Sharks lose their bite

ON Sunday, North Albany were looking to build on the momentum gained last week when their first win of the season saw them beat Albany at Centennial Stadium.

The reigning premiers ran out of that match convincing winners by 105 points.

Heading into this round three game against Albany Sharks, North Albany were forced to make a number of changes; Dom Knight, Luke Cameron had both suffered injuries against the Magpies while Matt Orzel was rested.

This opened the door for the premiers to debut Taj Williams, Kohen Lemin, Angus McKercher and Tom Bigwood.

On a warm day and in front of a decent-sized crowd, North Albany made a strong start to the game hitting the scoreboard first.

It was then a hard-fought first quarter with both sides applying great pressure.

The visitors came out on top at the siren, to go in at the first change up 16 points, 4.6 (30) to 2.2 (14).

Sharks started the second quarter as they had finished the first – by kicking the first major when Shaquille Narrier slotted one through from a tight angle.

However, the Kangas found their aim and kicked six goals straight to two one and finished the term 10.6 (66) to 4.3 (27).

After the long break North Albany had much of the play and although they made the Sharks pay by adding another six goals they also added eight behinds. So possessive of the ball were the Kangas, that the Sharks were only able to add two behinds to their score.

It was damage limitations in the final quarter for the home side in the hope they didn’t suffer a third consecutive lost by 100 points or more.

This wasn’t to be as North Albany once again contained the ball allowing Sharks just one scoring shot – a goal, while adding another six goals six to win 5.5 (35) to 20.20 (140).

The match produced a long list of goal-scorers for the red and white side with 11 different names.

Jake Becroft was top with five followed by Corey Hitchcock with two. The former along with Grant Corcoran and Jack Mcphee featured in the winning side’s best.

For the home side, Shaquille Narrier kicked four of the team’s five goals with Michael Simpson getting the other.

Narrier took home the Best on Ground for Sharks with Fraser Eaton and James Eaton also stand-out performers.

In last Saturday’s games, Railways headed down to McLean Park to take on Denmark-Walpole.

After a poor first term, trailing by 25 points, they came away with a 49-point win, 19.12 (126) to 12.7 (79). Coen Marwick had a good day out with six goals.

Unbeaten sides Royals and Mt Barker faced off at Centennial Stadium with the Lions gaining the upper hand early and never really gave last year’s grand finalists a chance, winning 8.14 (62) to 4.3 (27). Samuel Baddeley-Holmes was the only multiple goal-scorer of the match, kicking four.

This weekend’s matches will be highlighted by the grand final rematch between North Albany and Mt Barker at Collingwood Park on Sunday.

There will be two Saturday games.

Denmark-Walpole will be looking to cause an upset when they host Royals, and Railways will take on Albany at Tigerland.

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Kangas take Pies


IN a hard-fought game, North Albany showed why they’re the reigning premiers, booting five unanswered last quarter goals to claim a 38-point victory over Denmark-Walpole.

Before the first bounce both teams lined up in the centre of Collingwood Park to pay their respects to Denmark-Walpole life member Phil Middleton who passed away earlier in the week.

As the game got under way and both sides applied immense pressure they both struggled to gain the advantage over the other, but Denmark-Walpole kicked the first six pointer of the game.

This would start a fairly quick succession of goals at either end as the first quarter ended.

Trailing by just one goal at the start of the second quarter the Magpies withstood some early pressure to kick the first two goals and take a narrow lead.

North Albany had plenty of the ball and chances but inaccuracy would see them trail by four points as the half-time siren sounded.

As they had done all day Denmark-Walpole kept the pressure on the home side in the third quarter despite being out-scored, 3.2 to 2.1.

This pressure would see the side go into the third quarter break just three points down.

The main message at the last change from coach Craig Drew was just two words “work rate”.

The players would respond, kicking eight goals, seven to just two behinds to register their first win of the season, 13.16 (94) – 8.8 (56).

Last year’s grand final Best on Ground Jack Mcphee showed he hadn’t lost any form over the off-season by allowing key Magpie Shayne Zanetti to have minimal effect on the game.

Goalscorers Luke Chambers and Nicholas Barrow along with Matthew Orzel were the other top performers for the Kangas.

Jak Phillips was the Best on Ground for the visitors along with Tyler Stone who kicked three goals.

Former Railways’ player Paris Ropiha kicked two to also be in the Magpies best.

In Saturday’s game at Sounness Park, Mt Barker showed they mean business this season with a 172 point win over Albany, 30.24 (204) – 5.2 (32).

Kym Monteath was the leading goal-kicker with 11 goals and Daniel Parker booted nine.

Royals played their first home game at Centennial Stadium against Railways on Sunday. The Lions had a big 10-goal second-half and came away with a 45-point win, 14.13 (97) – 8.4 (52). Royals’ player Taylor Powell kicked three majors.

Round three will see the two undefeated sides – Royals and Mt Barker – face off at Centennial Stadium and Denmark-Walpole will host Railways on Saturday.

On Sunda the Albany vs North Albany derby at Centennial Stadium will be played.

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Harbour masters


VISITING swimmer Nicola Fraschini overcame choppy conditions at Princess Royal Harbour on Saturday to claim individual honours in the Albany Masters Harbour Swim.

Fraschini crossed the line in 49mins 26 secs in the 4km race from Princess Royal Sailing Club to the Anzac Peace Park.

He said the water temperature of around 19 degrees was not as cold as he was expecting and the south-easterly wind direction assisted in crossing the harbour, although it pushed most swimmers slightly off-course towards the end of the race.

Fraschini has international swimming experience, having swam in his home country of Italy and later in South Korea.

He gave the sport away for 10 years before returning to the water last year.

The 35-year-old was in Albany in January for the Swimming WA Open Water Series at Middleton Beach, where he won the men’s open 2.5km event.

After recovering from the race he had planned to spend some time in Denmark with his wife before returning to Perth.

Rebecca Weller was the first female swimmer out of the water, winning the 18-24 years category and crossed the line second overall in a time of 51mins 59 secs, just over two minutes behind Fraschini.

The pair collected $300 prize money and a medal for their efforts.

Paul Blackbeard, swimming in the 55-59 age bracket, placed third overall with a time of 52 mins 23 seconds.

In other categories, Snappers won the team race in 1 hour 4mins, ahead of The Strokes in 1 hour 12mins, while Lex Robertson won the wetsuit division in 54 mins 50 seconds.

Despite the cool overcast conditions and the increasing south-easterly wind, the event maintained its popularity this year with local and visiting open-water swimmers.

Albany Surf Life Saving and Albany Sea Rescue Squad assisted with the event.

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Games have run course

THE WA State Masters Games (WASMG) are looking to end with organisers choosing to wind up the entity due to a lack of interest.

The competitive sporting event for seniors has been held in Albany every two years since its inception in 1990, but has dwindled steadily over the past few events with only three sports taking part.

The committee tried to hold its annual general meeting on April 11 but was unable to reach the quorum of seven members.

It then held a general meeting and passed a resolution that the WASMG Inc be wound up under Department of Commerce guidelines at a future extraordinary meeting.

The entity has no debts and will seek to disperse its remaining funds and property to the three remaining sports involved being the Albany Athletics Club, Albany Rowing Club and the Gomm Park Croquet Club.

WASMG representative Carey Dickason said she was sad to see the games go, but the current committee could only do so much.

“When you’re battling to get a committee together, it gives you an indication that there’s a lack of interest,” she said.

“There has been no in-fighting or anything like that.

“The support from the volunteers has been wonderful.

“We are all just a bit battle-weary.”

The games were introduced to provide sporting opportunities for veteran athletes and competition was typically held

in the off-peak winter months so the influx of visitors could be accommodated.

There were 786 registered participants across 22 sports in the first games held in May, 1990 with sports ranging from lawn bowls to weight lifting.

Albany MLA Peter Watson competed in the games and had fond memories of racing in the 1500m.

“It is disappointing that the games have come to an end. I know for a long period of time the volunteers have been working very hard to keep it going,” he said.

“It’s a lot harder to attract the sorts of numbers to town now than it was 10 years ago.”

“There’s just so much more on offer now, not just locally, but state-wide and even nationally.”

Ms Dickason said external funding had dried up in later years, making it more difficult to gain interest in the event.

“The department (of Sport and Recreation) were right behind it, and it was well supported by the City of Albany,” she said.

“But it’s not just a problem with funding. There is just a general lack of interest.”

Department of Sport and Recreation regional manager Great Southern Chris Thompson said while it was sad to see the games fold, he was pleased with the participation rate for seniors in sport locally.

“It’s always sad to see these things come to an end. Hats off to the volunteers who enabled it to run as long as it has,” he said.

“We’ve still got a healthy population of older athletes. You only need to walk through Albany Leisure and Aquatic Centre on any given day to see the number of programs there are.

“There is probably a need for structured sport for veterans to evolve.

“Like any product, it’s cyclical.”

The WASMG Inc will hold its extraordinary meeting on April 26 to vote on the resolution to voluntarily cancel the association’s incorporation and disperse its remaining funds and property.

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Melville maul Albany Bayswater


LAST Saturday Albany Bayswater City Soccer Club met Perth side, Melville City, in the Football Federation Australia (FFA) Cup.

The FFA Cup is Australia’s main national knockout tournament and features all teams from the A-League as well as from the country’s lower leagues.

Bayswater started strong and initially had Melville, who underestimated their opponents, on the back foot. Bayswater’s strong defence, led by Blake Fruett, held time and again as Melville attackers hit a wall of blue and black shirted players standing between them and the net.

Coupled with a strong wind which Bayswater used to their advantage they focused on keeping the ball low to the ground.

Both teams created numerous goal scoring opportunities until Melville’s Christian Long scored the opening goal on the 45th minute with the final kick of the first half. As the second half kicked off, it was obvious that the fitness  level of state league team Melville was going to be their advantage.

A handball on the goaline in the 60th minute led to Bayswater’s Kwa Si Say being shown the red card leaving his team with just ten men.

Bayswater  coach Ces Lyness considered this incident to be the “turning point of the match.”

Melville’s further six goals were scored after the send-off, reflecting on the ability of Bayswater to hold their defence up until that point.

These included three penalties which Bayswater goalkeeper Duan Ruffo was unable to save, despite having performed solidly for the preceding part of the game. “The boys battled through the first half to score that first goal,” Melville City coach Gavin Brown  said.

“But at the end of the day it was their fitness that won them the game. This will be a good confidence booster going into the season ahead.”

Perth referee Shane Skinner adjudicated the game while Phil Lockyer and James Knowlson acted as assistant referees. The final score was Albany Bayswater 0-7 Melville City.

Albany Bayswater Soccer Club: yellow cards: Blake Fruet 57’, Ali Jafari 84’. Red cards: Kwa Si Say 60’. Melville City Football Club. Goals: Christian Long 45’, Simon El Chami 61’,74’ 90’, Alastair Campbell 85’, Charlie Bush 68’ 82’. Yellow cards: Adam Mangion 27’, Tre Gaffney 20’.

In Perth at Woodvale’s  Timberlane Reserve,  Albany Rovers took on Woodvale Football Club, also an amateur premier league team.

After 30 minutes Scott Phipps scored a 30-metre scorcher for Rovers. The Albany team managed to hold off the home team until the 40th minute, when the first of four goals in quick succession ended the first half 4-1.

After the break, Woodvale stepped up a gear, hammering the visitors 10-1.

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Albany’s young record breaker

TWELVE-year-old swimmer Tom Gawned returned from the South Australian state championships this week with some extra luggage for the flight home.

Gawned competed in Adelaide to help qualify for the national championships in April and returned with a bag of 11 medals to add to his growing collection.

He won nine gold, one silver and one bronze from 14 events in an astonishing display of swimming that included the 200m and 400m individual medleys.

The Great Southern Grammar student spent much of the school holidays smashing WA country and state age records including the 50m backstroke that had stood for 25 years.

Upon returning to Albany just in time for the start of the school year, Gawned said he was looking forward to competing at the national championships and hoped he could swim at the Olympics “one day”.

He began swimming competitively when he was eight years old and has built up a demanding training regime with eight separate sessions six days per week.

Gawned said Kyle Chalmers was one of his main idols because of his gold medal performance at the Rio Olympics at such a young age.

With his naturally athletic build and size 11 boot, Gawned is already showing the hallmark signs of a champion swimmer.

He joins Caitlin Williams from the Albany Swim Club in qualifying for the national championships in Brisbane.

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Motorplex shifts up a gear


A LOCAL motorsports and driver training entrepreneur said people should not have to wait much longer for an Albany motorplex as plans are well advanced.

Kim Ledger said he paid $35,000 for an option to buy a 470 acre (190ha) property opposite the chip mill in Down Road and had progressed two possible options for developing it as a motorplex.

“The property should vest eventually with the City of Albany,” he said.

“The property then would be leased on a peppercorn rental basis for a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee.

“That’s also provided that it’s developed under the guidelines of the Department of Sport and Recreation and in-line with peak Australian sporting body regulations.”

Mr Ledger said this future company, which would be owned by various motor sporting bodies, would manage and develop the facility.

The shareholders in the company would therefore be groups or clubs representing 10 or 15 different sports.

Should this not be possible, Mr Ledger said he had a second business plan whereby private enterprise would own and run the motorplex.

He envisaged four or five people buying the property jointly and contributing up to $25 million over five years to develop it.

This would almost certainly lead to higher costs for the groups using the facility, which would be passed on to spectators and participants.

“We have to show how we can make return for those people over that period,” he said.

“The cost would have to be higher than what it is if we don’t have to capitalise the land into it.”

The WA Nationals and Labor parties have each promised to provide $6 million towards a motorplex if either of them win government at the March 11 State Election.

Mr Ledger said this money could be given to the City of Albany, which could re-imburse him for his deposit, pay the $950,000 asking price to purchase the land and commence development.

Under his preferred model it should start generating an income within 12 months, which would then fund further development.

“Once the initial grants go in it should not cost anybody any money,” he said.

He envisaged the motorplex would eventually be a home to mountain biking, a 4WD training and rally car track, a drag strip and possible future speedway and go-kart circuits.

It would also include a 3km multi-use track.

“Our intention is to try to build a circuit which is FIA Level 2 approved that’s 12 to 16 metres wide for motorcars and cycles,” he said.

“In the middle of that we will have drifting roads – it’s a different class of motor sport which is a very popular and growing form of motorsport.

“We’ll also have a criterion pushbike track. Currently there isn’t one in Western Australia.”

Mr Ledger chose the Down Road block three years ago because it had all the characteristics needed for a variety of motorsports.

“It’s well serviced by Down Road which will become a main trucking track road,” he said.

“And it’s tree-lined on two sides so you can’t actually see it from the road but when you get through that you can look across this beautiful property.”

He said the property was bordered by Down Road west and Down Road.

“The Down Road West side is one of the highest points of the property and it’s at that end that we would probably have our driving centre and administration,” he said.

Mr Ledger said he had been involved in WA motorsport for 45 years and had a passion for driver training.

This had led his company to develop MC Motorsports, a multi-use facility at Perth airport that allowed driver training for trucks, cars, motorcycles, forklift, first aid and defensive driver training.

“We were the only quality-assured driving centre in the southern hemisphere.”

“It was also a low-level motorsport facility. MC Motorsport became the place for getting young people or old revheads off the road and into a low-level safe environment to compete with whatever car they have,” he said.

The RAC bought the facility seven or eight years ago. Mr Ledger is also instrumental in bringing the Racewars event to Albany in March which will use the Albany runway’s 1.8km surface as a drag strip.

He said this would show Albany people the potential that a quality motorsport event had to stimulate tourism

“That’s potentially going to bring 5,000 people in. It’s certainly booked everything out in Albany,” he said.

“People will go anywhere to try and find somewhere that’s safety-surveyed, run to a control, and running in a competitive yet safe situation.”


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