Robertson to pull on footy boots after talk

BACK IN ACTION: Russell Robertson will line up for the Burnie Dockers this weekend. Picture: Getty Images.FORMER high-flying Melbourne forward, Russell Robertson will feature as a guest speaker at a luncheon leading up to Sunday’s big grand final rematch between Burnie and Launceston before taking to the field for the Dockers.
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Robertson will play his first-ever senior game at West Park Oval on Sunday after taking to the field for Burnie in both of its recent away games against Coastal rival Devonport.

Still heavily involved with the Melbourne Football Club in the communications department, Robertson said he enjoyed getting back to the Coast to speak to local footy fans.

“I’d like to impart as much as I can about what footy is like (in Melbourne),” Robertson said yesterday.

“The game has changed dramatically since I finished three years ago, but I still like to keep a toe in the water to make sure I’m up to speed with what is happening.”

As for whether cutting his preparation short to speak at the luncheon would hinder his game, Robertson was confident he would be ready and raring to go come 1pm.

“Preparing for a game is more a mental thing than a physical thing,” he said.

“You realise with age, you will play the same regardless of whether you put in one hour of preparation or two hours of preparation.

“But each to their own.”

The luncheon will start at 11am, with the game to start at 1pm.

Tickets are $50 each, which includes lunch, drinks and entry to the football.

For bookings, contact Barry Gaby on 0418339959.

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This article first appeared in Hangzhou Night Net.

Home crowd may give Coastal boxers edge

PLENTY OF INCENTIVE: Jarrad Gale (left) and Paul Coppleman will headline a 15-fight card at the Devonport Basketball Stadium tomorrow night. Picture: Stuart Wilson.PAUL Coppleman and Jarrad Gale are itching to get back into the ring in front of their home crowd.
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The Coastal boxers, who are both now based interstate, will headline a 15-fight card at the Devonport Basketball Stadium tomorrow night.

Coppleman said his bout with Filipino Ariel Omongos, the only professional fight of the evening, would be a stern test but hoped the support of a vocal audience would help him over the line.

“I’ve never fought him before, but he will keep me on my toes because he is a knockout specialist,” Coppleman said.

“I’ll take the fight by feel and if I can get him out of there early I will.

“Hopefully there will be a good turnout.”

With the fight having been rescheduled, Coppleman admitted his 14-week preparation has been longer and less ideal than usual.

However, with the incentive of a title fight on the line, the now Melbourne- based gloveman is determined to leave nothing on the canvas.

“If I can get a win here I hope to be the challenger for the WBF Commonwealth title,” Coppleman said.

“I’m going to give it my all and hopefully get the result.”

Sunshine Coast-based Gale knows little about the way his Western Australian opponent Ben Page fights, but knows winning will be no easy task.

“I’m going in a bit blindfolded,” Gale admitted.

“I’m sure it’s going to be a tough fight, but I’ve been training pretty hard for it.

“I’m hoping it’s the home crowd which helps me get over the line.”

A premiership player with Ulverstone in the NTFL, Gale still plays football in Queensland, but admits the Sherrin has taken a back seat to sparring.

“I’m still playing footy, I’ll never give that away, but I’ve eased off it a bit to give boxing a good go,” he said.

“Turning professional could be on the cards if things go well.”

The event is being hosted by the North-West Boxing Club in conjunction with the Tasmanian Boxing League.

This article first appeared in Hangzhou Night Net.

Walters a quiet achiever

NO FUSS: Burnie Dockers utility Harry Walters, who celebrated his 25th birthday yesterday. Walters was one of the Dockers’ shining lights in last year’s grand final against Launceston and is primed for Sunday’s rematch. Picture: Stuart Wilson.FROM picking up the small forwards to booting goals himself, Harry Walters has been somewhat of a quiet achiever for Burnie in recent years.
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The Dockers utility, who turned 25 yesterday, may not be a big personality off-field but he plays a big role on-field.

“I usually get the small, nippy forwards,” Walters said yesterday.

“I’ve been playing down back now for a few years and I definitely think it has helped me develop as a player.

“I’ve learned a lot from being in the back line, mostly about reading the play.”

Walters, who helped keep the Dockers in touch with Launceston in last year’s grand final with a late goal and assist in the third quarter, said he was primed and ready to go ahead of Sunday’s rematch.

“It’s always good to play against Launceston because it’s always a top game between the two sides,” he said.

“I’m not sure who I’ll (play on) yet, probably someone like Sonny Whiting if he plays.

“They have a strong forward line, so whoever I get will be a challenge.”

Walters said while last year’s grand final heartbreak would never be forgotten by the players, it was not something that had been spoken about in the lead-up to Sunday’s game.

“We’ll just take it as any other game,” he said.

“It’s a new year and there are new players on both sides, so you can’t really take much from last year’s grand final.”

One of the more senior players in the group this season, Walters believes the Dockers have the side to go one step better than last year.

“I think we have improved from last year,” he said.

“We’re linking up with the ball better and some of our younger players have stepped up.

“(Losing) does spur you on, so hopefully this is our year.”

This article first appeared in Hangzhou Night Net.

Thunder hoping for at least one win on the road

Phil ThomasTWO on the road with a winless record is a daunting task but Tall Timbers North West Thunder coach Phil Thomas believes his side is up to the challenge.
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The Thunder will take on Brisbane tonight in the round three rematch of the game Thomas labelled “absolutely pathetic” from his side’s perspective.

The Thunder lost by nine points in a game that was there for the taking.

“We will have to play with more vigour and when we have the ball, create more opportunities for each other,” Thomas said.

“We’ll have the inclusions of Lee McGaffin and Sam Harris this time around, which will add a bit more depth.

“That being said, they have included three new players since we last met, with Dean Brebner, (Thomas) Ammar and (Isaih) Tueta, who is a six foot three guard who returned from college.

“I wouldn’t be surprised to see those three in their starting five, so it really brings it back to an even playing field.”

The Thunder will travel to Canberra tomorrow to take on the Gunners tomorrow night in Belconnen.

Canberra currently sits on the bottom of the eastern conference ladder with just one win.

“Put simply, this is a must-win game,” Thomas said.

“We’re a better side than them.”

Included in the Canberra side is former Sydney Kings player Alex Gynes, who was in talks to sign with the Thunder during the off season before committing to the Gunners.

Canberra has had an unsettled season with the recent resignation of coach Matthew Glasson and the appointment of long-serving assistant coach Cameron Barnes to the top job.

“(Barnes) will no doubt be trying to turn their program around and they should be fired up,” Thomas said.

“But there are no excuses with this one, if we can’t win this one, we’re in big trouble.”

This article first appeared in Hangzhou Night Net.

Perry has faith in team to hit back

LATROBE coach Dale Perry has shown faith in the side which lost to Penguin by 32 points last round.
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The Demons have made no changes for their away game against the undefeated Wynyard tomorrow.

“We thought we were OK last week, and had chances to win the game,” Perry said.

“I looked at the side and thought our best 22 last week is the same best 22 for this week.”

Perry is under no illusions about the quality of opposition his side will face.

After all, he selected 12 Cats in the NTFL representative squad earlier this week.

However, Perry said the reigning premier was focused on controlling what it could do right, not what the opposition could do wrong.

“Wynyard’s strength is their depth,” Perry said.

“You can’t focus on one or two of their players.

“What we have been doing is focusing on playing the way we want to play.”

Wynyard has made three changes to the side which defeated East Devonport by 41 points last weekend, with captain Daniel Franks, Craig Stretton and David Fitzpatrick set to further bolster the Cats.

Rhys Phillips will miss the game with work commitments, Tom Russell is out with an illness, while Caleb Alford will return to the under 19s.

In this weekend’s other game, Smithton will be looking to make it consecutive wins for the first time this season when it travels to meet East Devonport.

Luke Viney, a late withdrawal last week, returns to the Saints’ side for Josh Smith.

After impressive performances against Ulverstone last week, youngsters Mitch Kay and Aiden Coomb have retained their spots in Smithton’s 22.

East Devonport has been forced to find replacements for the injured Bradley French and Mark Marriott, while Brady Stubbs and Chris Poole have been omitted.

Michael Bloomfield, Rodney Coglan, Kurt Jeffrey and George McLachlan will all come into the Swans’ side.

This article first appeared in Hangzhou Night Net.