Ghani visit: Extra Australian troops to Afghanistan a ‘sovereign decision’

Afghanistan’s president insists Australia’s military commitment to his country is a “sovereign decision”.


Dr Mohammad Ashraf Ghani has been in Canberra for two days of official talks including meetings with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Defence Minister Marise Payne.

Australia has 270 defence personnel deployed mostly in the capital Kabul where they provide support and security along with some mentoring recruits at the Afghan National Military Academy.

Earlier this year, the US Army General John Nicholson, who leads American and international forces in Afghanistan, called for thousands more troops to advise Afghan forces on the ground to beat the stalemate.

Dr Ghani clarified that General Nicholson had requested about 5200.


Asked if Australia should provide more troops, Dr Ghani said: “These are sovereign decisions.”

“We always defer to national authorities in terms of the decision-making process,” he told ABC radio.

Australia’s main base in Afghanistan had been in Uruzgan province, before the withdrawal in 2013.

The Taliban have now overrun that area.

But Dr Ghani insisted “temporary setbacks” should not be seen as reversals.

“It is not trending in the wrong direction,” he told ABC TV.

He acknowledged the threat of Islamic State militants in eastern Afghanistan and said authorities were dealing with them relentlessly.

“Given what has happened in Iraq and Syria, the likelihood of them migrating or jumping like cancer cells elsewhere is significant,” Dr Ghani said.

During the president’s visit thousands of Hazara protesters rallied in Canberra against a 2011 deal between Australia and Afghanistan to send failed Afghan asylum seekers back to their homeland.

Dr Ghani said it had not been a subject of conversations during his meetings with Australian government ministers.

He argued thousands of refugees had returned to Afghanistan from Pakistan in recent years and the level of participation in public life by Hazaras was increasing.


Asked if Afghanistan would take back failed asylum seekers detained on Manus Island or Nauru, he said due process was important to follow.

“An Afghan who has gone through the full legal process has a right to return. We never refuse if the host country wants to expel them, then the due process should be observed,” he said, adding that international human rights agreements need to be taken into account.

Dr Ghani earlier on Tuesday marvelled at Australian-designed gadgets that are protecting his country’s soldiers and police from improvised explosive device attacks.

In the past two years, Australia has supplied 150,000 Redwing contraptions to Afghanistan security personnel with a further 34,000 to be delivered later this year.

The devices, which jam radio signals that can set off IEDs, cover both individuals and vehicles and are made in Brisbane.

“It’s truly amazing,” Dr Ghani said.

“You’ve taken the request to save lives extremely seriously.”

WATCH: Thousands of Hazaras protest Afghan president

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Party watchdog examines Hanson books

The electoral watchdog is examining claims Pauline Hanson’s One Nation may have breached disclosure laws.


Former Queensland One Nation treasurer Ian Nelson told the ABC’s Four Corners program on Monday he urged Senator Hanson and chief of staff James Ashby to declare the use of an aircraft, but was told not to worry about it.

Mr Nelson also alleged Mr Ashby had pressured him to conceal the fact that Bill McNee, a Victorian property developer, had donated $70,000 to the party.

A spokesman for the Australian Electoral Commission said the information was “being reviewed in the context of the disclosure provisions of the Commonwealth Electoral Act”.

It is understood One Nation was already being looked at as part of a regular program of compliance reviews by the AEC.

Special Minister of State Scott Ryan, who has spoken with AEC commissioner Tom Rogers, is expected to have further talks with the commissioner in coming days.

Labor senator Murray Watt says the AEC needs to check whether electoral laws have been broken, in terms of One Nation’s financial disclosure obligations.

Senator Hanson’s office declined to comment on Tuesday when contacted by AAP.

Mr Ashby, a registered pilot, told Sky News on Tuesday his company had bought the plane and its use for party purposes had been properly declared.

One Nation senator Malcolm Roberts insisted Senator Hanson may pay for the fuel on her trips.

“The use of the plane is declared as a gift in kind, everything above board,” he told Sky News.

“The plane was there before Pauline became a candidate.”

Senator Roberts also denied claims Mr Ashby ran a “dictatorship” within the party.

“He is very direct, very honest but he’s also personable and engaging. He doesn’t get rude and nasty unless someone wants to do that to him,” he said.

“He’s not a Peta Credlin (former prime minister Tony Abbott’s chief of staff) at all, he listens extremely well… he’s one of the best people I’ve ever worked with.”

Calls to break down barriers as young migrants face institutionalised prejudice

Advocates on Tuesday made recommendations to the Inquiry into Migrant Settlement Outcomes, to combat what they said were dangerous misconceptions.


Youth Action, one the many groups that made a submission to the inquiry, said migrants continued to face prejudice, despite figures that indicated they may be less likely to commit crime.

“There is this idea they are a criminal or have some connection to criminal behaviour or anti-social behaviour of any way, shape or form,” CEO Kate Acheson said.

“Actually white young males are more likely to be committing crime than that particular community, and we are not seeing the vilification happening across the cultures, just these communities and we need to stop that.”

Youth ambassador for the Multicultural Youth Affairs Network NSW Apajok Biar also believed many South Sudanese migrants were being unfairly linked to issues like gang violence, and that many people in her community were considered guilty until proven innocent.

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“People, [what] they see in the media is just a small percentage of the South Sudanese community,” Ms Biar said.

“There are so many of us achieving such great things and we are really contributing to Australia as a whole and they should really consider that, not just profile us because of what one person has done.”

When Tamara Mirzada was just 13 when she moved to Australia as an Afghani refugee.

“When I was growing up, I wore the hijab in high school and I faced a lot of discrimination and being called a terrorist when I just came here,” she said.

It’s something Tamana said happened daily within the Muslim community formed part of a phenomenon migrant support groups want to stop.


Research from the Multicultural Youth Affairs Network NSW found that young people in NSW who spoke a language other than English were less likely to be involved in crime than their English speaking counterparts.

Victorian youth born overseas were also less than half as likely to be alleged offenders compared with other young people.

Arash Bordar came to Australia as an Iranian refugee in 2015 and, in the years since, he said he has encountered prejudice and felt excluded from society.

“Sometimes when you are on the train they check your ticket and you’re the only one, they don’t ask everyone,” he said.

“We want to build the country with everyone together. But when we face the problems and all the challenges we have, it makes us a bit depressed.”

One of the recommendations made to the federal government was that migrant youth be able to access support services earlier, from the age of 12, instead of 15.

Advocates including Ms Acheson said earlier intervention is crucial.

“When you don’t have that they feel displaced, they feel devalued … that’s not really good.

“Young people will look for identity wherever they can find it,” Ms Acheson said.

There is currently no national record of crimes connected to ethnicity – something advocates are pushing to change.

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Time to move forward with Russia: Trump

President Donald Trump is tweeting that “it is time to move forward in working constructively with Russia!” after his meeting with Vladimir Putin.


Trump says after returning from a world leaders’ summit in Germany he “strongly pressed” Putin twice over Russian meddling in the 2016 election during their lengthy meeting.

He says Putin “vehemently denied” the conclusions of American intelligence agencies.

Trump is not saying, though, whether he believes Putin, tweeting that he’s “already given my opinion.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov first told reporters in Germany on Friday that Trump had accepted Putin’s assurances that Russia hadn’t meddled – an assertion Putin repeated Saturday after the Group of 20 summit.

“He asked questions, I replied. It seemed to me that he was satisfied with the answers,” Putin said.

US officials have not pushed back on that account, even when pressed directly.

Speaking briefly with reporters aboard Air Force One on Saturday evening, both Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster punted when given the chance to correct the record.

“You know, we’re not going to make comments about what other people say,” said Mnuchin.

“President Trump will be happy to make statements himself about that.”

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who participated in the Trump-meeting, had suggested Friday that the two sides had, in effect, agreed to disagree on the meddling question so that they could move forward to address other pressing issues, like the civil war in Syria.

GPs overprescribing antibiotics: research

Australian GPs are overprescribing antibiotics for respiratory infections, even when their use is not recommended, research shows.


Antibiotics are prescribed for acute respiratory infections (ARI) at rates four to nine times higher than recommended by national guidelines, the researchers found.

“The potential for reducing rates of antibiotic prescription and to thereby reduced rates of antibiotic-related harms, particularly bacterial resistance, is therefore substantial,” the researchers said.

“Our data provide the basis for setting absolute targets for reducing antibiotic prescribing in Australian general practice.”

The researchers led by Bond University public health professor Christopher Del Mar said antibiotic prescribing in general practice could be substantially reduced if GPs adhered more closely to national therapeutic guideline recommendations

Australians are among the biggest users of antibiotics in the world despite experts here and around the globe warning that excessive or unnecessary use helps more bacteria become resistant to the drugs.

The researchers said their findings, published in the Medical Journal of Australia on Monday, are the first to quantify the overprescribing of antibiotics for ARIs by Australian GPs.

They found an estimated mean of 5.97 million ARI cases per year were managed in general practice with at least one antibiotic.

Had GPs adhered to widely consulted antibiotic prescribing guidelines, they would have prescribed antibiotics for 650,000 to 1.36 million cases a year or 11-23 per cent of the current prescribing rate, they said.

The researchers found GPs are prescribing antibiotics in 85 per cent of acute bronchitis/bronchiolitis cases and 11 per cent of influenza cases, despite guidelines recommending they not be used.

Antibiotics were prescribed more frequently than recommended for ARIs such as acute rhinosinusitis and acute pharyngitis or tonsillitis.

The researchers said diagnostic uncertainty, or a concern by the treating doctor that a serious infection or complication might be missed, is one potential explanation for the oversubscribing of antibiotics.

Antibiotics are always recommended for community-acquired pneumonia and pertussis or whooping cough.

UK govt has no role in Charlie Gard case

The UK government won’t play a role in deciding the medical treatment of a terminally ill baby whose parents want to take him to the US for experimental treatment.


Justice Secretary David Lidington said the decision on 11-month-old Charlie Gard will be made by judges acting “independent and dispassionately” based on the facts of the complicated case.

Charlie’s parents are protesting the decision by Great Ormond Street Hospital to turn down their request to bring him to the US for treatment.

The hospital has been backed by a series of court rulings, but the case is expected to be back in Britain’s High Court on Monday.

The hospital requested the hearing because of new medical information from researchers at the Vatican’s children’s hospital suggesting experimental treatment might possibly be useful.

Clinicians from the Bambino Gesu pediatric hospital’s neurosciences department said tests in mice and patients with a similar, but not identical, genetic condition as Charlie had shown significant improvement is possible.

At present, the boy isn’t able to breathe unaided. He has a rare inherited mitochondrial disease that has affected many of his vital organs and left him with brain damage.

Unless the court hearing produces a change, the hospital is barred by a series of court decisions from allowing the baby to be taken elsewhere for treatment.

The parents have been backed by Pope Francis and US President Donald Trump in their quest to seek treatment.

Supporters say they will give the hospital a petition signed by 350,000 people backing the parents’ rights to take the baby from the hospital for treatment.

SIPG thrashed, miss chance to move to CSL summit

Missing former Chelsea playmaker Oscar as well as Brazilian forward Hulk and China international Wu Lei due to bans handed out by the Chinese Football Association, SIPG missed the chance to leapfrog Guangzhou Evergrande and move top for the first time since March.


Evergrande had slipped up against Beijing Guoan on Saturday, losing 2-0 as Luiz Felipe Scolari’s side were defeated for the second game in a row to give SIPG an opening, but the Shanghai club fluffed their lines.

Three goals in seven first-half minutes put Changchun in command with Szabolcs Huszti scoring from the penalty spot in the 22nd minute before efforts from Jiang Zhe and Tan Long gave the home side a comfortable cushion.

An own goal by Zhang Xiaofei nine minutes after the restart gave SIPG a lifeline, but Odion Ighalo claimed Changchun’s fourth to leave Li Shenglong’s goal in the 66th minute little more than a consolation as SIPG lost for the third time this season.

“It was a disappointing match, we didn’t expect this result,” said SIPG assistant coach Daniel Sousa, who took Villas-Boas’ place on the bench due to the Portuguese coach’s own suspension.

“Our opponents were better in the first half, and we were better in the second half with more control and more opportunities. However, opportunities don’t equal goals, so we failed to level the score.

“Now we can only hope for a better performance in the next game, to come back strong. We had a bad start but I don’t want to blame anyone for it. It is the team’s problem.”

Evergrande presented SIPG with the opportunity with their defeat against an inspired Beijing side playing their first game under new coach Roger Schmidt.

The coaching change had an immediate impact, with Jonathan Soriano scoring twice to give Beijing only their second win in the Chinese Super League in seven games.

Third-placed Hebei CFFC also lost in a poor weekend for the leading trio as Manuel Pellegrini’s side slipped up against Henan Jianye, Ezequiel Lavezzi’s double not enough to prevent a 3-2 defeat.

Shandong Luneng picked up a 2-0 win over Tianjin Teda that enabled Felix Magath’s fourth-placed side to close their gap to the top to nine points while Fabio Cannavaro’s Tianjin Quanjian also benefited from the struggles of the leaders thanks to their 2-1 win over Guangzhou R&F.

Fabio Capello’s Jiangsu Suning moved off the bottom of the table despite being held to a 2-2 draw against Shanghai Shenhua as Yanbian Funde’s 4-0 thrashing by Chongqing Lifan sent them to the bottom. Guizhou Zhicheng picked up a 1-0 win over struggling Liaoning Whowin.

(Editing by Ed Osmond)

Clean energy target will drop power bills

Power bills would fall significantly over the next decade if the federal government adopted a clean energy target.


And they would fall even further if a more aggressive target was adopted, a new analysis has found.

According to the modelling from respected energy market analysts RepuTex, sticking with business as usual would lead to wholesale electricity prices of more than $100 per megawatt hour by 2030, largely because of a heavy reliance on gas-fired power with high fuel prices.

A clean energy target as recommended by Chief Scientist Alan Finkel would encourage investment in new energy generation above the amount expected to close, leading to a more competitive market.

A CET in line with the Finkel report would lead to wholesale prices of $60/MWh.

With a tougher target more in line with an international agreement to limit global warming to two degrees, power prices would be just $40/MWh by 2030.

RepuTex’s energy and carbon market director Hugh Grossman has titled his report as a blunt message: “It’s the economics, stupid.”

He also says baseload-only generators – traditionally coal- and gas-fired power – will be too inflexible to compete in Australia’s future energy market.

Falling demand for electricity during the daytime and peaks in the evening mean generators that can cheaply and quickly ramp up production will be more competitive.

Traditionally newer gas generators have filled this demand but again, high gas prices have changed the equation, making wind or solar cheaper even with the added costs of storage.

“Renewables are a ‘lay down misere’ to out-compete traditionally fossil-fuel sources in Australia for the foreseeable future,” Mr Grossman said.

Under a clean energy target, generators create certificates based on how much below a threshold level of emissions their power is, with a number of certificates surrendered each year.

High-emitting generators can buy certificates from cleaner sources to surrender.

RepuTex says although there has been “much hand-wringing” over where that emissions threshold is set – to include coal or not – that was largely inconsequential because economics would ultimately drive the generation mix.

Even if all subsidies were removed from renewables, high-efficiency low-emissions coal power would still be uncompetitive.

“We do not envisage any appetite for HELE coal or other baseload-only facilities, such as nuclear, unless there is a major government distortion in the market,” Mr Grossman says.

SA premier heads to Whyalla

South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill will continue to talk up the state’s fortunes with a visit to Whyalla to mark the successful sale of the Arrium steelworks.


Mr Weatherill was in Jamestown on Sunday to see the site where billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk will build the world’s largest lithium ion battery.

On Monday he will meet Arrium workers and community leaders in Whyalla, just days after British businessman Sanjeev Gupta signed a deal to take over the steel operations, essentially saving 1500 jobs.

The two announcements at the back end of last week have been hailed by the Labor government as evidence international investors have no problems bringing business to SA despite concerns expressed over the proposed introduction of a new tax on the big banks.

Mr Weatherill says the 100-megawatt battery, to be delivered within 100 days by Mr Musk’s company Tesla or delivered free, will not only help stabilise the state’s energy grid, it will provide jobs for local businesses, especially in the tourist sector.

“At many levels, this represents a massive job creation opportunity for this state,” the premier said.

The battery is just one part of South Australia’s $550 million energy plan which was developed in response to last year’s statewide blackout.

It will be built near Jamestown, in SA’s mid north and paired to a wind farm operated by French utility company Neoen.

Other elements of the energy plan include attracting new gas-fired generation into the market, increased gas exploration and the construction of a new government-owned, gas-fired power station.

After his trip to Whyalla, Mr Weatherill is expected to meet Mr Gupta in Adelaide later this week.

Froome stays in control after action-packed ninth stage

The defending champion, who was attacked by Fabio Aru just as he suffered a mechanical on the last climb, ended up third at the end of a 181-5km trek in the Jura mountains won by Colombian Rigoberto Uran ahead of France’s Warren Barguil.


Briton Froome had his rivals to thank, however, as none of them took turns in front while he was changing his bike in the lung-busting ascent to the Mont du Chat.

The scene was reminiscent of the 2010 Tour when Alberto Contador attacked Andy Schleck on the ascent to the Port de Bales when his rival’s chain snapped.

“I had a mechanical problem with my gears, I had to change bike,” said three-times champion Froome.

“I want to thank the other riders, who did not attack,” he added, saying he did not see Aru attacking past him as he raised his arm to ask for assistance.

“Richie (Porte) was quite instrumental in slowing that group down, saying this is not the time to attack the leader of the race, so thanks to Richie and I hope he makes a speedy recovery.”

Froome was already without team mate Geraint Thomas, who abandoned after crashing in the slippery descent of the Col de la Biche, one of three out-of-category ascents of the day.

In the final descent to Chambery, Australian Porte, regarded as Froome’s main challenger ahead of the three-week event, went off the road into a wall of rocks.

“He was conscious, it’s reassuring, he is being transferred to the hospital,” race doctor Florence Pommery said.


Last year’s runner-up Romain Bardet of France pedalled away in the final descent but was reined in by Froome, Uran, Barguil, Aru and his Astana team mate Jakob Fuglsang two km from the finish line.

“There will be other great battles to fight in the Pyrenees and the Alps,” Bardet said after taking fourth place.

Uran also had a mechanical and was forced to ride the final kilometres on a single gear.

“The difference between Rigo and the other riders I know is that he never loses his cool,” his Cannondale-Drapac team manager Jonathan Vaughters told reporters.

Overall, Froome leads Aru by 18 seconds and Bardet by 51 as two-times winner Contador, who crashed twice, cracked on the last climb and dropped out of contention.

Uran is fourth, 55 seconds off the pace while Astana look set to work as a double act from now on as Dane Fuglsang is fifth, 1:37 behind Froome.

Three-times podium finisher Nairo Quintana of Colombia also struggled, losing 1:15 to Froome and his group. He is now eighth overall, a massive 2:13 off the pace.

Monday is a rest day and the fight for the overall title is set to resume next Thursday with the first big Pyrenean stage.

In-form Porte, however, will not be contesting it after a high-speed crash ruined his chances, with the Australian taking down Ireland’s Dan Martin with him.

Quick-Step Floors’ Martin got back on his bike but crashed again before limiting the damage on the line. He is now sixth overall, 1:44 behind Froome.

French champion Arnaud Demare, who was targeting the green jersey for the points classification, missed the time cut, as well as the three FDJ team mates who were helping him, meaning the four are now out of the race.

Slovakian Juraj Sagan, Italian Matteo Trentin and Australian Mark Renshaw also finished outside the time limit.

(Editing by Ed Osmond)

Moeen spins England to first win under captain Root

Set an improbable target of 331 after England had lost their nine remaining second-innings wickets to be dismissed for 233, the touring side never came to terms with a spiteful pitch of uneven bounce and were bowled out for 119.


The win was England’s first against South Africa at Lord’s since 1960.

Root simply had to rotate his bowlers, although spinner Moeen Ali took the honours with figures of 6-53, giving him 10 wickets in a man-of-the-match performance that included an invaluable first-innings knock of 87.

“It was definitely the best all-round performance of my career,” Moeen said. “The pitch allowed me to attack their batsmen as much as I could.”

Moeen produced turn and bounce on a wicket that seldom favours fourth-innings run chases. Only three teams have won a test match by scoring more than 300 at the home of cricket, but the tourists must have felt they were in with a chance after dismissing England so cheaply by mid-afternoon.

The size of their task, however, became clear when Heino Kuhn (9) and captain Dean Elgar (1) both fell with the score on 12 to fine catches from keeper Jonny Bairstow and Moeen off his own bowling.

JP Duminy also departed cheaply and once Hashim Amla was trapped lbw by Liam Dawson, it was only a matter of time.

England had their share of luck when Quinton de Kock chopped the ball on to the stumps off his foot but they thoroughly deserved the win against a side who made too many mistakes in the field.

The final wicket fell when Morne Morkel heaved Dawson to Keaton Jennings on the boundary.

Earlier, England’s total was boosted by combative batting by Bairstow, who was dropped off a simple chance to Vernon Philander on seven before making 51, and tailender Mark Wood.

That pushed the lead past 300 as South Africa’s bowlers struggled to match their morning success when England, who resumed on 119-1, lost seven wickets.

Morkel claimed three victims and Keshav Maharaj four as England failed to force the pace. Alastair Cook top-scored with 69.

Root said he was delighted by his first victory in charge, which he owed much to the runs scored by England’s top three in difficult circumstances on Saturday night.

“It is nice to stand here having made all the right choices,” he said with a smile. “But the whole team played a big part in this win. Moeen made it very difficult for the batsmen to take him on.”

The second test in the four-match series starts on Friday in Nottingham with South Africa captain Faf du Plessis set to return. Fast bowler Kagiso Rabada, however, is suspended.

(Reporting by Neil Robinson, editing by Ed Osmond)

Membrey, Greenwood to face AFL scrutiny

St Kilda’s Tim Membrey and Collingwood’s Levi Greenwood are set to learn their fate from the AFL match review panel.


Saints forward Membrey is bound to come under scrutiny for his heavy bump on Richmond’s Dylan Grimes in their dominant win over the Tigers on Saturday night.

Grimes sat out the second half after Membrey collected him with an elbow to the head in a second-quarter marking contest.

Richmond captain Trent Cotchin was, meanwhile, reported for striking Jack Lonie to the midriff.

The incident is certain to be looked at when the MRP meet on Monday given the AFL’s crackdown on jumper-punches, although it’s likely Cotchin will escape with a fine.

The MRP will also closely scrutinise Greenwood’s bump on Zach Merrett during Collingwood’s loss to Essendon.

The Magpies midfielder floored Merrett with an elbow to the jaw behind the play in the third quarter.

The star youngster briefly went to the Essendon rooms but returned to finish with 25 disposals and two goals.

Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley defended Greenwood after the game, describing him as a hard but fair player.

“I’m not an MRP specialist but it didn’t look like there was any intent to catch him on the chin,” Buckley said.

“Levi was relatively distraught with the fact that he caught him on the chin, or that it slipped up and hit Merrett on the chin.”

Adelaide skipper Taylor Walker could cop a sanction for shoving Western Bulldogs defender Jason Johannisen into the goalposts in Friday night’s clash at Adelaide Oval.

West Coast veteran Drew Petrie could also be in strife for collecting Port Adelaide’s Matt White high in Sunday’s clash in Perth.

Blues have to question Morgan: Maloney

Michael Morgan better have done his homework, because the hard questions are coming.


NSW five-eighth James Maloney has promised as much when the Blues put the untested Queensland centre through a thorough examination in Wednesday’s State of Origin decider.

Morgan will make the first appearance of his eight-year career in the three-quarter line at Suncorp Stadium after the axing of Justin O’Neill after Origin ! and an injury to Darius Boyd in Origin II.

Morgan will hope to have studied the Blues’ entire playbook after Maloney vowed to quiz the North Queensland star on his defensive aptitude.

“I think you have to ask questions of guys that are in different positions,” Maloney said.

“He’s a good footballer. We’re not going to go out of our way to target one thing, but over the course of the game, I’m sure he’ll have some decisions to make.

“We’ll try and ask questions all across the park and see how they react.”

Maloney admitted Morgan’s previous experience off the bench and the Cowboys’ breakthrough grand final win in 2015 would equip him for the big-match pressure.

The same goes for Maroons rookie Cameron Munster at they key five-eighth spot, however, Blues playmaker Maloney insisted the duo would still be feeling the butterflies ahead of the match.

“Grand final is obviously a massive game as well and very similar – you get one shot every grand final. It’s similar with (an Origin) decider. You’ve only got one crack,” Maloney said.

“They’ve played in those big games so they’ll know what’s coming.

“It is a different arena and no doubt they’ll be nervous but they’ll still play well, I’m sure of that.

“It’s up to us to make sure we all play well and get the job done.”

After going through their second opposed run of their preparation against Gold Coast under-20s on Sunday, the Blues will have the day off before Tuesday’s captain’s run.

Monday still looms as deadline-day for skipper Boyd Cordner, who is still racing the clock to recover from a calf injury in time for the clash.