RAW: As Port Teeters, So Does Adelaide Oval. Here’s Why.

Students of the Adelaide Oval redevelopment proposal will recall that at its core is agreement between the SACA and the SANFL about jointly operating and managing the Adelaide Oval, redeveloped by the taxpayer.

As the SACA information booklet revealed, there has been no formal agreement between those parties other than a ‘term sheet to record in principle arrangements’ about the Adelaide Oval redevelopment signed in November 2009.

As much as SACA bent over backwards to accommodate the AFL and the SANFL for fear that the massive debts President Ian McLachlan and his board had run up in the $45m overspend on the new members’ grandstand would bring it down should no deal proceed, the SANFL was always more reluctant and circumspect about it all.

Its bottom line was simply that it would finish in no worse a position with the deal than before and that, one may recall, was predicated on control of the precinct and car parking revenue, a reality that only became apparent to geniuses at places like the Adelaide City Council when the actual legislation was introduced.

But a part of that also was the maintenance by the SANFL of its income stream from its two AFL licensees, Port and the Crows, from playing games at its ground – whether that be Football Park or Adelaide Oval redeveloped.

As the vitriol now spilling forth in every segment of the media attests, nothing has brought the Power to its knees more than the losses it has sustained from playing games at Football Park.

Well, it is now up to the AFL to bail Port out. Given its antipathy towards the SANFL over its stadium deals, there is no way any rescue package of whatever proposed duration will also accommodate the continuation of those usurious stadium terms.

It is also hard to imagine how it will not also involve the transfer of the licence.

Whatever, now the deal for Adelaide Oval will need to be a tripartite one of sporting entities – SACA, the SANFL and AFL or, as contemplated in our earlier article, the SACA, Crows and Port.

That will need to be negotiated and announced and any deal will mean a far less beneficial one for the SANFL than at present.

How the SMA gets restructured is also up for grabs. Presently the SMA constitution provides for four directors from each of the SACA and SANFL. Now the arrangements will require three parties to be represented.

With this scenario, the Government will also faces a major dilemma – will it be politically acceptable to spend $535m on a stadium that is owned and controlled at least in part by the Victorian based AFL. Rann went ‘all the way’ to the High Court against the Vics on water rights and we have squealed for years about losing our Grand Prix. And now we are going to pay for them to take over our only sporting stadium?

But will the SACA members’ Yes vote, based on a 50:50 joint venture with the SANFL in the SMA and use of the oval, also cover any arrangement with the AFL and / or where the SACA is no longer a 50% player? It shouldn’t but McLachlan and his SACA board will be so desperate no doubt they will countenance no dissent and pretend that nothing much has changed at all.

But with the returns from Adelaide Oval to the SANFL greatly reduced as a part of the ‘new deal’ that saves Port will they wish to be a part of it all? It took a lot of money and cajoling to get them as far as they did at the start of this month. Now that it is about to blow up in their faces, will they wish to back out and plough on with the Crows only at Football Park?

Kryztoff has long proposed that Port could play its games at Adelaide Oval as it is presently configured, starting this weekend, with the Government stumping up some gate guarantee to ensure the SACA and Port survive and the SANFL is compensated. This makes every party a winner, except of course the Government and The Advertiser and their cheer squad which never allowed any such alternative to be even discussed.

And while on The Advertiser, did anyone else note that they put out two ‘Final’ editions this morning with only one covering this story? Was the great Michelangelo Rucci blissfully unaware or was he totally unwilling to dump on his own club and was forced into it late in the night because it was being posted on The Age’s website.

Great work Ruc! You keep hammering away at Neil Craig and promoting Chad Cornes and let the interstate press tell us what is really going on in this town.

RAW: How The SANFL Is Also Being Stitched Up By The Adelaide Oval Deal

31st May 2011

That now near infamous telephone call placed by AFL Chief Andrew Demetriou with SACA President, Ian McLachlan, in August 2007 may well go down as the most pivotal moment in this State’s sport, if not ever, then certainly since the SANFL decided to split from its co-tenancy at the Adelaide Oval 40 years ago.

The invitation communicated at that time was to the SACA to get top flight football back to Adelaide Oval, an intended boon to its members and football followers across the State. Suspiciously, those discussions were held in secret for near on two years, with the SANFL, runners of the local competition and owners of both the Port and Crows franchises, excluded from the forum negotiating the future of football in South Australia.

For the AFL, at its core, were three main objectives. Ostensibly, at the top of the list was a desire to get football back into the centre of the city, thus dealing with the decline in the remaining useful life of Football Park and regenerating interest in football in this State, then starting its period of decline.

The second objective, only just now making its appearance on the public stage was to rid the SANFL of those AFL team licenses and have them return to AFL ownership.

There has long been AFL antipathy towards the SANFL over the management of those licenses. The oval management deal at Football Park, in particular, means that profits from games held there have been mostly creamed off by the SANFL itself with a view to using those funds to prop up the nine clubs (Glenelg, Sturt, Norwood etc) that own it. The great brag that the local SANFL competition was the second best in Australia (after the AFL itself) was built on the amount of money clubs had available to them to pay players.

But as Port crowds, in particular, started plummeting, the impact on the AFL competition was becoming obvious. Port games played at Football Park cost it an estimated $750,000 in 2010, causing the Power to enter a period of financial crisis and lose touch with the major clubs around the country in terms of spend, on and off the field.

With this history, this morning’s news that Port is broke and needs to be taken over is neither a surprise nor contrary to the plot.

By participating in the Adelaide Oval deal, cheered on by a desperate Port Adelaide, itself supported by the likes of Ian McLachlan himself and Treasurer, Kevin Foley, and The Advertiser (after its conversion about the oval on the road to Damascus after last year’s State election), the SANFL has now exposed itself and is caught out hopelessly in no man’s land.

Behind it is Football Park, admitted during the SACA members’ debate and in every corner since as clapped out and out of date. After the State Government withdrew its $100m promise of upgrade money in favour of the Adelaide Oval idea and FIFA and FFA made it plain it had no interest in that place, the SANFL ran out of options about how to bring that oval back up scratch, especially with both the Crows and especially Port, on the back of declining attendances, costing it money to support.

Before it is their interest in the SMA but its tenure on that is fragile. With no sign of any party being willing presently to put up the extra cash needed to fund the Adelaide redevelopment works when the costs blow out, they are left vulnerable, especially as the SMA is a company limited by guarantee meaning (amongst other things) the shareholdings have no value and profits generated by the SMA cannot be distributed out. (As pointed out previously, the SMA is no joint venture when it comes to ownership and profits between the SACA and the SANFL at all.)

To its flanks it has the prospects of the sale of Football Park and the present offer of the State Government to build one of its tram lines to its door, an offer that experts suggest will add around $100m to the lands’ value.

Thus, their problem. The AFL will contribute next to nothing to the Adelaide Oval project, firstly because of the poor negotiating position taken by Foley and Conlon and secondly because the AFL will do nothing to help the SANFL while it retains ownership of the Crows and Power licenses.

When the costs start to blow out, a government already in the deepest financial hole, will embrace the AFL’s new offer but it will be one predicated on the transfer of the Crows and Power licenses back to it.

If the SANFL does not play ball, then not only may the Adelaide Oval not happen (how then will it revive Football Park?) but the Government may also see fit to withdraw its commitment to the tram line, worth $100m to the value of its West Lakes land. How then also to finance the black hole at Alberton?

With the licenses gone, so too its raison detre for being involved in the move to Adelaide Oval at all. Further, the AFL will not stand for a repeat of the SANFL creaming off profits in management deals for catering, booze and the like as it has at Football Park. Hence, SACA’s stakeholders in the SMA will become representatives of the Crows and Port, then owned by the AFL and it will be they who control the profits (including the car park revenue) and not the SANFL.

With the AFL firmly in control of the Adelaide Oval, then the only decently sized stadium in the State, it can dictate which if any and profit handsomely from any fixtures contemplated in this State by the other football codes – rugby league or union or soccer.

And so these are the reasons why the club licence debate has suddenly been kicked off now, post the SACA members’ voter and before the legislation is approved by Parliament.

So at the end of this, the SANFL will likely be a wealthy football association running a tin pot local feeder league for the AFL clubs to poach from. Its status in the world of Australian football as a big player gone and its hubristic name, the South Australian National Football League, a bigger joke than it has been for very many years. The ultimate humiliation will be that forty years after securing its own future by establishing its own home, now it will no longer have one. Max Basheer must be grimacing watching all this and Don Brebner turning in his grave.

As for the end game, four years hence, well that leads back to the AFL’s third objective for wanting the SACA to embrace the AFL on Adelaide Oval and that is the advancement of its league as the national football code. If, upon returning major league football to Adelaide Oval, Port crowds don’t pick up as that silly South Australian Centre of Economic Studies report assumed (to an average of 30,000 per game – around double the last Port home crowd and 50% greater than its season average to date), then the AFL will simply move the franchise elsewhere – to Canberra, Darwin or perhaps, given Port’s suitable history, to Port Arthur, just south of Hobart.

This will give the AFL with little additional cost, the sort of national competition that the NRL and FFA can only dream about.

Of course at that point, Port Adelaide cheer leaders Michelangelo Rucci, Graham Cornes, KG and their ilk, along with Foley (long gone to Sydney) and McLachlan will realise they too have been duped. And  The Advertiser and Sunday Mail, faithful and superb supporters of the Adelaide Oval redevelopment, already with falling readership, will see that their last hold over the rank and file Port supporters as readers gone as well.

With Adelaide Oval ruined, a hideous footbridge leading to the door of the casino, Port playing in Darwin, the SANFL without much purpose in life and the SACA unable to afford playing its teams on what had been its home for 130 years, all those who sort a ‘game changer’ in town will have every cause to feel very pleased with themselves.

RAW: Is SA Broke Already? – The Mess That Is Super SA – Part I

With the Rann Government spruiking its development vision for the city, questions are being increasingly asked about the State’s ability to meet extra debt levels.

An examination of the State owned and managed South Australian Superannuation Scheme (SASS) suggests the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) has rained down upon us losses that rival those of the State Bank of the late 1980s / early 1990s, greatly impacting on the State’s ability to meet its future commitments.

In the 2008 and 2009 years, the SASS lost $2.42 billion. On top, the Motor Accident Commission lost $350m and the Super Triple S Scheme a further $270m, all up just over $3b. Students of the State Bank fiasco will recall its losses of around $3-4billion brought this state to its knees.

As at 30 June 2010, in the SASS, the excess of liabilities (future superannuation payments) over assets held (to meet those commitments) was $6.2 billion, up $2.3 billion or nearly 60% on the excess position at 30 June 2007, three years before.

That equates to about $4,000 for every man, woman and child in the State.

The situation is actually much worse than this as future liabilities are discounted back at 7%pa (4.5% over the CPI of 2.5%) when only the CPI adjustment is appropriate and necessary – there being no risk factor to adjust for.

The position is exacerbated by the fact that payments out now exceed contributions made by $300m per year or 50% and that is after a $350m injection by the State Government on account of past service liabilities (more on that in Part II) but out of step with commercially managed superannuation funds. Member entitlements also grow by $200m per year.

With the much reduced asset base now in SASS, the fund needs to produce annual returns of 7%pa just to break even, let alone deliver growth to members on their superannuation investments. Returns on net assets in 2010, a somewhat benign year in the financial markets, were a mere 4%, half of that from three years earlier, but nearly all of this can be attributed to an extra Government top up last year of $100m.

While the GFC may stand as the head line cause of these massive problems, the fact remains that for what should have been a conservatively managed fund with the pursuit of long term gains and income over capital gains, between 30 June 2007 and 30 June 2010, the fund lost 28% of its value (which includes income or dividends received) when the average of comparable funds was around 20%. (See further in Part III.)

The past Treasurer (Kevin Foley) and the new Treasurer (Jack Snelling) like to talk about GST revenue shortfalls as the reasons for their budgetary plight – these conveniently put the perceived blame for the problems out of their hands and on to consumers and the Federal Government – but compared with the superannuation mess which is directly and totally their responsibility, we are literally talking small change. The reality is such talk has been and remains just a smokescreen for these massive losses that hitherto nobody has much spoken about.

Just why as employees of the state you would entrust your super to an organisation that can do no better than provide 4% growth in a good year and which managed to lose 28% across two bad ones, more than the share markets did, is anybody’s guess. The TAB offers far better returns than that.

Just how this State can afford a new sports stadium and hospital with a total cost now understood to be $3 billion when this massive superannuation liability hangs over the state (and other equally good options for those projects are costed at 25% of this total) is unclear. Perhaps Mr Snelling will provide the answers in his budget on 9th June. If he does, it will be a first for any budget since the Labor Party won government in 2002, with the unfunded liability growing in every year bar two.

Perhaps also by then the ratings agencies, the ones you will remember who got so hopelessly wrong the credit worthiness of derivative property investments, can explain how this State can retain a triple A rating when losses like these have been incurred, so little is being done to deal with them and so much additional expense is slated that will produce little if any net benefit to the State.

RAW: The Adelaide Oval Legislation – More Than About Carparking

In the classic style of an organ of public opinion that will allow no views other than its own to prevail, The Advertiser has relegated issues relating to the proposed Adelaide Oval / SMA legislation to just one matter – who controls car parking.

As expected and predicted far more sinister aims actually exist.

First and foremost, the legislation proposes that the Adelaide Oval area be under the sole control of the Minister. This is the first break with the historic role the Adelaide City Council has played under the Parklands Act since it was first past 150 years ago. What’s more the Minister gets to act without fetter from such annoying constraints on his design wishes by either the Park Lands Act, the Development Act or the City of Adelaide Development Plan.

This may not be so bad, replacing one democratically elected body with another, except that what is then proposed is an 80 year lease to the SMA, a privately owned body of people associated with football and cricket which has no taxpayer representatives on it and has a board that is not even answerable to its own shareholders for its performance.

That means the SMA can do anything it likes to the land and it has to jump no planning or other regulatory hurdles – none – in doing so. So, when it suits, good bye the northern mound, scoreboard and Cathedral views. Indeed this is already contemplated with the legislation providing for the (temporary) erection of stands on the northern mounds – all amendable by the Government of the day.

Then, in its revenge attack on the City Council for its Victoria Square recalcitrance, the Government proposes this land is made exempt from being rated by the ACC. This deals with the potential issues previously identified by Kryztoff of the ACC lifting rates dramatically (as it was already intending to do in a couple of years) and multiplies the ACC’s losses on top of lost car parking.

So, the parklands bounded by King William Rd, Montefiore Hill, Pennington Terrace and the river under this legislation will be no longer parklands. Effective title will pass to an unaccountable private body that has to meet no planning or other regulations. And this right under Light’s nose!

In a low point for Advertiser editorials (and that is saying something), last Friday the rationale for supporting this was put forward as:

‘The Parklands are not a museum. They must also make temporary way for vehicle access for leisure activities. This already occurs for cricket and the Royal Show.
‘Surely Colonel Light’s vision for a workable city would not have meant that the Adelaide City Council, with a mandate delivered by only 6300 voters, should be allowed to override the modest needs of the football-going public, which would outnumber that figure by a factor of three even at the worst attended AFL game.’

The fact that this 3:1 ratio did not even hold up for the Port game the following day is of no great moment when one considers where this logic of course leads and that is to the uncomfortable question to The Advertiser of why 10,000 SACA members who purportedly voted in favour of the spending of $535m on their stadium are allowed to prevail when 1.2m taxpayers are the ones who are actually paying for it.

Sadly little logic is coming from those who ought to be standing up for the public interest. The Liberal Party still has no view and the Lord Mayor, as is the new habit of politicians in this State when faced with a monumental cock-up, has conveniently buggered off overseas for three weeks at the very time his Council faces the greatest threat to its autonomy and relevance in its history.

However, one trick up its sleeve is the fact its approval for the controversial leases to facilitate the new RAH is only conditional. These provide a series of nine year and 364 day leases to more parklands to allow the hospital development to proceed without parliamentary scrutiny.

Now the City Council has its cash flows and relevance threatened by the Adelaide Oval legislation, now might be a good time for the Council to show some spine and respond in kind to Government. Now is especially a good time with its main appeaser, Lord Mayor Yarwood happily out of contact in Europe on some study mission.

RAW: Film – Snowtown – 5K

A desperate and despicable home life sees young Jamie (Lucas Pittaway) seeking a role model that he can actually rely on. When John Bunting (Daniel Henshall) enters his mother’s (Elizabeth – Louise Harris) tired, hopeless world, it looks like that person may have finally arrived.

From there the seedy under life of Adelaide’s northern suburbs – nobodies, freaks, poofs and perverts whose existence is not much noted by any – comes in for a demonic smashing.

The Shaun Grant screenplay is superb, the Adam Arkapaw cinematography is flawless but notwithstanding, all the plaudits in the production team must be focused on director Justin Kurzel in this his first full length feature. His grasp of pace, scene and suspense is more usually associated with that of a Hollywood master director. Dealing with such fraught subject matter can lead to melodrama or an obsession with gore but his depictions of Bunting’s insatiable sadism and the mental destruction of Jamie are compelling, wholly believable and totally assured. One remains writhing in horror throughout but compelled to witness what may come next.

The interjections amongst the carnage of the real world by way of cricket, fishing and game shows blaring out from the TV prevent the audience from distancing themselves, to believing that this is a story of some other place, but not of my world.

For one with no prior acting experience, Lucas Pittaway’s Jamie is a sensation. His range of emotions is all class, his good looks a sure bet to gain our sympathy. Physically he may remind one of Heath ledger or even James Franco but this performance rivals Leonardo DiCaprio’s Oscar winning performance in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape.

At the end of the day, Daniel Henshall is no less impressive. The modern cinema embodiment of evil, abundantly plain but with a charismatic and manipulative character, Henshall delivers on not only the sadism but Bunting’s controlling nature and an assured ability to assess a situation. It would be a shame if his performance got lost in the hype (albeit well deserved) for Pittaway. Louise Harris also puts in a wonderful performance as Jamie’s mother.

This film has many overtones with last year’s hit, Animal Kingdom but it is no ‘me too’ film. It has already won a prize at the Adelaide Film Festival and recently a showing at Cannes. Its award winning chronology has only just begun.

This is an Australian cinema classic and while there is nothing uplifting about the story, it will leave you pondering what world we exactly live in when this can happen seemingly just up the road. The profound sadness for the victims, those dead and still alive, will stay with you long after you have left the cinema.

Krzytoff Rating   5K

See our interviews and profile of Lucas Pittaway at:  Meet Lucas Pittaway

See our video interview at: Pittaway Talks About Snowtown

See our interview with director Justin Kurzel on page 2 of this month’s Kryztoff at: Kryztoff\’s On-line Magazine

RAW: Time For Yarwood To Go

In the light of developments this morning on the State Government’s plans to blast the ACC off controlling the Adelaide Oval precinct (see our other article at ACC To Lose Precinct), it is time for Lord Mayor Stephen Yarwood to reconsider his position.

Hopefully Lord Mayor Stephen Yarwood (if he ever bothers to get up early enough to put the council’s view about anything that may run counter to the State Government’s) won’t feign surprise about what he and his council have now been told.

In response to very clear indications that this was always the Government’s game plan, and indeed ever since the Adelaide Oval matter started hotting up at the end of last year, Yarwood has run the line that the ACC is in negotiations with the Government and that it has communicated its concerns and issues (control of the precinct and car parking revenue) and these matters will be negotiated at the appropriate time. The message – it held all the keys to the gates of Adelaide Oval.

This was in the face of the SANFL stating categorically that its conditions precedent to any deal involved it having that control not the ACC.

At no stage did Yarwood attempt to get these issues debated in public and neither did he attempt to enjoin in the Vote No campaign to stir up public concerns and help bring that vote down. In that way, this type of pressure on the ACC could have been averted or better fought off with the SACA vote on its side. It seems he knew better and his cunning play of ‘slowly slowly catchy monkey’ would prove itself to be a master stroke in due course. Stephen Yarwood you are the Baldrick of the State.

The only city councillors who did raise a stink were Anne Moran on radio and TV very late in the piece, Mark Hamilton (in an article in The Advertiser that was written well before proxies closed but did not appear until after) and Deputy Lord Mayor David Plumridge. But when your chief is silent, there is not much you can do.

Well Lord Mayor, Stephen Yarwood, the following key points are now your reality (and they are much greater in importance than just car parking revenue):

  • The ACC is going to be blasted off the parklands as we foretold 7 weeks ago.
  • History has repeated itself – you don’t appease aggressors
  • The Victoria Park racecourse is going the same way
  • The Memorial Drive Tennis club is doomed.
  • Your policy of attempting to redefine relationships with the State Government is in shreds and it is now too late to do much about it.
  • Don’t expect The Advertiser or the Sunday Mail to support you if you do stand up for the Council (where were you this morning?) – everyone knows whose mast they have nailed their colours to. You too will now be another ‘whingeing naysayer.’ The sporting elite don’t give a toss about heritage. (But maybe Steve they will hail you as another voice of reason if you continue to be anonymous on this issue!)
  • You will go down as the Lord Mayor who sold out the Adelaide City Council and its history of being the custodians for the parklands because you thought you knew better.
  • Any thoughts you had about standing as the Labor Party candidate for the State seat of Adelaide, a la, Jane Lomax Smith and spending your post Mayoral years on North Terrace are gone. Especially as it seems the State Government will legislate for Barton Terrace to be opened to cater for traffic coming up from the Port – good bye all Noth Adelaide voters.)

You need to resign Stephen Yarwood and resign now and go back to town planning – perhaps in some ghost town like Silverton where you can hang out with other spirits of yesterday who thought they too were going to have the last laugh before harsh realities of the day set in.

RAW: Adelaide Oval et al To No Longer Be Under ACC Custodianship

As reported on Matt and Dave (ABC891 Breakfast) this morning, the State Government has told the ACC it is not interested in its concerns or issues about the Adelaide Oval leases and precinct. It is simply going to legislate to take control itself and hand it over to the SMA to manage, as per the SMA constitution.

The substance of a supposedly confidential meeting between Minister Conlon and the ACC was revealed by Rod Hook to Matt and Dave this morning. The sop to the ACC if it rolls over quietly is that it may get some extra money for its expensive Victoria Square redevelopment plans.

Councillor Anne Moran got on the phone saying it was ‘beyond outrageous’, noting that control and management of the parklands would now rest with football and not a ‘democratically elected’ entity such as the ACC (or even the State Government.) noting that the SANFL had been handed over ‘the council’s business’ without putting a cent in.

As the program then noted, this outcome and information to the Council was without the ACC having seen the enabling legislation (which Minister Conlon said last night was still being drafted – eben though it is due for submission to Parliament today) and the Minister stating a few weeks back there was ‘no plan’ to give the control of the precinct to the SMA ‘because it is not seen to be necessary.’

Surprised? Hopefully Lord Mayor Stephen Yarwood (if he ever bothers to get up early enough to put the council’s view about anything that may run counter to the State Government’s – see separate article at Time For Yarwood To Go) won’t feign that. Kryztoff revealed the reality of the State Government’s plans in early April (SA Govt Prepares To Blast Council off Parklands) and the scope of the SMA’s constitution on About The SMA. Did You Know? In any case, it was written in bold black type all over the SACA Information Booklet.

There were plenty of other clues as well including the SMA just ignoring request from the Adelaide Parklands Authority to meet with it to discuss its plans. Just why the ACC and its councillors thought they were going to be treated with more respect than anybody else so far beggars belief.

Anne Moran’s last hope for the Council she said was the Upper House that may vote this down. The Greens may be firmly against this proposal but no one else has had the balls to state a view like that. Under the threat of more withering attacks on opponents from The Advertiser et al it is not hard to see the independents at least now being bought off one by one.

RAW: Meet Lucas Pittaway Pt 2

He arrives 10 minutes late, but he has politely texted ahead. He steps in wearing a white t-shirt and grey jeans ripped open on one knee. That long straggly hair from the movie stills adorns his head but he is more diminutive than his film persona would suggest. But far from the morose, sullen, introspective character that he plays in Snowtown, Lucas Pittaway only knows how to light up a room. Smart, confident and assured, his deep brown eyes engage but the impish grin he features is the type Da Vinci has received 500 years of acclaim for. When he smiles, a fiesta of happiness radiates forth.

This time last year, Lucas, then 17, was considering a future as a mechanic in the army, as he roamed an Elizabeth shopping centre with his older brother Paul one Saturday afternoon. He had quit school just two months out from graduating because as he said ‘I had my licence and a job.’ That was as a pizza delivery boy – a real life Dougie if ever there was one.

As luck had it, it was Paul who first captured the attention of some casting agents on their last day out looking for suitable candidates for their film. A film about the horrors that went on just a few miles south on Main North Road in Salisbury but which will be forever remembered for the barrels full of decomposed body parts found in a disused bank vault at Snowtown in South Australia’s mid north.

Lucas was not there when they approached Paul; he was lurking elsewhere in a store when that happened but when he did appear it he also caught their eye and soon it was just him who was being groomed for a part. After three days of intense training and screen tests word came through, the investors liked what they had seen too and he had the role of Jamie Vlassakis – the lead role in a full length film – and this without a moment of prior actor’s training or experience. As Lucas recalled, his only previous theatrical performance was in a school play that never came to be.

Indeed it was not just Paul as a close associate who missed out to Lucas’ great fortune. His best mate, Ben, was down to the last two for one of the minor parts but his close connection with Pittaway was considered a potential issue when filming. So he too has only got to watch their mate on the screen and not play alongside him.

Given the notoriety of the crimes involved, playing the somewhat public Vlassakis figure threw up its challenges to both Pittaway and director Justin Kurzel. But Lucas is adamant this is no attempt to portray the real Vlassakis.

“What you see in Snowtown is not Lucas playing Lucas or Lucas Pittaway playing James Vlassakis but rather my depiction of Vlassakis”. With suppression orders, changes of identity and undisclosed locations, access to the real Vlassakis was not available, not that either Pittaway or director, Justin Kurzel, desired it.

The first time someone compared his looks to famous actors was when Lucas was working at Hungry Jacks. “I was serving this old lady and she said to me that I looked like Heath Ledger. I didn’t take much notice of it until I asked the other guys after and half of them immediately agreed. It had never occurred to me before.”

With different hair dos, Pittaway has also been compared to 127 Hours’ James Franco. “But I want to be clear, I am not doing this to imitate Ledger or anybody else, I am not looking to ride on the coattails of their looks. This is me out there.”

This is the only moment in our two hour chat and photo shoot that he gets at all defensive. Otherwise, the self proclaimed ‘modern man’, presents as one who is a natural in this sphere. His lateness came due to a visit to his girlfriend’s for some make-up.  Lucas possesses an instinctive feel for what a cameraman seeks; he fiddles with his shirt, his hair, his shoes as he prattles away for the ‘natural’ images.

But there is neither bemusement with his big break and his grasping of it nor conceit. He’s a kid enjoying the moment and being himself. For Tropfes, he tested the patience of distributors, Madman, by sleeping in after a big night which caused him to miss his plane. At the Adelaide Film Festival premiere, Kurzel had to upbraid him to wear some decent clothes but the moment he best remembers about that time in February was when the film ended. “It ended and all of a sudden you could hear a pin drop and there seemed to be this long silence. I thought, oh fuck they hate it. But then the applause rang out – we had made it,” Pittaway recalls.

It is just his world is different now or may be different now. Snowtown earned him enough to pay off some debts, buy some new clothes, pay for three months car rego (one of which was blown when he had his licence taken away for doing burnouts) and a few weeks off work.

Now he is off to Sydney for the premieres and then to Cannes for critics week. It is a long way from delivering pizzas in Elisabeth to the ideal of southern France.

In the dog eat dog world of the movies, how things pan out after Snowtown’s screen run is anybody’s guess and Lucas’. He has signed with RGM in Sydney, one of Australia’s foremost agencies and has already secured a role in a short film. But one thing does appears certain, Defence will not be seeing this young man fixing up their jeeps and tanks any time soon.

See our video interview with Lucas at: Lucas Pittaway Speaks With Kryztoff

See more images of Lucas and our interview with Snowtown director, Justin Kurzel in this month’s Kryztoff at: Kryztoff\’s On-line Magazine

RAW: Adelaide Oval – How We Are Going To Pay For The Folly Of The Elites

The sporting elites of Adelaide may well reflect on the prices now being paid for the Adelaide Oval redevelopment, all announced since the vote last Monday week. No doubt the list will grow:

  • Timber forests being sold off with 5,000 jobs in the South East threatened as processing goes off-shore.
  • Electricity bills in Cooper Pedy up 100% as tariff concessions get dropped.
  • Base water bills up 50% this coming year and another 50% next year.
  • New RAH now to cost at least $1b more up front with an ongoing tail payment of $360m a year just to open the doors
  • The Adelaide casino is stalling on its planned expansion, describing it as just one option. That may mean the footbridge to its door may not get built.
  • The Keith Hospital’s future now rests with donations.

All this on top of the shock surprise of a $600m shortfall in GST revenue over four years!

Closer to the hearts of the sporting elitists, we now know:

  • The great Michelangelo Rucci has confessed Adelaide Oval is not going to save the Crows and Power from going further backwards on and off the field
  • The romantic notion of wandering down after work on a Friday night to watch the football will be restricted to a mere two, may be three nights a year
  • AFL to contribute at most $5m – less than 1% of the current cost and around 0.3% of their $1.25b media rights deal – with games on Foxtel now to be shown against the gate.
  • And finally, the big doozer, this morning’s Advertiser confirms what we last wrote on the topic that ‘pre-season games [are] predicted before that year’s [2014] election.’ Students of the SACA Information Booklet will recall this being written ‘The State Government will grant to .. SACA .. to unrestrictedly and exclusively use Adelaide Oval for cricket during [its] season subject only to to the right of the State Government to stage international events.’ The Cricket season does not end until 15th March. The election is on March 14!

Still there are no seats to be lost in Mt Gambier or Cooper Pedy and the good news for the elites is that their excess water blls will only go up by 10%.

Next stop – the State budget.

RAW: Snowtown – Meet Lucas Pittaway – Pt 1 – Video Interview

Lucas Pittaway By Harry Pearce

Snowtown, the most acclaimed Australian movie of the year and perhaps of the millenium to date, opens next week.

Starring as Jamie Vlassakis, Lucas Pittaway recently spoke at length with Kryztoff in an exclusive interview. In this the first of a three part series entitled ‘Meet Lucas Pittaway’, Lucas speaks of how he got the part and his experiences from being involved.

The video is at: Lucas Pittaway Speaks With Kryztoff

See also Kryztoff’s preview interviews with both Lucas and Kristina Sedgwick, Director of the Adelaide Film Festival that premiered the film in February at Katrina Sedgwick and Lucas Pittaway Talk About Snowtown

From Thursday 12th May, see also our interview with Justin Kurzel, Snowtown director, in our monthly mag at: Kryztoff\’s May Edition