Next level hockey clinic

ALBANY hockey fans will have a chance to train with some of the country’s top talent later this month when the Activ8 Hockey clinic sets up shop for a day in Centennial Park.

The six-hour intensive hockey session will be split up into three two-hour blocks and allow participants of various ages to develop their skills and receive immediate feedback.

Hockeyroos midfielder Georgia Wilson set up the program earlier this year as a unique training opportunity “for the players, by the players”.

“A lot of coaching services have coaches who are really knowledgeable but they aren’t currently playing at the international level,” she told the Weekender.

Ms Wilson said the idea for Activ8 Hockey came to her after reconstructive knee surgery kept her off the field for 14 months and gave her time to develop her coaching skills.

The 2019 Pro-League Silver medallist added a two-month stint coaching hockey in the Pilbara region exposed her to the need for player-led training avenues in regional areas.

English Import and 2018 Melville Toyota Premiership gold medallist Benjamin Wright and 2016 Rio Olympian and Commonwealth Games gold medallist Jane Claxton will likely join Ms Wilson for the Albany clinic.

Ms Wilson said she expected around 60 to 80 participants for each training block and encouraged those with an interest to come along.

The Activ8 Hockey clinic will take place on Sunday, September 22 at the Lower Great Southern Hockey Association on Barker Road. Prospective participants can contact for more information.

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Albany Primary wins Eagles Cup

JUNIOR footy stars representing schools across Albany and Denmark clashed on the fields at Centennial Park’s eastern precinct on Tuesday as part of this year’s Eagles Cup Grand Finals.

The multi-term comp has been running annually for 25 years and encourages participation from mostly Year 5 and 6 students from nine schools in the region.

The Grand Finals clash saw dominant division one team Albany Primary School take the gold against St Joseph’s College 11.7 (73) to 4.4 (28), while Mount Lockyer Primary School beat Little Grove Primary School 7.8 (50) to 5.1 (31).

Division two had Yakamia charge to a 27-point victory over their Flinders Park counterparts 9.7 (61) to 5.4 (34) and Great Southern Grammar defeat Denmark, whose Year 6 players were away at camp, 9.18 (72) to no score.

Spencer Park Primary School Deputy Principal Carl Luscombe, who helped coordinate the tournament, said its emphasis was on enjoying competition and developing skills for all ability levels.

“It has been very successful at introducing students to football who have never played traditional weekend footy,” he said.

“Over the past few years, the participation of girls in the competition has markedly increased.”

Mr Luscombe added this year’s run of interschool matches, which kicked off on May 21, had seen the greatest improvements in the teams from St Joseph’s and Yakamia.

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Kangas bounced out

ROYALS are straight through to the 2019 Great Southern Football League Grand Final while the golden era of North Albany was slammed shut by a rampaging Mt Barker at Sounness Park on Sunday.

With driving rain and strong winds, both teams struggled to adapt in the first quarter with Mt Barker going into the first break only a goal up.

But in the second term, the rain held off and the Bulls used the wide flanks to set up play and create the loose man before bombing it forward with the chief beneficiary being Dionne Woods.

The league’s leading goalkicker was too clever in the conditions, even soccering a goal from 5m out as he constantly evaded opponents.

Mt Barker booted five for the quarter to lead at the main break by 29 points.

North Albany came out fired up in the third term and drew within a couple of goals to set up what looked like a thrilling final quarter.

But the Bulls steadied, then piled on four goals to one to win 13.6 (84) to 7.7 (49).

Woods finished with five majors to arguably be the difference between the teams while Tyson Sujdovic and Jesse Wynne kicked three each.

Nic Chidgzey, Lee Pav- lovich, Peter Taylor and Mitch Ballard were instrumental in the victory in what was an overall team effort.

For the Kangas, Joel Coyne and Jacob Hobbs were the only multiple goalscorers with two each, with Nicholas Barrow, Hamish Bigwood, Mitchell Lenegan and Matt Orzel performing admirably.

North Albany have won the past five flags and were aiming to match Royals’ golden run of six successive premierships from 1999-2004.

The Bulls now go onto meet Railways this Sunday at Tigerland after Royals recorded their 13th consecutive victory, winning 12.9 (81) to the Tigers 7.5 (47).

The Lions leapt out of the blocks early, kicking four goals to one in the opening term and were never headed.

After spending the early part of the season in the wilderness, enigmatic big man Taylor Powell has rediscovered his footballing mojo, being the leading goalscorer on the ground with four majors.

Jayson ‘Cyril’ Ford booted three goals before having to leave the ground with a broken nose after a heavy tackle, leaving coach Andrew Ruck seething.

Hamish McMorran becomes more of an imposing figure with every game, Poch Amores is already a star and Jordan Heil continued his impressive season.

For Railways, Logan Stubber kicked two goals while Kenton Gibbs, Shane Braimbridge and Craig Frost were best players.

In the reserves, it was a repeat of the league results with Royals beat- ing Railways by 35 points to advance to the Grand Final, while Mt Barker ended North Albany’s season in a four-point thriller.

In the colts, Railways smashed Royals by 71 points to earn a grand final berth, and Denmark- Walpole kept their season alive beating Albany Sharks by 14 points.

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Winning gymnasts

ALBANY PCYC Gymnastics Club’s first stint at the big league competitions in Perth in July and August has paid off, with its young competitors taking home top prizes at two state events.

Head Coach Michelle Headley said 2019 marked the first time the club had branched out and competed against gymnastic clubs on a national level in Perth.

“We’ve done really well, we’re really impressed,” she told the Weekender.

“We knew we had some girls that were talented and that we would be competitive even though we lacked the big facilities compared to the Perth groups.”

Albany PCYC’s level three girls Keira Armstrong, Amelia Fish and Ruby Welsh came out on top at a team-only event, winning gold and achieving the highest score overall.

Ms Headley said the historic feat was made more meaningful by the fact the centre’s team was comprised of only three competitors, the minimum required to take part.

“We had the minimum number against other clubs that had groups of 10 to 15, therefore forming two and three groups, and we still beat them,” she said.

“We were pretty happy with that.”

The success continued at a second competition earlier this month when Ruby and Keira claimed gold again in the all-around division and competitors Sienna Hotker and Amelia Fish earned silver and bronze respectively.

The level four girls also enjoyed high wins with Jessica Turner and Rachel Turner claiming first and second place in their all-around division.

Eight-year-old Ruby said she felt “good” and “happy” about her performances in Perth.

“I like being strong and fit and I’ve got great coaches,” she said.

Ruby’s mother Jenni Welsh added she was very proud of her daughter, who trains at the centre three times a week and wants to be a gymnast when she grows up.

“It was a brand new thing, we’ve never competed up there before, so we really didn’t know what to expect,” she said.

“We were just so excited and very proud of her and all the girls who have worked so hard for it.

“It was just a really nice reward that they have all chased so well.”

Ruby and a number of the other girls will compete again at a regional gymnastics competition in Katanning in September, before they return to Perth for the state championships the following month.

“We’re hoping to achieve similar results,” Ms Headley said.

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Ninety years strong

FOR Albany table tennis players Dulcie Davis and Teresa Greeve, age is hardly a showstopper.

The two women recently celebrated their induction into the ranks of Australian nonagenarians with a special get-together at Albany Table Tennis Club.

“I enjoy playing games at the club but I also enjoy the company of everyone,” Ms Davis said.

“It’s just amazing, it’s just so wonderful to see everyone there. Even though they’re not as old as I am, some of the players have diseases like Parkinson’s and still play quite good table tennis.”

Ms Davis spent 61 years of her life living on a farm in Borden, and in that time participated in other sports like hockey, golf and a bit of netball.

She decided to move to Albany after losing her husband 11 years ago and said she has since been “so active” that she “hasn’t had time to think”.

“I like to be active. I swim on Monday with a group, Tuesday I play bridge, Wednesday I play croquet and Friday I play table tennis,” she said.

“We have lots of fun.”

While Ms Davis joined the table tennis club in 2013, Ms Greeve first started playing back in 2011.

Both were born in 1929, little more than two months apart.

Club President and Coach Peter Muller described the duo as “very popular” at the club, adding they still played “quite a good game”.

Mr Muller has been co-ordinating the group’s Friday social matches and Tuesday senior club since he resurrected it in 1994.

“We get about 50 to 60 people there on a Friday morning … they’re mostly in their 60s, 70s and 80s,” he said.

“They benefit greatly because it keeps them active and it keeps their reflexes up and it’s also a big social thing.”

According to Mr Muller, the social match side of the club had grown significantly since 2000 with more than 120 members regularly attending last year.

“It’s amazing what Peter does there, it’s really good company and good fun,” Ms Davis said.

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Horse breeder into finals

ALBANY woman Stephanie Mitchell has a one in two chance of taking home one of the country’s most prestigious horse breeding awards.

The current Horse Operations Manager at Mungrup Stud was named as a finalist in the Dedication to Breeding category of the 2019 Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff Awards (GSSSA).

Ms Mitchell, who was nominated in secret by her boss Ann Croucher, said it was both a total shock and an honour to be recognised.

“I got a call that I was a finalist at the end of July and I was completely blown away, I was quite teary actually,” she said.

“There were over 20 nominations in my category and the fact I’ve made it as one of two finalists is phenomenal.”

Ms Mitchell took her first step into the industry when she began working at the stud south-east of Narrikup straight out of high school a decade ago.

Her list of responsibilities has grown considerably since then and she now finds herself in charge of everything from the breeding season to weening.

“My main job is during the stud season which is from now until December, organising all of the wet work, mating, pregnancy tests and helping with the foals,” she said.

“I’m really passionate about horses, working with them and all the different facets of their personalities and I’m really passionate about the breeding industry and how to move it forward and improve it for every- body from the breeding to the racing.”

Ms Mitchell said she credited her successes to the support she received from her “amazing team” at the stud, describing them as more of a “family” than friends or work colleagues.

“I’m very thankful, I absolutely love them all and couldn’t do anything without them,” she said.

Winners of each category will be announced at a ceremony in Randwick on September 6.

If Ms Mitchell takes the Dedication to Breeding category she will receive $10,000 for herself, $3000 for Mungrup and a trophy.

Chairman of the Awards’ judging panel Johan Petzer said these awards marked the GSSSA’s fifth year running and was a great opportunity for participants.

“It rewards the talent, dedication and commitment of those in our vibrant racing and breeding industry,” he said.

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Ninja course sneaks into Albany

AN ALBANY ‘ninja’ began construction on a real-life ninja obstacle course rivalling the one from television show Australian Ninja Warrior this week and plans to open the doors to the adventure centre in mid-November.

Sam Goodall, known as the tradie ninja from Australian Ninja Warrior, has combined forces with nature playground builder James McLean to create Unhinge the Ninja, a business venture that will form part of a broader vision, Albany Indoor Adventures.

The pair recently signed a lease to occupy a vacant building on the corner of Sanford Road and Albany Highway, and plan to have things up and running before the Christmas school holidays.

“We’re really energised about getting kids off screens and getting body exercise, not thumb exercise,” Mr McLean said.

“I approached Sam after I saw him on Australian Ninja Warrior and we’re working together to create a nature ninja workout studio with an edgy, urban twist.”

Mr McLean remained tight-lipped about what else was planned for the centre but told the Weekender there would be a variety of full-size obstacles, a warped wall and a rock-climbing setup, amongst other activities.

The entire indoor adventure centre will be suitable for all ages and host classes, workshops and monthly competitions.

“I’ll be training here for the next season of Australian Ninja Warrior,” Mr Goodall revealed.

“So, it will all be proper full-scale as well as a great place for families to come and do something together – there will be an intermediate and an advanced course so anyone can give it a go.”

Mr McLean said a massive undercover carpark would allow lots of people to visit the adventure centre, that birthday parties would be able to be hosted at the centre, and that the centre would likely trade six days a week, Tuesday to Sunday.

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Team celebrates 50 years

THE North Albany Football and Sporting Club will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the team’s 1969 premiership this weekend.

Events kick off on Friday at the football club at 5pm with a pre-celebration get together.

The next day, North Albany take on Mt Barker and from 11am the group will meet, followed by a sit-down lunch from 12- 1.30pm.

There will be many other events throughout the day including a premiership photo auction and game day presentations.

The team had many famous names that will be in attendance.

Gordon Collis, who coached the club on the day, won football’s highest individual accolade in the nation when he was awarded the Brownlow Medal in 1964 with 27 votes.

Collis played 95 games for Carlton between 1961-67 kicking 40 goals.

He will be travelling to the event from Geelong.

Other players in the successful team that went on to forge renowned careers included Graham Wellington (East Perth), Darryl Adams (Perth), Ron Boucher, Paul Fyfe and Lenny Edwards (all Swan Districts) and Les Coyne who played in several premierships for the Kangas.

Boucher played 193 games for Swans, was a premiership player in 1982 and 1983, made the state team in 1980 and 1982, won the Fairest and Best in 1982 and was selected in the Swan Districts Team of the Century.

On the day in 1969, North Albany dominated play but in one of the lowest scoring grand finals on record, only ran out winners 5.7 (37) to North Barker 3.5 (23).

The mercurially-talented Stan Loo was best-on-ground and chaired off.

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Royals celebrate two milestones

ROYALS saluted two of their favourite sons on a milestone day for the club when they smashed the Albany Sharks by 112 points in round 12 at Centennial Stadium on Sunday.

Life member Mitch Curnow broke the record for the number of games played for the club, since records were kept, as he ran out for his 237th game whilst Dave Parker gets automatic life membership as he played his 150th.

And the Lions were clearly hell-bent on celebrating the day as they leapt out of the blocks to lead at quarter time 7.8 (50) to no score.

The Sharks finally hit the scoreboard kicking three goals in the second term but it was still 23 scoring shots to four at the major break with Royals leading by 64 points.

The third term was a quieter affair with the Lions kicking three goals to one before Royals finished off the day in grand style booting seven goals in the final stanza to win 22.17 (149) to 6.1 (37).

Stephen Beal, Corey Ward and Steven Edwards all kicked four goals while Parker was among the best along with Micky McGlade and Tom Maslen.

For the Sharks, Coen Marwick, Jack Banks and Fraser Eaton battled against the odds.

On Saturday, a potential danger game for Railways, playing away to an in-form Mt Barker, was settled in a dominant second half as they won 16.12 (108) to 6.9 (45).

The Tigers kicked away early, leading by 21 points at the first break before Mt Barker came back, with only 14 points separating the teams at half-time.

That’s when Railways slipped into gear kicking six goals to one in the third term, and then four goals to one in the final quarter to win by 10 goals.

Zak Hortin slotted five majors while Craig Frost, Logan Stubber and Kenton Gibbs played well.

For Mt Barker, Jesse Wynne, Devin Cooper and the incredibly-consistent Sam Lehmann were best.

The final game of the round saw North Albany jump out to an early lead against Denmark-Walpole and hold that lead throughout the game to win 14.11 (95) to 8.9 (57).

The Kangas set the tone early, kicking six goals to one before going to sleep in the second and third terms.

But they kicked four goals in the final quarter to win easily with Jyrin Woods booting four and best players being Matt Orzel, Jacob Hobbs and Braden Retallack.

For the Magpies, Tyler Stone was dominant being best on ground and kicking four goals while Alec Haskins, Jared Lane and Lee Gropp tried hard.

Next week, Denmark-Walpole host Mt Barker on Saturday, then on Sunday Albany Sharks play North Albany at Centennial Stadium while in the game of the year thus far, top two teams Railways and Royals clash at Tigerland.

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Half marathon a trial run

RUNNING enthusiasts will have yet another reason to don their sneakers later this year when the inaugural Denmark Half Marathon kicks off at Lights Beach.

The September 22 event is being put together by the Denmark Running Club with support from the Shire of Denmark and will offer 21.2km, 10km and 2km distance trails for all ages and abilities.

Denmark Running Club President Rebecca Gleeson said while the official route of the marathon is yet to be confirmed, it will take participants through parts of the Munda Biddi and Wilderness Ocean Walk (WOW) trails.

“The WOW trail is a very hilly, twisty course and runners will benefit from the challenge of tackling it in such a spectacular location,” she said.

“We’re hoping participants from far and wide can come and enjoy these beautiful trails … it’s an opportunity for runners in the region to try some-thing a little bit different.”

Ms Gleeson said the event would complement rather than compete with the well-established Elleker Half Marathon, which celebrated its 24th year running in June.

She said the idea to organise an event out of Denmark was informed by a recent survey of the Denmark Running Club’s members.

“We just decided, based on that survey, that we’d organise one big event that our members could aspire to,” Ms Gleeson said.

“This is very much the trial run, pardon the pun. I think there’s such an appetite for different runnning events these days.”

The Denmark Half Marathon will take place more than a month after the Perth Half Marathon and a few weeks before the Perth Running Festival on October 6.

According to Ms Gleeson, the best way to prepare is to just “start running”.

“We run training four times a week and anyone is welcome to join. It’s a very non-competitive, really friendly and supportive club,” she said of the Denmark Running Club.

“It’s a matter of just incrementally building on your distance so that by the time the race comes you’re ready for it.”

Anyone interested in joining the group or signing up for the half marathon can visit or the run’s Eventbrite page.

Ms Gleeson said people with questions can contact her on 0412 802 608.

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