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Take a bow, the gentlemen of Mittagong

Above: The 1972 gentlemen of Mittagong. BACK: Paul Munro, Tom Orford, Jim Allen, Chris Bartlett, Frank Van Haeff, Vic Isedale. MIDDLE: Ken Hansen, Chris Millbank, Terry O’Toole, Merv Wortz, Garry Roberts, Ian Jones, Jim Manning. FRONT: Grahame Andrews, John Collins, Bill Campbell, Geoff Goodfellow, Ray Crothers, Guy Roberts, Ross Isedale.Photo by Studio KinomaI DIDN’T write that headline. The words were penned by the editor of the Daily Mirror in 1972 following the return of the Mittagong Rugby League side from a tour of New Zealand.
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The Sydney newspaper story was prompted by a letter to Cooks Tours, who had organised things for this Mittagong side to play a couple of games across the ditch. The hotel used by the team in Christchurch had sent the bill to Cooks with a handwritten note saying, “the members conducted themselves as gentlemen. We enjoyed having them stay with us.”

Cooks must have been so surprised they passed the note on to the Daily Mirror.

The story probably made the Sydney tabloids because sporting teams at the time had earned a dreadful reputation for trashing hotels and behaving badly on end of season trips, or overseas tours. But not these gentlemen of Mittagong, who collected glowing testimonials wherever they went.

Like the Christchurch hotel, which congratulated the boys on, “first class manners and behaviour,” saying, “this team is a credit to Australian rugby league.”

Up in Rotorua, the hotel manager wrote; “the behaviour of the team, without exception, was perfect.”

The Linwood club said the team was exemplary, while the Central club in Rotorua congratulated the Australian Rugby League on sending such a good bunch of ambassadors.

Golly gosh, what can a man say.

Were those the same lads in this photograph?

Course they were. What gentlemen.

Actually I bumped one of those gentlemen last Saturday, when out watching the Robertson Spuddies playing a home game.

I hadn’t been to Robertson for a while. Did you know they have traffic lights in Caalong Street these days? What is the old village coming to when you have to stop at a red light on your way up the hill to the showground on a quiet winter’s Saturday afternoon in Robbo.

Anyhoo, that gentleman of Mittagong I bumped into was Grahame Andrews, a bloke who has put so much back into sport since the days he ran around the hockey and football paddocks.

Grahame has been president of group six rugby league since 2008, but before that he was a successful coach and a committed sporting administrator, running touch footy, a hockey club and much more.

Congratulations on your contribution to Highlands sport mate. Your dedication has been epic.

And while talking about good manners and gentlemen, I was delighted to see Narellan and the Spuddies run to the centre of the field and shake hands before the kick-off.

Took me back to a time when all teams did this before a sporting match began. Such a nice touch and a reminder that sport is all about having a bit of fun, not hating your opponent.

Sure, they got into it after the friendly greeting with a bit of sweat, blood and grunt, but when the final whistle went they all shook hands again and wandered off for a cool drink.

That is how sport should be played.

So good to see.

FINALLY, I must tell you a lovely story from the snowfall the other week.

I have a mate lives up on Mount Gibraltar, who tells me some yobbo in a 4WD drove rather recklessly up Oxley Drive, churning the sides of the road, but also delighting in knocking over snowmen built by the kids up there.

Then he spotted a bigger snowman and went for that too. Turned out to be a 5 tonne boulder covered in snow.

Who said there isn’t a God?

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Inflation to hit Northam

One month: Northam residents will be looking to the skies during August and September.ALL eyes will be skywards in Northam in amonth’s time when the National BallooningChampionships are contested in the AvonValley town from August 28 to September 6.
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It has been 31 years since Northam hostedthe championships so locals are preparing fora huge party withplenty of balloons.

The town previously hosted the competitionin 1984 and 1981.

Organising committee chairman GrenPutland said balloon pilots from China, Japan,Russia, the UK andacross Australia will competeover five days.

“The championships are all about testingthe skills of pilots at varying winds and altitudesrather than speed, in a variety of differentchallenges,” Mr Putland said.

“Northam is WA’s home of hot air ballooningand to see up to 30 balloons in the skieshere over the course of the event will be anincredible treat for spectators and ballooningenthusiasts.”

Competitors include the currentWomen’s World Hot Air Balloon ChampionNicola Scaife (NSW), five-time Australianchampion Paul Gibbs (NSW) and 2014Australian Champion Matthew Scaife (NSW).

The three West Australians competing inthe championships are brothers Andrew,Michael and PeterClements.

Organisers anticipate two flights per day atdawn and in the late afternoon, weather permitting.

The competition area extends over 40 kilometresnorth to south, and 30km east to westof Northam with a variation of launch locationsdepending on weather conditions.

People planning a trip to Northam to enjoythe spectacle are encouraged to visit the eventwebsite the nightbefore for the latest information.

The championship will take place over fivedays with practice flights on August 29 and30, and thechampionships running fromAugust 31 to September 4, with a reserve dayand the exciting Key Grab atfirst light onSeptember 5.

Non-competitive flying is likely to takeplace on September 6.

The Key Grab is a highly skilled challengewhere pilots have to literally grab a foam keymounted on top of a10m pole.

The key represents the key to a prize.

Pilots select a take off point that will allowthem to fly a minimum distance to reach thetarget.

This will take place over the NorthamAirfield and will be a highlight for spectators.

A number of community events includingexhibitions, expos and performances are beingheld around the championships, making it afantastic time to visit Northam and the AvonValley.

Highlights include the Balloon Glow andFiesta official launch August 29, the NorthamFiesta and Northam Small Farm and BusinessExpo on August29-30, the Northam Art Prizeand the History of Ballooning display.

The Northam Aero Club is hosting theNational Ballooning Championships, which isalso actively supported by Shire of Northam,Tourism Western Australia through Royaltiesfor Regions funding, Northam Chamber ofCommerce, ABF, Windward BalloonAdventures, Avon Community DevelopmentFoundation, Kavanagh Balloons, Santos,Kleenheat Gas, Country Builders WA, the BigPicture Factory, HotFM, and DowerinRefrigeration and Air Conditioning Services.

For more information go to梧桐夜网northamnationals南京夜网, email [email protected]南京夜网 or check out the eventon Facebook at 梧桐夜网facebook南京夜网/ northamnationals.

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Gorge driver nabbed at .233

RESCUE: SES and CFA members winch the woman to safety from the Beechworth Gorge last August after her Holden Commodore travelled into the ravine.
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A WOMAN who drove her car off the Beechworth Gorge last yearhas allegedly been caught drink-driving, returning a reading nearly five times the legal limit.

Police had been amazed that no-one had died when the 50-year-old’sHolden Commodore plunged 100 metres into the gorge on August 18.

Her passenger climbed safely to the top of the gorge and thewoman had to be winchedout on a stretcher.

The former Myrtleford woman was charged with reckless conduct endangering life over last year’s incident, and will return to court next month.

But the woman is in further strife after allegedly being caught drink-driving with a reading of 0.233in central Beechworth on Sunday night.

She will receive a summons over the latest incident.

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Five things we learned: South West Football Leagueround 13

Carey Park has come across shaky in recent matches. They will need to piece it all together before the finals arrive.The Panthers have been a great side this season and sit tied for first spot in the win/loss column, but something looks a little off about them.
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I’m not sure if it’s an internal issue, external issue or something completely unrelated to football, but it’s been a while since Carey Park put forth a four-quarter effort.

They had lapses in their game against the last-placed Bulldogs and at one point it looked like they might even get rolled.

Fortunately for them, they came through when it mattered.

But if the Panthers have lapses against sides like Eaton or Busselton, it won’t end so joyfully for them.

But if you’re going to have a slump, let it be now rather than in September, right?

In the words of Homer Simpson – “it’s like the measles, good to get it out of the way.”

Now I’m not one to believe in home field advantages very much – especially in the SWFL.

If driving down the road for 40 minutes affects your play, then you aren’t all that good, are you?

But nonetheless, Busselton has shown that they are extremely hard to beat at home.

The only game they’ve lost on home soil this year was a freak upset in extremely wet conditions to South Bunbury – a game in which the Magpies kicked inaccurately.

However, travelling does seem to be their downfall.

They’ve lost to Eaton and Carey Park when on the road but won against both of those sides at home.

You won’t find me tipping against Busselton when they play at Sir Stuart Bovell Park.

Up to now, Augusta-Margaret River’s season has been great.

One of the competition’s worst sides in 2014, the Hawks turned it around big time this season and look like playing finals.

But a heavy loss to Donnybrook would not have been the way the Hawks wanted to come out of the bye.

They’ve started the business end of the season on the wrong foot, and their game this week against Harvey-Brunswick-Leschenault looms as a “must-win”.

Although they sit two games clear of Harvey, an unexpected loss to the Hawks will put an enormous amount of pressure on them.

Being three games outside of the top five, South Bunbury can still mathematically make finals.

But the key word is “mathematically”, and they probably won’t.

Still, their form has been impressive in recent games and some of the top sides should be worried about facing them.

They’ve already beaten the Boomers and they won’t see Carey Park again, but they have Busselton this week and Donnybrook in round 17.

These Tigers are capable of causing upsets against both of these teams and damaging their chances of a top-three finish and a qualifying final berth.

Look to South Bunbury if you’re searching for a side that could cause upsets.

A few weeks ago, a pair of my colleagues and I sat down to determine what would happen in the back half of the season.

In case you’ve forgotten or missed out on the predictions, I tipped Donnybrook to fall away and finish fourth (making them the worst of the best sides).

So now I’m wondering, is it too late to buy a ticket to the bandwagon?

Every time Donnybrook gives us a slight reason to doubt them, they come out and demolish a quality opponent.

With or without Jeff Smith, this team can challenge.

They have next-to-nothing in terms of finals experience, but I’m eager to see where this team can finish and how far they can go.

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Man charged with unauthorised firearm possession

A man was arrested after allegedly being found in possession of unauthorised firearms at Weston on Sunday.
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About 2.30pm Sunday, police were called to a home on Third Street, following reports of an armed man in the yard.

Police attended and attempted to speak with the man, who allegedly refused to cooperate.

Almost an hour later, the 32-year-old man exited the garage and was arrested without incident.

No-one was injured during the operation.

Police located and seized two air rifles and various types of ammunition.

The man was taken to Maitland Police Station and charged with unauthorised possession of firearms, not keeping firearms safe, and possessing ammunition without holding a licence or permit.

He was refused bail and was due to appear at Maitland Local Court on Monday.

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