Lions enjoy purrrfect season

ROYALS dominated the 2019 Great Southern Women’s Football League season claiming the premiership against Railways at Centennial Stadium on Friday night and remaining unbeaten throughout the year.

The Lions jumped out of the box with coach Claire Hard booting the first goal of the game.

The game then tightened up in front of a huge crowd and at half-time Royals went in 1.4 (10) whilst keeping the Tigers scoreless.

Kylie Douglas nailed a major after the long break and Royals turned for home 18 points up.

The Tigers had some scoring opportunities in the final term but couldn’t kick straight and Royals took out the game 2.6 (18) to Railways 0.3 (3).

The Lions’ Renae Parsons was awarded best-on-ground honours and she was ably supported by Abby Duncan, Tahlia Scott and Leah Field.

As victorious coach, Hard was ecstatic after guiding last year’s team to the grand final winning every game except the premiership.

“So to go one better this year was absolutely brilliant,” she said.

“We really have an amazing group of players.

“What is special is the range of ages, from 15-year-olds to 39-year-olds, all playing the game they love together.”

Hard said the GSWFL was continuing to grow with both increased numbers, participation and crowds and the skill level had improved dramatically.

She has already signed up to coach in 2020 and hoped the season would be extended to beyond six rounds and finals.

Following the women’s grand final, Albany Sharks hosted North Albany and the first quarter was an enthralling contest with Kangas holding the slimmest of leads 3.2 (20) to 3.1 (19).

But North kicked eight of the next nine goals to run away convincing winners 11.14 (80) to 4.6 (30).

Denmark-Walpole and Mt Barker clashed at Sounness Park with the home team taking the points in an entertaining game.

Mt Barker finished 14.13 (97), with Dionne Woods booting six goals well supported by Jesse Wynne with four, to the Magpies 11.4 (70).

In the final game on Sunday, Railways bucked the odds to beat Royals who had been ruthless in the opening two rounds.

The Lions lost two players in the warm-up before the game and never recovered with Railways compiling 11.17 (83) to Royals 8.7 (55).

Round four has Royals hosting Denmark-Walpole at Centennial Stadium on Saturday, Mt Barker play North Albany at Sounness Park and Railways play the Sharks on Sunday at Tigerland.

In other football news, the Albany Vikings AFL Masters will hold a Mixed Spectacular at Collingwood Park on Saturday afternoon.

Vikings President Sean Maguire said not since Nordic time have Viking men and women shared the battle ground.

“This coming weekend, lines will again be drawn in the grass,” he said.

“The Albany Vikings have invited the amazing GSFL women (and any budding superstar) to join them for a day and night of good fun and laughs with a mixed game of AFL with Masters rules followed by a dinner in the clubrooms.”

Masters rules include no tackling, no crashing into packs, fun is compulsory and, arguably the most important rule, everyone has to go to work on Monday.

Continue Reading

Tennis hub plans in play

THE City of Albany could house a state of the art regional tennis venue if plans discussed as part of an ongoing feasibility study set to be completed in June come to fruition.

The Lower Great Southern Tennis Association, the Department of Local Government, Sporting and Cultural Industries, Tennis West, four local tennis clubs and the City have been in discussions as part of the study since a consultant was hired to conduct it in October.

City Manager of Recreation Services Samantha Stevens said the study would assess the feasibility of establishing a regional tennis centre in the Great Southern to encourage growth and greater participation in the sport locally.

She said the study would consider “the medium to long-term needs of the sport in the Great Southern and recommendations for infrastructure and suitable sites”.

“Part of this process is to also consider a governance model that would work, and to measure both the economic and social value of pursuing a project like this,” Ms Stevens said.

Currently, there are four tennis clubs in Albany – the Emu Point Sporting Club, Merrifield Park Tennis Club, Lawley Park Tennis Club and the South Coast Tennis Club.

Albany differs from other major regional centres such as Bunbury, Geraldton, Busselton, and Kalgoorlie which have one large tennis facility each.

Vice President of the Lower Great Southern Tennis Association Les Bairstow said the quest to see a single regional tennis venue built in Albany had been underway for about 40 years.

“I can remember my father back in 1980 and a few people were trying to get it off the ground,” Mr Bairstow said.

“It’s been a huge amount of time for something that probably should have been built 30 years ago.”

Mr Bairstow said the study was exploring the idea of building a completely new facility in town and amalgamating existing clubs under one roof.

He said the money that would otherwise be spent renovating the various clubs in Albany could instead be used to build “an ace facility which, once built, would be the best regional venue in Australia”.

President of the Tennis Section of Emu Point Sporting Club Colin Veale said local clubs currently faced a variety of issues.

“The main issue for Lawley Park and Merrifield Park is resurfacing of their court … while this feasibility study is being undertaken, and until there’s some form of result, they have been unable to attract any funding to assist,” he said.

Mr Veale said the prevailing issue at his own club was a lack of younger tennis players.

“We have no involvement with junior tennis or junior coaching at all,” he said.

“[Tennis] is not as popular a sport as other sports … you get younger kids readily play football, soccer and maybe netball but there really hasn’t been a lot of people looking to play tennis.

“Those that do want to play have to travel a lot, particularly up to Perth, if they want to compete or access better training facilities.”

According to Mr Bairstow, a regional tennis venue in Albany could address a number of these concerns.

He said such a venue would allow Albany to host major junior and senior tournaments and events, something currently “impossible” because “you would have to send competitors in three different directions to three different clubs on three different types of surfaces”.

“There’s no floodlit tennis courts in Albany,” Mr Bairstow said.

“All the modern facilities have lights and are available until 9pm or 10pm at night, weekdays, weekends, for coaching purposes [but] we can’t open the courts up to anyone in the public that might want to play in the evenings.”

The only court with floodlights Albany players can access is in Mount Barker.

Minister for Sport and Recreation Mick Murray said while the study and consultation process was ongoing, it would be premature to consider how the construction of a regional venue would be funded.

Continue Reading

Surf’s up

Returning open women’s champion Holly Minter is aspiring to take the win for a second year in a row at this weekend’s Albany Boardriders Wavefest competition.

The 16-year-old Albany Senior High School student last year dethroned reigning winner Emy Campbell, who until then had topped the open women’s charts for five consecutive years.

“I’m pretty excited, hopefully I can do it all again this year,” Ms Minter said.

“I’ve probably been surfing for about 10 or 11 years … my dad got me into it and has been the reason I surf, pretty much. I just love being in the ocean with my friends and family; it’s just fun.”

Ms Minter has been competing in senior Wavefest events for around four years, and will this year face three of her peers who have risen through the ranks alongside her.

Pemba Spargo, Sascha Roberts and Evie Dupuy are all hoping to take the top spot when they hit the waters this weekend.

Albany Boardriders committee member and Ms Minter’s father Ian ‘Oxy’ Minter said the trio would be a fair challenge for his daughter.

“These girls have sort of been battling for years and I was just really proud of Holly last year when she was able to win it,” he said.

“They’re all such exceptional surfers, it’s always good watching that group surf because they always bring their game on Wavefest day.”

This year marks the 22nd anniversary of the annual surfing competition and will see a total of 32 competitors across four divisions battle it out.

President of Albany Boardriders Peter Bolt described the competition as both an opportunity for the local surfing community to come together and as a means of assessing the quality of regional surfing.

“Wavefest is the premier surf contest on the south coast of Western Australia, there’s no other bigger contest than the open Wavefest in Albany,” he said.

“It’s a measure of how we’re going with our surfing but also a chance for local surfers to sharpen up some of those competitive skills.”

Mr Bolt said Albany Boardriders members regularly head off to compete in state rounds, with some, like Emy Campbell, even taking home national titles.

Although the stakes are high, Ms Minter said it takes a level head to win these types of contests.

“[You need to be] relaxed and not stressing too much about it and having fun,” she said.

“Then just try to do your best and get as many waves as possible.”

The May 18 and 19 event’s final location will depend on weather conditions.

Anyone interested can find updates on the Albany Boardriders Facebook page or at www. albanysurf.com

Continue Reading

Denise defies diagnosis

BEING defeated by her diagnosis was something Denise Amato couldn’t abide by four years ago after being told she had primary progressive multiple sclerosis.

Amato decided to participate in the MSWA Albany Swim and agreed to act as the ambassador in a fortnight to help raise awareness for her condition and for other people suffering with a range of neurological conditions across the Great Southern.

The MSWA Albany Swim has run for seven years and teams of 10 see how far they are able to swim in an eight-hour period.

Amato said when she started she had a single of team of 10 which quickly escalated of two teams of 10.

“I had so many friends and family offer to join in,” she said.

“We’ve raised over the $4000 mark now and we didn’t really go into it wanting to fundraise.

“Some people were saying they weren’t very good at fundraising but having said that, the three leading fundraisers at the moment are all in my team.”

Amato said it took her a few years to be able to tell anyone outside of her close friends and family that she was diagnosed with MS.

“I was very private with my diagnosis and this year I decided to go public with it,” she said.

“I didn’t want to be ‘oh there’s Denise Amato, the one with MS’.

“I wanted to live my life.”

Amato said despite her condition affecting her mobility and energy levels, she decided she wanted to give back to MSWA for the help they had given her.

“Mainly I wanted to get out of my comfort zone and do something,” she said.

“I need a reason to get out of bed most mornings so I thought this is a reason to do something good.”

Amato said she swims in the ocean five days a week rain, hail or shine.

“I really thought I could swim,” she joked.

“But I soon realised that I really can’t swim well at all hence our team being called the Bathroom and Decor Bobbers.

“It’s a reflection of my ability as an ocean bobber rather than a swimmer.”

Amato said the support she had received from MSWA to manage her condition was invaluable and encouraged anyone suffering from a similar condition to get in touch with them.

“You’re not succumbing to this illness by changing how you do things everyday,” she said.

“It’s a vehicle to help you live your life the best you can.

“Some days I feel pretty useless and it would be easier to shrink into a corner but I don’t stop trying.”

The MSWA Albany Swim will run on March 23 at the Albany Leisure and Aquatic Centre from 9am to 5pm.

Registrations are available at www.MSWASwim.org.au.

Continue Reading

Kicking goals

NORTH Albany Senior High School student and rugby union rising star Georgia Crosby is one of nine faces that have been promoted by Rugby Australia as a part of the second stage of their Part of More campaign.

The campaign started in March 2018 as a way for the national body to recognise and showcase the hard work of the rugby community.

Ms Crosby said she had never seen, let alone played a game of rugby until 18 months ago when Rugby WA ran a clinic at her school with Dane Lazarus, Katie Barnes and Rhydian Lewis.

“I do a lot of sport and there isn’t much that I don’t do,” she said.

“I did touch rugby for Country Week at school but I never really knew about rugby union.

“After that clinic everything has happened pretty fast.”

Since the clinic, Ms Crosby has played for the WA Youth Girls’ Sevens team in the Youth Sevens National Championship and has her sights set on representing Australia at the Olympics.

“I want to see how far I can go,” she said.

“I think I owe it to myself to do that.”

One of the reasons Ms Crosby was selected to join the campaign was her dedication to drive nine hours a week to train.

Ms Crosby said she wasn’t currently doing the long hours driving due to a torn anterior cruciate ligament but would not be held back from getting back into the sport.

“I love having the space to run,” she said.

“Rugby really is a great sport and gives people something to strive for.”

Rugby Australia Head of Community Rugby James Selby said having myriad voices publicly telling their stories surrounding the sport was instrumental in supporting young players, referees and coaches.

“There are so many positive stories about rugby out there and we want to share them,” he said.

“Georgia is a talented young lady and her journey and commitment shows the potential in her performance.

“She’s an incredibly driven young lady.”

Mr Selby said Ms Crosby was selected for the high profile role due to her passion and drive in the sport.

“You need to have ambition to be successful and rugby certainly encourages that trait,” he said.

“Georgia’s story will be brought to life through medium and hopefully encourage more people to give it a go.

“We could use 1000 speech writers to write about the passion of rugby and still not get the drive that Georgia has for the sport.”

Ms Crosby said she hoped plenty of people saw her in the campaign and encouraged them to give the sport a go.

“You won’t regret it if you give it a go,” she said.

“The more people that get involved in rugby the better.”

Continue Reading

Young leggie spins way to Scarborough

ALBANY leg spinner Patrick Butler has heeded the call of Scarborough Cricket Club scouts and made the move to Perth to pursue first-grade cricket.

Butler has a number of milestones under his belt this season including playing in the winning Western Australian Country XI side last month and being part of the Albany team that won Country Week.

His efforts with the ball at both carnivals caught the eye of Scarborough’s top brass, not least his 16 wickets for the WA Country XI side.

Following his move to Perth, Butler spoke with The Weekender and said the opportunity to edge towards top-level cricket in Perth was too good to pass up.

“I was playing with Midland Guildford pretty casually while I was working fly-in fly-out,” he said.

“I haven’t been taking cricket too seriously over the past few years, so when I got a call from the coaches at Scarborough after Country Week it got me interested.

“I had to weigh a few things up, but I decided to give cricket another serious crack.”

Butler said he would need to do more than his circa-20 average with both bat and ball that he had notched up with Albany side North County to break into first grade cricket in Perth.

“It would be a super high achievement to play in first grade,” he said.

“Albany has some good players but it’s a whole different competition in Perth.

“It’s fairly strong up here and up to the same standard as Country XI cricket.”

Butler said his move to Scarborough would offer more opportunities to improve as a player.

“Living in Perth means I can concentrate more on my training and participate in some programs,” he said.

“It’s a big commitment to get into first grade and I would have to put in a few good games in the seconds to be considered.

“I want to give it a real crack though.”

Butler didn’t claim any wickets in his first match for Scarborough’s second-grade side against Mount Lawley, but he did make a handy 48 runs from just 45 deliveries, adapting quickly to the step-up in competition.

Scarborough beat Mt Lawley by 251 runs in a nice little sweetener for Butler.

Continue Reading

Tim on the tools

WILY Railways seamer Tim Edmunds walked the talk against Manypeaks on Saturday, helping his side defend one of their lowest scores for the season with a clinical display of slow to medium-slow bowling that skittled the opposition’s middle order.

Still glowing from coaching the WA Country XI side to victory in the one-day section of the Australian Country Cricket Championships, Edmunds got back on the tools and brought home figures of 4/11 from a five-over day at the office.

The impressive performance with the ball counteracted disaster with the bat for the former Weekender journalist who made nought batting at number nine.

But Edmunds wasn’t the only culprit in an unusually poor batting effort from Railways that managed just 106 runs.

His teammates higher up the order began a collective brain-fade, of which even the likes of Zane Marwick (5) were not immune.

If it wasn’t for 44 runs from opener Mark Natale, 21 from Cohen Marwick and 12 free extras from Manypeaks’ bowlers, the total might not have ticked over into three figures.

The Manypeaks chase got off to a horrible start with openers Regan Poett and Aran Tilbury scoring one run between them.

From there it was only the sporadic contributions among the single-digit dismissals that prolonged the agony as Manypeaks mustered just 58 runs before bowing out 52 runs short in the 29th over.

Cohen Marwick assisted Edmunds in foiling the efforts of Manypeaks’ batsmen with 4/16 from eight overs.

In the match between Mount Barker and Collingwood Park, Jeremy Wood snuck in a century to set up a healthy total for the Bulls to defend.

Woods’ 102 and a couple of 30-odds from Jason Jones (39) and Graham Wright (34) helped the Bulls to reach 4/212 in a rain-shortened match.

Apart from the lone hand of Leroy Van Den Dool (71), Collingwood Park just didn’t have the answers for Mt Barker’s bowlers during their run chase and fell 64-runs short.

Royals continued their ascension in the A-grade competition with victory over Denmark.

A 157-run partnership between openers Mitchell Green (86 not out) and Digby Nuthall (51 not out) delivered a convincing five-wicket win against Denmark.

The win denied the chance for Royals’ batsmen to get their eyes in, but it was a cost they would have been happy to pay in exchange for the win.

Round 14’s A-grade fixtures feature: North County vs Manypeaks, Railways vs Royals, Denmark vs Collingwood Park.

Mt Barker have the bye.

Continue Reading

Rogers runs with the Bulls

A CHOPPER custom built for Chicago Bulls legend Luc Longley takes pride of place in the memorabilia collection of his former Olympic teammate and fellow Denmarkian, one time LA Lakers pick Paul Rogers.

The bike was built in the late 1990s by custom motorcycle guru Arlen Ness to commemorate the 1995-1996 NBA season when the Bulls, including Longley, set the record for most wins in a regular season of 72 wins and 10 losses.

Rogers says the Bulls team that season was arguably the best sporting side in history.

“Having that link to Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, Toni Kukoc and Luc Longley in this bike is really special,” he says.

“This chopper is a real piece of sport history and an unbelievable piece of art.”

The motorcycle has all the bells-and-whistles including a Chicago Bulls insignia on the fuel tank. The bike is two-to-three inches longer than usual to accommodate an NBA-sized owner.

“It was built for a big guy,” Rogers says.

“It’s not a ridiculously big bike but it’s definitely quite long.

“I actually made a few adjustments lately so it can be ridden by my mates.”

Rogers recently put the one-off chopper up on Gumtree but says it is no longer for sale.

“I can see this sitting in someone’s private collection or in a man cave where it can be admired,” he says.

“I don’t think I could sell it now though.

“If the day ever comes where I do part ways with it, I’m sure I’ll shed a quiet tear.”

Rogers played for the Perth Wildcats from 2006 to 2010, Spain’s Real Madrid for a season, the Adelaide 36ers for two seasons and was drafted to play for the Lakers in 1997.

“Basketball was a huge part of my life for 20-plus years,” he says.

“I grew up in the ‘90s and loved the Bulls and idolised Luc Longley.

“So, having the chance to meet him, play in the [2000] Olympic Games with him and get this incredible bike from him is just a great story.”

Rogers says Longley’s is as big a name as you can get in Australian basketball.

“I wouldn’t have had the dream of going to America to play basketball if I hadn’t have seen Luc in Hoop magazine playing in the NBA when I was around 15 or 16,” he says.

Rogers says although the chopper looks a little worn in parts, it blows him away every time he looks at it.

“Seeing it in real life is just so different to seeing it in pictures,” he says.

“It’s absolutely breathtaking.”

This year, he starts a new job at Denmark Senior High School as the new physical education teacher.

“I really enjoy giving back where I can,” he says.

“Coaching and mentoring young basketball players is really rewarding after having a long career playing basketball.”

Longley turned 50 on Saturday.

Continue Reading

Enter the Sea Dragons

ALBANY’S new junior rugby league movement has taken inspiration from a gargantuan artwork for its club name and mascot.

In December last year NRL WA operations manager Tony Crowe announced that children aged four to 12 would be able to join a new Great Southern rugby league and touch football junior league in 2019.

Over the Christmas period the club’s unofficial committee got their heads together to come up with a name to suit the emerging club.

Albany Sea Dragon organiser Gary Tutt said fellow committee member Lee Martin had made the suggestion.

“We have this massive silo artwork of a sea dragon in Albany,” he said.

“Whether people like it or not, it’s a part of the town.

“Why not use a part of Albany as our name and mascot?”

Tutt said after the name was decided it was only a matter of designing the logo.

“Lee has a media business in town so he was able to help us design a couple of logos with the sea dragon incorporated,” he said.

“We couldn’t decide on what we liked so we put it to a Facebook poll on our page.

“More than 400 people voted and it was split 70-30 for the design.

“A lot of people were happy with it. The NRL were happy with it too.”

Tutt said another driving force behind being known as the Sea Dragons was the uniqueness of the mascot.

“No one has heard of sea dragons as a rugby league club yet,” he said.

“There are plenty of bears, lions, rabbits and that sort of thing.

“But no sea dragons.”

Tutt said there were only a few more forms to fill until the club would be a fully recognised institution.

“Tony from NRL WA is just finishing off the last bits and pieces,” he said.

“When we’re fully fledged we’ll be able to get some volunteers and sponsors on the books.”

Tutt said the Sea Dragons were starting the search for the club’s inaugural coaches.

“We aren’t looking for lots of experience but more a willingness to give our young players a fantastic experience,” he said.

“We want around two coaches per team with a sports trainer and a team manager and we’re hoping to have a boy and a girl team for under six, under eight, under 10 and under 12.

“To encourage people to give it a go we’ll pay for all coaching accreditation courses.”

Tutt said the club would hold an open day on February 23 at the Albany Leisure and Aquatic Centre for anyone interested in joining.

“We’re hoping to rally some support from the public,” he said.

“We need to keep trying to garner support with volunteers.”

For more information on the Albany Sea Dragons Junior Rugby League Club contact Gary Tutt on 0466 607 870.

Continue Reading

Towering infernos

ALBANY basketballers can now join the only fully constituted club in town following formalisation of the Albany Infernos Basketball Club.

Club president and founding member Karl Kirby said the club spent its off-season last year writing a constitution and getting ratified by the Department of Sport and Recreation.

“There are around 200 teams that play with the Albany Basketball Association but no clubs,” he said.

“Every sport organisation in Albany has clubs; football, netball, soccer, and hockey – they all have clubs.

“Basketball has a long history in Albany and we’re probably the only constituted club to pop up in Albany ever.”

Since forming its first team five seasons ago, the recently ratified club has expanded to 10 teams of both girls and boys, with six coaches.

Kirby said he was proud of the amount of girl teams they had this season.

“We have six girl teams and four boy teams this year,” he said.

“A lot of young girls walk away from the sport when they reach high school.

“I hope that by having club support behind them more girls will stay playing basketball as they get older.”

The Infernos do not have an A-grade team, but Kirby said the club would in future.

“We want to feed kids through the ranks and really get those roots down before getting into A-grade,” he said.

“I would love to see an A-grade team eventually but we need to keep building from a foundational level rather than working from the top down.

“Clubs help support kids work through the ranks and make sure they stay in the sport.”

To join the Albany Infernos Basketball Club, call Kirby on 0427 776 604

Continue Reading