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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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Rugby League kicks off

GREAT Southern Rugby League and touch rugby fans will have the opportunity to sign their kids up to an NRL WA endorsed association next year with the formation of a new junior modified league.

NRL WA operations manager Tony Crowe announced on Wednesday that children aged four to 12 would be able to join the new league for 2019.

“The level of interest in the sport has been extremely high in the region,” he said.

Crowe said the newly introduced sport would only start as a junior’s League for the first season.

“We really want to focus on the grassroots of the sport before we expand into other age groups,” he said.

“We’re expecting to have anywhere from 60 to 80 players to start with, but it could easily be more.”

Crowe said teams from across the Great Southern would be encouraged to join through NRL WA support.

“Ideally we’ll have a few teams from each town,” he said.

“We’ll be targeting schools to get involved and form their own sides.

“Albany will be the hub for people to come and play games but the NRL will help towns establish their own training venues to reduce travel.”

NRL WA have recently turned their focus towards developing their presence in regional areas with South West, Pilbara, Kimberley and Broome sides added to the game.

Crowe said with the large number of people wanting to get involved in League in the Great Southern was the deciding factor for the region to be the next on the list.

For more information on the 2019 Rugby League and touch rugby seasons or to register an expression of interest contact Tony Crowe at tcrowe@nrl.com.au.

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Hiker sets blistering pace

THE feat of completing the Bibbulmun Track in record time would be enough to satisfy most people, but for Jono Ride, there was barely time for the blisters to heal before setting off on his next adventure.

Ride reached the Bibbulmun Track’s southern terminus in Albany last Wednesday, just 16 days and 14 hours to the minute after setting out from the Kalamunda start-point.

In doing so, he is believed to have become the fastest person to complete the 1005km journey without assistance.

But setting the record was not what inspired Ride to tackle the long hike through the stunning south west of WA.

“I’m a qualified teacher and after not being in the classroom for nearly two years I had to submit an application to start teaching again,” he said.

“When they told me it would take 14 weeks until I could be posted at a school, I found myself significantly unemployed.”

Ride said a quick trip to visit some cousins planted the seed for tackling the Bibbulmun Track.

“I saw a marker for the track when I was driving in the South West and I just thought to myself, ‘I have no reason not to do it’,” he said.

“I was fit, it was the perfect time of year and I hadn’t seen my mate in Albany in a year or so.”

The mate he is referring to is partner in adventuring-crime Leroy Savage, who joined Ride on an epic cycling journey through South America last year (‘Leroy’s great escape’, 11 January).

Although Savage was at the far end of the journey waiting for Ride to arrive in Albany, he was egging him along no less than if they were walking the track together.

“Leroy was making a game out of watching where I was and trying to time meeting up with me on the track,” he said.

“I had my GPS tracker on me, so he could see where I was in real time.”

Despite help and encouragement being just a phone call away, Ride’s intention from the outset was to tackle the entire track without assistance.

“If you do a hike assisted you might as well just walk on a treadmill,” he said.

“When you’re unassisted you have to make sure your timing is perfect for hitting towns.

“If you don’t time it right and hit town too early before the shops open or too late and they’re closed, you’ll miss out on vital supplies.

“It makes it more of a challenge.”

For the last 85km from Denmark to Albany, Ride hot-footed it and walked for 14 hours straight.

“I did 95,000 steps and 14 hours of walking at pace,” he said.

“Doing 10 to 12 hours is pretty standard, but any more than that and you’re dead on your feet.

“You enter another world of pain and exhaustion.”

Having completed the trip that is recommended for six to eight weeks in little more than two, Ride and Savage were already packing their bags for another adventure just days after Ride arrived in Albany.

“We’re going on a secret mission to retrieve a rusted-out car in the desert,” Ride confided in The Weekender.

“I can’t say too much about it, but it’ll be a quick in-and-out adventure.

“Going on trips with Leroy is always good fun because we’ll inevitably get ourselves into a crazy situation but we’ll always get out of it.

“I’m always searching for the kind of fun where you push yourself, hurt yourself or get lost and end up looking back on it in a year or so and thinking, ‘that was some bloody good fun’.”

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Hill climb sell-out

THE chance to drive a bit faster than the speed limit up Albany’s Marine Drive has proven too tempting for motoring enthusiasts, with tickets for the Racewars Sprint selling out in less than 24 hours.

Event director Jonathan Murray said the 3km Middleton Beach Hill Climb had exceeded all expectations for ticket sales.

“The level of interest has been nothing short of astounding,” he said.

“It looks like it will become an iconic headline event in its own right.”

Tickets are still available for the standard competitor entries for the 1/4 mile and 1/2 roll racing sessions at Albany Airport over the March long weekend.

Murray said the future of Racewars would be centered around more non-competitive car culture events.

“Runway racing will continue to underpin the event with strong support for ancillary events like the hill climb,” he said.

“To keep growing we need to increase off-track activities, especially those that make use of the region’s world-class natural advantages and tourism infrastructure.

“Over the run until the December holidays, we’ll be announcing new noncompetitive and social aspects of the event people can participate in as we look to grow the event.”

Murray said Albany’s status as a motorsport town was further cemented following the City of Albany’s approval to purchase land for the Great Southern Motorplex last month.

“Albany has been at the heart of WA’s motorsport history since the 1930s,” he said.

“With new developments like the Great Southern Motorplex now on the horizon, Albany is ideally positioned to further entrench its position at the heart of our community.

“Ultimately motorsport, while not to everyone’s taste, is to everyone’s benefit both socially and economically.

“It’s great to see Albany capitalise on the opportunities this sector presents.”

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Corben rises through the ranks

RISING motocross star Corben Weinert brought home a bit of extra luggage from his recent trip to Tasmania where he competed in the Australian Junior Motocross Titles.

The 16-year-old placed third in the 125cc division and now has his sights set higher, having outgrown the junior class.

“It was my first time in Tasmania and it was a great place to compete,” he said.

In a display of consistency, Weinert placed in the top three for four out of five rounds, saving his best for last by winning the final round.

“It was my last time competing in juniors and I’m really stoked that I came out with a win.”

Weinert started his campaign on the senior track two weeks ago in Bunbury and came first in the 250cc class and second in the 450cc class.

“I’m pretty happy with the result,” he said.

“I think my Dad and Pop were pretty surprised that I did so well on my first try in that class.

“I think they were pretty happy with how I did.”

Weinert said motocross was a sport he wanted to pursue for as long as he could.

“I’ll do it until the doctor says I can’t,” he said.

“I would love to get over east and ride on a factory bike and be paid to race.”

Weinert said when he wasn’t ripping around on his motorbike at a mate’s place and learning as he goes, he liked to don a bicycle helmet and hurtle down Albany’s tracks on his mountain bike.

“If I couldn’t ride a dirt bike I would ride mountain bikes instead,” he said.

“I rode in the Urban Downhill this year and I was coming first but crashed majorly and came in second.

“I’ve done national enduro competitions in Queensland too. I just really like the adrenaline.”

Weinert said he was done and dusted for competitions for the rest of the year, but was excited about competing in more senior races in the future.

“Motocross is a great sport and a great way to see new places and meet new people,” he said.

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