeton teams, it is the Group 20 qualifying final between Yanco-Wamoon and Leeton that will be a big drawcard.IT IS that time of the season when dreams of glory come to the fore and it doesn’t get much bigger thanthis weekend for Leeton shire.
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After tastingsuccess last weekend with the Dianas claiming a third Southern Inland women’s sevens title in four years, Leeton shire faces a smorgasbord of finals feasting.

The Leeton United reserve grade side will kick off its first grand final appearance since returning to the Griffith association a decade ago.United will take on Hanwood on Sunday and will need its best performance for the season to down a team that has ledthe competition all year.

The Leeton-Whitton Junior Crows have teams in five out of the six South West Junior league grand finals in Narrandera on Saturday.

In the netball, the under 11s and under 13s will face off against GGGM and Coleambally respectively, with only the under 15s unlucky not to make the final match of the season.In the football, the Crows have a team in each age group final – under 11s, 13s and 15s.With many of its sides having finished on or near the top of the ladder –including a couple of undefeated seasons –the Crowswill be crossing their feathers fora clean sweep.

The senior Crows have seven out of a possible eight teams starting their finals campaign this weekend.

In the football, the seniors and under 17s will be playing on Saturday to secure a berth the following week against the minor premiers, while the reserve grade side will face an elimination final on Sunday against Mangolplah-CUE.Four netball grades will be in action –A reserve, B grade and C grade teams playon Saturday in the qualifying final, then on Sunday, A grade plays Turvey Park in an elimination final.

Leeton Junior Rugby League will field four teams in tomorrow’s Group 20 Juniors grand finals.

However, the big ticket item will be the derby final in Group 20 between Yanco-Wamoon and Leeton, at Yanco Sportsground on Sunday afternoon.

Although that is just the tip of the iceberg.

On Saturday the Greens and Hawks reserve grade sides face each other in an elimination final. Then on Sunday, Yanco-Wamoon’s under 16s, and Leeton’s under 18s and leaguetag sides will provide qualifying final curtain raisers at Yanco.

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Kyrgios, McEnroe likely to team up

Posted on: October 20th, 2018 by
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Tennis superbrats John McEnroe and Nick Kyrgios are set to team up to try to conquer grand slam giants Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in the inaugural Laver Cup.
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McEnroe has been named Rest of the World captain at the event’s launch in New York, with old foe Bjorn Borg to skipper Europe in tennis’s version of golf’s Ryder Cup.

EXPERIENCE: Nick Kyrgios is set to learn from John McEnroe.

The teams’ event will make its debut in September 2017 in Prague.

“It’s going to be absolutely unbelievable,” Federer said after he and Nadal committed to lead Europe.”To be on the same side of the net as Rafa finally is a great feeling and .. a very special and unique experience.”

Each team will have six players. Four will earn their way onto the team through ATP points standings. The other two will be captain’s picks.

On current rankings, McEnroe would have world No.6 Milos Raonic as their spearhead along with Kei Nishikori, Kyrgios and fellow Australian Bernard Tomic plus two captain’s picks.

The Laver Cup will be played annually except for Olympic years over the course of three days – Friday through Sunday – with the first edition at the O2 Arena in Prague on an indoor hard court from September 22-24 next year.

There will be four matches each day – three in singles, one in doubles – and each player must play at least one singles rubber.

Europe shape as a superpower with a potential line-up of Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Federer, Nadal, Stan Wawrinka and Tomas Berdych.

McEnroe, though, says it’s too early to write off the Rest of the World, who, on current rankings, would have world No.6 Milos Raonic as their spearhead along with Kei Nishikori, Kyrgios and fellow Australian Bernard Tomic plus two captain’s picks.

“A lot of things can change in one year,” McEnroe said.

“You don’t know what’s going to happen a year from now. Guys like Milos, for example – he sees these all-time greats and trying to bridge that gap, trying to figure out a way that he can get closer.

“Juan Martin (del Potro), I was just so happy to see him back on the court. He’s had such a rough time but he’d be an incredible positive with the way he’s played at the Olympics.

“And there is some young guys, there’s going to be a couple of guys going to make a breakthrough in the next year or two, no question about it.

“That’s why I think this is going to be a lot more competitive than it may appear at the moment.”

Rod Laver, the only player to complete two calendar-year grand slams, said he was humbled to have the event named in his honour.

“It’s amazing,” said Australia’s greatest ever player.

“Hopefully it’s going to be a world competition that’s going to last and be a real competition for the world of tennis.”