Hannant starts Bronco exodus

North Queensland have moved swiftly to ensure their engine room remains among the best in the NRL by pouncing on off-contract Brisbane forward Ben Hannant.

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Former Test and Queensland Origin prop Hannant has signed a one-year deal with the Cowboys in a move that could see him the first of three Broncos big guns to leave Red Hill this month.

With expectations firming that new coach Wayne Bennett will bring Darius Boyd back with him to Brisbane, Josh Hoffman is poised to sign elsewhere and Ben Barba is also weighing up his options.

The Broncos, who are overloaded with fullbacks, have little salary cap room to spare and offloading Barba, as well as Hoffman, would help address a lack of balance in their squad.

Bennett has told Hoffman, overlooked by New Zealand selectors on Tuesday, he is free to negotiate with rival clubs despite being contracted for 2015 on a deal that is half of what he may command elsewhere.

Speculation is mounting that Barba, who will have to give up the No.6 jersey for ex-Raider Anthony Milford, may also depart as he’s reportedly being shopped around by the Broncos.

The club’s awkward salary cap restraints ultimately saw Hannant, used as a bench player under Anthony Griffin, take a bigger offer at the Cowboys following interest from both Melbourne and Manly.

The 29-year-old’s move stiffens North Queensland’s top-class pack – featuring fellow international props Matt Scott and James Tamou – after they lost the Sims brothers, Tariq (Newcastle) and Ashton (Warrington).

“I’m really looking forward to the opportunities that playing with the Cowboys will present,” Hannant said.

“They have a high-calibre roster looking to take the next step and it’s going to be great to be able to train and play with the likes of JT (Johnathan Thurston) and Matt Scott who I know really well from Origin.”

With 192 NRL games of experience, plus 12 Origin matches and six Tests, Hannant is justifiably seen as a significant asset by the Cowboys.

“He’s a great signing for the club,” said rising Kiwis back-rower Jason Taumalolo. “He’ll bring a lot of experience like Ashton did to our pack.

“He’ll help with our engine room going forward.”

Tagged the next Sonny Bill Williams, Taumalolo on Tuesday did his best to distance himself from such expectations that he’s been forced to endure since 16.

“It puts a lot of pressure on you,” the 21-year-old said in Townsville. “That (tag) is the last thing I would want.”

NFL’s Seahawks rusty but overcome Redskins

Russell Wilson rushed for a career-high 122 yards on 11 carries as the Seattle Seahawks survived their “neutral zone infractions”, holds, false starts and other miscues in a 27-17 win over the Washington Redskins on Monday night.

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The win extends Seattle’s tradition of dominance in prime time while handing Washington another deflating moment under the lights.

Wilson also completed 18 of 24 passes for 201 yards with two touchdowns for the Seahawks (3-1), who displayed an uncharacteristic lack of crispness coming off their bye. Seattle committed 13 penalties for 90 yards, including a holding, false start and unsportsmanlike conduct calls that wiped out three potential touchdowns by Percy Harvin.

How bad was the Seahawks’ penalty bug? It wasn’t until a 4-yard run by Alfred Morris with three minutes left in the first half that the Redskins’ total yards (47) passed Seattle’s penalty yards (45) for good.

Marshawn Lynch ran for 72 yards on 17 carries and didn’t enter the game until the Seahawks’ second series. He stood on the sideline, helmet on, during the first drive, and the team did not make an in-game announcement regarding any sort of injury to its leading rusher.

Seattle improved to an NFL-best 21-8 on Monday nights, including nine wins in a row. The team is also 11-1 in prime time under coach Pete Carroll.

The Redskins punted eight times, and two deep passes to DeSean Jackson accounted for 137 of the offense’s 307 total yards. Jackson beat Kam Chancellor for a 60-yard touchdown catch that cut Seattle’s lead to 17-7 late in the first half, and his 57-yard reception set up a field goal that made it 17-10 early in the third quarter. Jackson finished with five catches for 157 yards.

Kirk Cousins completed 21 of 36 passes for 283 yards and dropped to 1-6 in his career as a Redskins starter. Robert Griffin III missed a third consecutive game with a dislocated left ankle, but he made a cameo appearance before the game, wearing a skin-tight white shirt and pink sleeve on his left arm as he threw passes to Jordan Reed – who is also injured – on the sideline.

Rio rejects Glencore merger idea

Glencore’s hopes of striking a deal to become the world’s largest miner remain just that, after an approach was rebuffed by Rio Tinto.

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The world’s second largest miner, Rio quickly responded to reports it was being courted by Anglo-Swiss Glencore by saying publicly that it was not interested.

Glencore is now expected to seek support from Rio shareholders, with press reports suggesting it had already reached out to Rio’s largest shareholder Chinalco.

The Chinese aluminium giant has a near 13 per cent stake in Rio, while global investors BlackRock hold more than eight per cent.

Rio said its board unanimously concluded that a tie-up with Glencore was not in the best interests of its shareholders, after consulting with financial and legal advisers.

The approach was made in July and rejected by August, according to Rio.

Its confirmation of merger interest boosted its shares, which gained $2.48, or 4.3 per cent, to $60.07.

Market views on the merits of a merger, which is estimated to be worth $US160 billion and would create the world’s largest miner, were mixed.

The theoretical advantages include the opportunity to pool each company’s strengths: Rio Tinto in iron ore and Glencore in coal and marketing.

However there are doubts about the value of a merger to Rio, and the risk of its shareholders being short-changed given the current weakness in Rio’s share price due to falling iron ore prices.

“I can’t see it myself, it looks like it would be diluting high quality Rio assets with second-tier Glencore assets,” Morningstar analyst Mark Taylor said.

“I don’t think it is the sort of diversification Rio wants.

“If they were coming with really meaningful high quality copper assets it might have legs, but Rio have got a lot of those anyway.”

Glencore may also make a hostile bid, although there are doubts it has the financial clout.

CMC Markets chief market strategist Michael McCarthy said hostile takeovers were far more expensive, and the current weak commodity environment would likely discourage such a move.

But there is strong pressure on Rio’s board to get the best for its shareholders, he said, given a recent history of poor deals, including the $US38 billion Alcan aluminium takeover while prices were at a peak.

“They need to make sure the next major deal they do goes very well,” Mr McCarthy said.

Fat Prophets analyst David Lennox said Rio would be a good fit in a merger, creating considerable synergy savings, and with a strong balance sheet and lack of debt.

MASSIVE MINERS THAT MULLED A MERGER

RIO TINTO

* Produces aluminium, copper, energy and iron ore

* Operates in more than 40 countries

* Listed and headquartered in Australia and UK

GLENCORE

* Produces and sells metals and minerals, energy and agricultural products

* Operates in more than 50 countries

* Headquartered in Switzerland and listed in London, Hong Kong and Johannesburg

Nationals and Cardinals win in MLB

The Washington Nationals stayed alive in the Major League Baseball playoffs with a 4-1 victory over the San Francisco Giants on Monday.

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Doug Fister pitched seven scoreless innings for the Nationals, who built the best record in the National League in the regular season, but were on the brink of elimination after dropping the first two games of this best-of-five Divisional series at home in Washington.

Now they’re 2-1 up in the series, with the winner to take on either St. Louis or the Los Angeles Dodgers for the National League title and a World Series berth.

After the Cardinals and Dodgers split their first two games in Los Angeles, St. Louis triumphed 3-1 at home on Monday to move within one win of advancing.

In San Francisco, the Nationals bounced back after blowing a lead in the ninth inning on the way to a devastating 18-inning defeat in game two on Saturday.

Giants starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner gave up six hits and struck out six over seven innings – and his key defensive error helped the Nationals score the first two runs of the contest.

His errant throw to third base on Wilson Ramos’ seventh-inning sacrifice bunt enabled two runs to score.

Washington’s Asdrubal Cabrera then came to the plate, and his single scored Ramos to give the Nats a 3-0 lead.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Bumgarner’s decision to throw to third, rather than making the safer throw for an out at first, was regrettable, and so was the poor throw that was out of third baseman Pablo Sandoval’s reach and ended up in foul territory.

“He tried to do a little too much there on that bunt,” Bochy said.

“He pitched great. That was not a good decision. I’m sure he wishes he could have it back.”

San Francisco saw their post-season winning streak end at 10 games – a run dating back to the 2012 National League Championship Series.

But they’ll get another chance to wrap up the series at home on Tuesday.

In St. Louis, second baseman Kolten Wong belted a two-run home run in the seventh inning to lift the Cardinals.

Catcher Yadier Molina had greeted Dodgers relief pitcher Scott Elbert with a leadoff double down the left-field line and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt.

The first pitch of the next at-bat proved to be the difference, as Wong crushed Elbert’s slider.

“I just wanted to make sure I hit something in the air,” Wong said, “something deep enough where we could score Yadi.”

The ball landed in the Cardinals bullpen, whose relievers pitched the final two innings to finish the job started by stellar starter John Lackey.

Lackey, the only starting pitcher to win two World Series clinching games with two different teams, struck out eight over seven innings and allowed just one run on five hits.

Matt Carpenter hit his third home run of the series for the Cardinals, who will try to wrap up the series on Tuesday.

Clocks make workers less creative

I love the phrase “It’s 5 o’clock somewhere.

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” For most people, the saying conjures up an image of an over-eager happy-hour partaker, but it’s always made me think of someone, somewhere, leaving their office after a hard day’s work. The length of the workday, for many workers, is defined by time; they leave when the clock tells them they’re done.

These days, the time is everywhere: not just on clocks or watches, but on phones, computers, stamped on every email. And that may be a bad thing, particularly at work. New research shows that clock-based work schedules hinder morale and creativity.

Clock-timers organise their day by blocks of minutes and hours; task-timers have a list of things they want the accomplish.

The research of Tamar Avnet and Anne-Laure Sellier focuses on the differences between organising one’s time by “clock time” vs. “task time.” Clock-timers organise their day by blocks of minutes and hours. For example: a meeting from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m., research from 10 a.m. to noon, etc. On the other hand, task-timers have a list of things they want the accomplish. They work down the list, each task starts when the previous task is completed. The researchers say that all of us employ a mix of both these types of planning.

They wanted to know, what are the effects of thinking about time in these different ways? Does one make us more productive? Better at the tasks at hand? Happier? In their experiments, they had participants organise different activities—from project planning, holiday shopping, to yoga—by time or to-do list to measure how they performed under “clock time” vs “task time.” They found clock timers to be more efficient but less happy because they felt little control over their lives. Task timers are happier and more creative, but less productive. They tend to savor the moment when something good is happening, and seize opportunities that come up.

The researchers argue that task-based organising tends to be undervalued and under-supported in business culture. Smart companies, they believe, will try to bake more task-based planning into their strategies: for example, looking for long-term profits rather than just something impressive for a quarterly earnings report.

This might be a small change to the way we view work and the office, but the researchers argue that it challenges a pervasive characteristic of the economy: work organised by clock time. While most people will still probably need, and be to some extent, clock-timers—task-based timing should be used when performing a job that requires more creativity. It’ll make those tasks easier, and the task-doers will be happier.

If you’re interested to hear more about this research, check out this TED talk by Sellier:

 

This article was originally published on The Atlantic. Click here to view the original. © All rights reserved. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency.