Stage set for WAFL clash

THERE will be some familiar Great Southern faces floating around for Claremont next Saturday when the Tigers take on South Fremantle for the West Australian Football League’s commemorative match at Centennial Stadium.

Claremont head coach Darren Harris visited the venue last week and said there would be a strong contingent of former Great Southern players making the trip down.

“A few of our Great Southern players have really come along,” Mr Harris said.

“Bailey Bennett is doing really well and playing really well; Matty Palfrey is due to come off suspension and will play soon.”

Following an inspection of the facilities and playing surface at Centennial Stadium, Harris said he was impressed with the ground.

“You just look at the surface and it’s fantastic,” he said.

“You must be very proud of the facility you have down here.

“It’ll be great to see a big crowd out here watching a great game of WAFL.”

The Tigers will head into the match with a mixed bag of results following an opening round loss and last weekend’s slender four-point victory over East Fremantle, 83-79.

South Fremantle got their season off to a good start, beating West Perth 96-88.

“We’re taking steps in the right direction, but our first game left us a bit disappointed,” Harris said.

“We’ve been working really hard ahead of our Albany game to make our efforts more consistent.”

As a nod to the relationship with the Great Southern Football League as a catchment zone for budding WAFL players, the Tigers will run clinics during their visit.

“We want to do some community work before the game, so the clinics will be great for every kid to get along to,” he said.

Mr Harris said he hoped his club would be able to return more frequently to the region.

“We’ve had a long history down here, so to come down and bring the Albany boys is a great way to give back the community,” he said.

“It’s my understanding that there are plans in motion between the WAFL and the City to make this an annual event for the club.”

Game day proceedings start at 9am on April 28, with kick-off for the main match at 2.40pm.

Tickets will be available at the gate.

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Vikings master the art of mateship

ALBANY Vikings Masters Sporting Club was recognised for its commitment to mental health and sport earlier this year when it was awarded the WA Masters Club of the Year Award.

While the obligatory plaque hasn’t quite made its way through the post, club president Sean Maguire said the club was honoured to receive the award.

“It’s an amazing achievement for us,” he said.

“We’ve grown the club from something that used to have three or four blokes turning up to training, to 25.

“It’s amazing to see what we’ve made available to the community.”

Club secretary Ian Neil said the growth of the club hasn’t been centered primarily on the football club, but also on the development of basketball and netball teams, with soccer and cricket teams soon to follow.

“The focus of the club is fitness and fellowship,” he said.

“It’s about mental health wellness, community development and getting players to come down and get fit and make friends, for both men and women.”

With the core principle of raising mental health awareness for players and in the community, vice president Dave Larchet said the club was also family-orientated.

“It’s not just about coming down and playing footy, it’s bringing your family with you,” he said.

“We quite often get the young blokes come down with their dads on training night to have a run and kick a ball.

“The wives come down for game days to help out.

“Everyone gets involved.”

With the season open for the Vikings football side on April 21 against the Dalyellup Dinosaurs, Maguire said the club would love for people to come and get involved.

“We’ll be playing at the North Albany Football Club. It’s going to be a really good match,” he said.

“We’re not just looking for people to come play; we’re also looking for people to come and watch.”

To join any of the Albany Vikings Sporting Club’s teams, contact them via their Facebook page.

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Heroes hit the beach

YOUNG people with autism will get the chance to feel the rush of what it’s like to surf when they spend the day at Ocean Beach this Sunday with Perth-based charity Ocean Heroes.

The group was started by keen surfers Luke Hallam and Sam Moyle two years ago and aims to enhance the lives of people on the autism spectrum through involvement in surfing.

Sunday’s event is their second trip to Denmark and they are optimistic of building on last year’s effort.

“It was a great day, but we just really didn’t have the numbers that we would have liked,” Mr Moyle said.

“I’m hoping that this year there will be more people registering since everyone had such a great time last year.

“Word of mouth spreads the message very quickly that we’re coming, so I’ve got my fingers crossed.”

Mr Moyle said Ocean Heroes was equipped to cater for a wide range of abilities.

“We get people of all sorts of abilities ranging from speaking to non-speaking as well as high and low mobility,” he said.

“Every participant is different and we make sure they all have lots of fun.”

An average session with the Ocean Heroes involves kids learning how to use a surfboard, catch a wave and eventually surf.

“We’ve got these big boards that the kids learn how to stand up on that we do on the sand,” he said.

“Every kid gets a wetsuit and a life jacket that we bring and they get to have an experience that not everyone gets.”

Sunday’s free event starts at 9am at Ocean Beach and registrations can be made via email at info@oceanheroes.com.au.

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Green light for WAFL game

CENTENNIAL Stadium passed with flying colours when it came under the microscope last week ahead of the West Australian Football League’s clash between Claremont and South Fremantle on April 28.

WAFL Governance and Compliance Manager Luke Sanders spent last Thursday morning inspecting the stadium and its facilities with City of Albany staff and club representatives and said the match would go ahead as scheduled.

He said they spent a lot of time inspecting the turf to check it met WAFL standards.

“We check the hardness of the turf with a Clegg tester to make sure it’s all uniform in firmness,” he said.

“The turf can’t be too hard or too soft since we need to protect the players from injury.

“Albany doesn’t have an issue with the turf being too hard due to its high annual rainfall.

“I’m still waiting for the official test report, but the game will continue regardless.

Mr Sanders said he was impressed with the standard of the facilities.

“The playing surfaces, change rooms, coach boxes, spectator areas and bar facilities are all of a high standard,” he said.

He confirmed the City of Albany had dipped into its own pocket to host the match without WAFL grants for assistance.

“For them to host and cover costs is great for regional football and for the community,” he said.

The April 28 encounter between the Tigers and Bulldogs will only feature the league sides, but Claremont club members will be in Albany in the days leading up to the match to conduct a football masterclass.

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Railways semi-favourites

RAILWAYS will head into Saturday’s Albany Cricket Association A-grade semi-final clash with Manypeaks as clear favourites following a dominating display with the ball on the weekend that saw them roll North County for just 83 runs.

The Tigers’ win brought a premature end to North County’s season, as the Bulldogs’ hopes of progressing into the finals hinged on defeating Railways and Denmark beating Collingwood Park.

In Saturday’s match, North County needed the recent form of veteran Craig Tonkin to continue if they were to pose a threat, but when he was dismissed for two runs and Michael Ferreira for six from the bowling of Mitchell Thomson, County’s heads were in their hands.

Fortunately, there were two more Ferreiras to offer resistance, with Matthew combining with his father Neil to rebuild the innings.

The pair took the total to 2-64, before Railways skipper Zane Marwick took control with the ball and started a collapse that saw County lose eight wickets for 18 runs.

Marwick claimed three wickets to get his eye in before the finals, but fell short with the bat when he was bowled for just seven as the Tigers began their brief chase of County’s 83-run total.

The Tigers are persisting with Tim Edmunds at the top of the order with his ability to slowly wear the shine off the new ball.

He fell just short of double figures, contributing nine runs before Nathan Crudeli and Matt Walters got the job done.

The pair each played patiently to see out the run chase, but punished anything that was off target from North County’s bowlers.

Crudeli brought up the winning runs on his way to 39 not out, while Walters looked solid, notching up 21 not out.

Manypeaks will no doubt be quick to shrug off their last-ball loss to Mount Barker on the weekend and refocus on a plan to conquer Railways’ batting depth and bowling attack.

They would have fancied their chances after dismissing the Bulls for 157 in Saturday’s match, with a four-wicket effort from Harry Broomhall the highlight from the spread of bowlers.

In their response to Mt Barker’s total, the loss of cheap wickets was offset by several key partnerships which kept Manypeaks in the game.

A 36-run stand from evergreen veteran Jeremy Stewart got them within striking distance of the Bulls’ total, but a calamitous fall of wickets, including one from the final delivery of the day, left them one run short at 9-156.

Despite underdog status in Saturday’s semi-final with Railways, Manypeaks at least got a preview of the pressure they need to absorb if they are to threaten Railways.

In the remaining A-grade match, Nathan Dovey and his bat blasted Collingwood Park into fourth place on the ladder and an unlikely finals berth, considering their slow start to the season.

Dovey made 67 as Park chased down Denmark’s respectable 212-run total, that was could have fallen short had it not been for 69 runs from Michael Pratt, batting at number seven.

Park will play Mt Barker in their semi-final and will need to get on top of the Bulls batting line-up early.

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Bruton brings magic

ALBANY’S young and aspiring basketball players will have the opportunity to participate in a potentially life-changing clinic next month, with National Basketball League Hall of Famer and former Perth Wildcats coach Cal Bruton making the trip to Albany.

PCYC’s Ice Breakers facilitator Craig Golding said he met the ‘Black Pearl’ when he was playing against the Joondalup City Wolves years ago. “I played against him a few years ago and he absolutely killed me,” he said jokingly.

“He’s a great bloke though. He wants to reach remote places to spread his message.

“A lot of A-grade Albany Basketball Association coaches all got behind the idea to bring him down; we’ve already had a fair few people sign up too.”

One of the NBL’s first imports to play in the Brisbane Bullets in 1979, Bruton played and coached prolifically across five teams as well as representing Australia at the 1986 FIBA World Champion- ship in Spain.

The clinics won’t just be about the “Five fundamentals” basketballers should learn though; players will learn the many lessons in life Bruton learnt through basketball.

“Most kids are looking for some- thing to hang their hat on and learn skills to get them through life,” Bruton said, in a highly antici- pated exclusive interview with The Weekender.

“It’s really important to me to have a great work ethic, and to back that up with a great skill set.

“So when you can pass on a posi- tive message to the youth, inspire them to do better and make a difference, you can only imagine what the world will be like.”

While learning the fundamentals of basketball such as passing and how to handle the ball Bruton-style, he said he will also use acronyms to give youth the tools to be better people.

“I use B.R.U.T.O.N. a lot, which means be kind to others, respect your elders, use your manners, trust in God, own your mistakes and never give up,” he said.

Bruton spends his time taking his “travelling salesman” routine to disadvantaged kids in country Australia.

“I had a bit of a rough childhood, so for me sport was a way to be successful and to make myself a better person,” he said.

“When my mum passed away she left me a letter telling me to continue putting sunshine into other people’s lives, and that’s what I’m trying to do.”

For more information on the Bruton Fundamental Clinic this is open to 8-16 year olds, contact Craig Golding on icebreakers.albany@ wapcyc.com.au.

Photo: Courtesy Cal Bruton

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Second shot at gold

SEVENTEEN-year-old Sophie McDonald will make the trip to Launceston, Tasmania for a second tilt at the Under 18s Australian Hockey Championships next month.

Sophie was part of the Under 18s team last year that won bronze, but repeating the same performance isn’t on the cards.

“This year we’re striving for the gold,” she said.

“There are seven girls from last year’s team that have made it for the 2018 championships, so we know how to play off each other better than before.”

In preparation of the big competition in just over five weeks’ time, Sophie makes the trip to Perth twice a week to train with her team.

“Mum and Dad take turns driving me up to Perth for training,” she said.

“During the week I train with the team, then on weekends we do fitness training to get us to peak performance.

“I only miss out on half a day of school a week, which is really good in comparison to last year.”

Katanning’s Lewis Barritt will also make the trip to Launceston to play in the U18 men’s team.

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Roller derby on track

IT HAS taken more than two months, but Albany Roller Derby League’s The Track will officially open its doors to its new home on Saturday.

League President Natalie Jarvis said the opening of The Track and introducing Albany to roller derby has had its challenges.

“We started with the idea to find our own venue after it was getting increasingly harder to find a place for us to practice and have matches,” she said.

“We aren’t a sport that has been around for years and has heaps of supporters. It’s been tough.”

Ms Jarvis said The Track will be available for community and sport groups to hire out for games and functions.

“Since we’re in an industrial area there’s not really sound issues, so we’re more than happy to hire out The Track for people to use,” she said.

“People can run classes here, start gym groups and hire it out for bands and corporate functions. It’s open for use.”

With the help of a Gofundme page, Ms Jarvis and the league have been able to raise more than $4,000 to put towards the finishing touches of their skating venue.

“We’d still love some more funding. Every cent helps us get The Track up and running,” she said.

“Our Gofundme page will be open for a few more days if people want to donate money.

“We’ll be accepting donations on the Open Day, and people will be able to buy our merchandise as well.”

Celebrations at the brand new track on Roundhay Road in Gledhow will start with an official ribbon cutting ceremony at 4pm.

“We’ll have a roller disco, roller hockey games and heaps of food and drinks to buy,” Ms Jarvis said.

“Then at 7pm we’ll have our first rec league game for people to watch between the Storm Fronts and Cold Snaps.”

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Helping hand for Wittenoom Cup winner

WITTENOOM Cup winner Noel Sewell has dedicated his unexpected win in the weekend’s golf tournament to his wife of 56 years, Gwen.

The 79-year-old said he had no expectation to win the cup when he entered.

“I thought I would maybe get the best gross; I’ve done that before at previous events,” he said.

“But I never thought for a second that I’d actually win the thing. I pulled it out of the bag.”

With more than 50 years spent on the golf course, Sewell said there was one underlying factor in his many championship wins.

“My wife Gwen has been my biggest supporter. We’ve been married for 56 years and she always supports me playing,” he said.

“I have to dedicate my win to her. I wouldn’t have done it without her never-ending support.”

Albany Golf Club’s Ian Redmond said the former Tambellup player’s performance was a significant event for both the club and for Sewell.

“Noel finished with 144 after his seven handicap, which is a big achievement,” he said.

“His gross was 75 and there’s not a lot of players around that can say that they won an event by shooting their age.”

Veteran player Kim Sounness came in a close second at 144 after Sewell’s strong performance during Sunday’s competition.

The ladies competition saw Walpole’s Hes Anderson with a 147 to win the cup, while Katanning’s Tracey Keown came a close second with 148 and Denmark’s Maria Amesz with 149 and third.

Redmond said the next big event for Albany Golf Club will be on the March long weekend.

“We’re taking registrations for the Albany Classic on March 3 and 4,” he said.

“It’s always a big event and it will be good to see returning players from other clubs.”

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Top field at tournament

TENNIS players from across the state converged on Emu Point Sporting Club over the weekend to compete in the Albany Community Bank Open Tournament.

With more than 100 competitors from Perth, Merredin and the Great Southern attending the tournament, the weekend proved to be a competitive one in all divisions.

Emu Point Tennis Club captain Richard Piggott said the Open attracted a high calibre of players.

“We had the best field of entries seen in Albany for the past few years,” he said.

“The standard of play was exceptionally high, and was very enjoyable to watch.”

Piggott said the atmosphere at the club during the two-day event was great for the competition.

“Everyone was in the right spirit during the weekend,” he said.

“It was two perfect days of tennis.”

Saturday saw the women battling it out in the doubles, with sisters Alexandra Pugh-Riggall and Clare King reigning victorious in A-grade against Albany’s Abbi Gibson and veteran Jenny Rickerby.

Men’s A-grade saw a four-way battle with first-time team Michael Offerman and Vincent Brochard taking the win from Les Bairstow and Ross Truscott.

Last year’s men’s A-grade runner-ups Aaron Crofts and Nathan Watson were unable to push past their four-times runner-up position.

Gibson wasn’t done with the competition when she teamed up with Offerman on Sunday in the mixed doubles.

Brother-sister combo Maddi and Aaron Crofts weren’t able to overcome the dual effort of Gibson and Offerman.

Next up on the tennis competition calendar for the Great Southern is the Junior Round Robin Singles Tournament in Kendenup on February 18.

Entries are now open for the 16-and-under event, and details are on the Lower Great Southern Tennis Association’s Facebook page.

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