Andre Onana eager to honour Cameroon’s rich goalkeeping heritage

first_imgBlood relations aside, Cameroon’s knack of consistently producing top goalkeepers in uncanny.“It’s something innate in this country,” laughed Onana. “On a more serious note, it’s a good question! When you look at the history of Cameroon, it’s incredible all the same. We’ve had Bell, Nkono … It’s thanks to the work put in by these people.”– Strong Ajax influence –For a former student at the Samuel Eto’o Foundation who passed through the Barcelona academy (2010-2015), the relaying of this know-how by former greats has played a decisive role in the spawning of a new generation.“I was lucky enough to work with ‘Tommy’ Nkono (goalkeeping coach at Espanyol) with whom I learned a lot of things, Fabrice as well. We did little training camps and everything. It’s normal to progress, especially when you play at the top level and you know the right people,” he said.In the national team, Onana can call on a pair of Ajax legends to continue his development in Clarence Seedorf and Patrick Kluivert. The duo were appointed Cameroon’s head coach and assistant respectively last August.With three Ajax representatives in their ranks, it begs the question whether there is a temptation for Cameroon to adopt the Dutch giants’ famous philosophy.“It’s difficult. It’s clear we want to control the game, but African football has its own realities. It’s hard to stay true to this philosophy because the state of pitches is not too favourable to that system,” said Onana.“But we will go to Egypt with our own way of playing, our ‘winner mentality’,” he added. It’s certainly proved a recipe for success in the past with Cameroon triumphing in Africa’s most prestigious competition five times, in 1984, 1988, 2000, 2002 and 2017.Share on: WhatsApp Ajax’s Cameroonian goal keeper Andre Onana catches the ball during the UEFA champions league semi final second league football match between Ajax Amsterdam and Tottenham HotspurIsmailia, Egypt | AFP |  Following in the footsteps of Joseph-Antoine Bell, Thomas Nkono and Jacques Songo’o as the latest in a line of acclaimed Cameroon goalkeepers is no minor task, but the Indomitable Lions are placing their faith in Andre Onana, one of the season’s revelations in Europe, as they bid to defend their title in Egypt.Remarkably, his season which started with Ajax last July in the second Champions League qualifying round is still not over.Throughout a campaign equally gruelling as unforgettable, Onana has experienced it all — from an epic European adventure, featuring memorable matches against Real Madrid, Juventus and Tottenham, to a league and cup double.But that’s not enough to satisfy the 23-year-old who is craving further success at the Africa Cup of Nations, as Cameroon look to defend their continental crown on July 19.“Our goal is to bring this title back to Cameroon once more,” he told AFP, ahead of his team’s opening 2-0 victory against Guinea-Bissau in Ismailia.“It’s true it’s complicated and difficult, because we’re going to play against very good teams. But I think we’re going to succeed,” he said.– ‘Something innate’ –Unlike his cousin Fabrice Ondoa, a major architect behind Cameroon’s run to the 2017 title, Onana wasn’t in Gabon, a tournament played in its traditional January and February time slot, having preferred to focus on his club.A fan favourite, Ondoa has since lost his place in goal, but he did earn the right to a song penned in his honour to celebrate his achievements.“Fabrice and me, it’s family! We’re different … I don’t need a song, the most important thing is the title, both individually and collectively,” Onana said, refusing to draw comparisons between the two stoppers.“If we bring it back to Cameroon, it will be something good for the country. Sporting victories form part of the stability of our country,” he added, with Cameroon, the original hosts of this year’s edition, stripped of the tournament last November after falling behind in preparations.last_img read more

Art and Music Coming Together at The Washington Center!

first_imgFacebook92Tweet0Pin0Submitted by The Washington Center for the Performing ArtsJoin artist and Olympia Printmaker Mimi Williams on Friday, September 21 from 6 p..m. to 7:30 p.m., for a festive and musical opening reception at The Washington Center – there is no cost to attend.  The featured artist will have a solo show of over 40 linoleum cut block prints and will be joined by musicians Angie Ward and Mark Medalen of Austin Radio, who have agreed to perform free of charge in support of the arts.Mimi Williams exhibit titled, “Impressions of the Left Coast” references her life spent living on the west/left coast defined by Highway 101. The hand printed linoleum cut block prints are printed using the back of a wooden spoon. Mimi’s work is graphic and mostly narrative, with visual clues that tell a story. She has been making prints for over 15 years and has her work in permanent collections of the cities of Olympia and Tacoma, Group Health/Kaiser, and the Mayo Clinic. You can also see her work at a few public art installations in Olympia.Austin Radio are an acoustic duo featuring Olympia natives Angie Ward and Mark Medalen. Angie and Mark are both veterans of the Northwest Music scene and have been performing in various bands and as solo artists for many years.  They formed Austin Radio in 2005 and their popular, up-tempo acoustic sound features popular rock and country music, blending tight harmony vocals and driving acoustic guitar.last_img read more

Sea Bright Restaurant Owner Sues Mayor and Council

first_imgBy John Burton |SEA BRIGHT — The owner of Tommy’s Tavern + Tap has issues with the Sea Bright mayor and governing body and is taking them to court.The limited liability companies, 1030 Partners and 1030 Liquor Partners, that own and operate Tommy’s Tavern + Tap, 1030 Ocean Ave., and their managing partner, Thomas Bonfiglio, have filed a lawsuit naming Sea Bright, its mayor, Dina Long, and the six-member Borough Council as defendants. The suit raises a series of allegations against the elected officials charging they acted in an untoward and arbitrary manner concerning the popular restaurant, hobbling its ability to maximize its business potential.In an interview with The Two River Times this week, Bonfiglio said of the elected officials, “They make decisions, they don’t realize this is a business and there are consequences…They shoot from the hip.”The civil suit, filed by Freehold lawyer Robert Munoz on July 5, lays out a series of eight complaints brought against the officials. The plaintiffs maintain the existing municipal noise ordinance is “arbitrary, unreasonable, and capricious,” also alleging it is in violation of the state noise control act. The suit alleges the existing local ordinance “is overly inclusive, overly vague, and fails to specify the activity that it seeks to prohibit.” The governing body, by its actions, the court filing alleges, has infringed upon Bonfiglio’s civil rights, having “deprived Plaintiffs of their equal protection and due process, and the privileges secured by the laws and Constitution of this State…” namely by instilling restrictions that the suit argues have impeded Tommy’s Tavern + Tap.Another count alleges borough officials violated the state Open Public Meetings Act. That state law requires, in part, that most official actions be done in public after officials have duly advertised and provided adequate public notices of their intentions. Bonfiglio and his attorney maintain elected officials had communicated among themselves via phone calls, texts and emails around the time of May 19 regarding Tommy’s ongoing application before the borough land use board for expanding the restaurant’s use. That constituted an “intent to act as a unit,” among the elected officials, without informing the public, the complaint charged.“What I take exception to is the colluding,” on the part of Mayor Long and the Borough Council, Bonfiglio alleged.Bonfiglio opened Tommy’s two years ago, rebuilding on the site of the former borough post office and adjacent property which had had a gas station operating on it, both of which had been severely damaged by Super Storm Sandy in October 2012. Since opening, the location has proven to be increasingly popular. So much so that Bonfiglio sought to include additional seating at the back of the restaurant, on property backing up to the Shrewsbury River, and offer such attractions as music, bocce ball and cornhole tossing games on the site. Bonfiglio wound up squaring off with the borough combined Planning/Zoning Board, as well as facing opposition from residents of the neighboring Nautilus Condominiums and a Rumson homeowner over noise concerns.The Land Use Board in May approved an amended plan, which included no outdoor speakers or live music or entertainment but permitted outdoor dining overlooking the river.Since then, the Borough Council revised and approved its noise ordinance in an attempt to clarify the permitted from the excessive. Officials had sought to strike a balance between the number of entertainment destinations, most rebuilt and expanded since Sandy, and to accommodate residential locations in the borough’s downtown commercial district that for a number of sites sit right next to bars and restaurants operating into the late evening or early morning.Bonfiglio said this week that the elected officials are singling out his business, especially with the new noise ordinance and other conditions. “I think they’re trying to see how far they can push me,” he said. The complaint noted the location’s liquor license renewal was subject to additional restrictions, too. Those restrictions included restricting the sale and service of alcohol in the outdoor area after 10 p.m.“They’re not used to someone pushing back,” he said of the council.Borough attorney Roger J. McLaughlin, who is representing the mayor and council on this matter, did not respond to phone calls seeking comment.Borough Councilman Marc Leckstein drafted the noise ordinance adopted by the council. In response to some of the suit’s contentions, Leckstein said, “I can empathically say that the noise ordinance was not directed toward Tommy’s or any single establishment,” but to address concerns regarding all of businesses.Mayor Dina Long declined to comment directly on the suit on advice of the lawyer. “The one thing I would say,” she said, “it’s unfortunate that Mr. Bonfiglio chose to bring a lawsuit that’s going to cost our taxpayers when he could have initiated a conversation.”This article was first published in the July 13-20, 2017 print edition of The Two River Times.last_img read more

Politics chose me – Powell

first_imgHaving championed the West Indies cricket team’s cause for seven years, former fast bowler-turned politician Daren Powell contends that he is ready to bowl the People’s National Party (PNP) to victory and unseat incumbent J.C. Hutchinson as member of Parliament for North West St Elizabeth.Powell took 85 Test wickets and 71 one-day international wickets in 37 and 55 matches, respectively.He believes that his “love for people” has destined him to represent them and is ready to deliver.”It’s not me who chose it (politics). Based on what I used to do in the community as a cricketer, people always loved me and showed me respect. People always ask me why I don’t go into representational politics and represent them,” he shared with The Gleaner.”In 2012, South East St Elizabeth Member of Parliament Richard Parchment was passing through on a motorcade and the people stopped him and appointed him their new representative,” Powell recalled.”It is not based on anything – just how I live with the people. I have a passion for people and my community. I always do a lot for people and I have a passion for youth,” he shared.”I am weak for people who are very sick,” Powell said of a recent visit to the Black River Hospital in St Elizabeth.While being respectful of his challenger, who has seen as many as 6,438 persons voting for him in 2007 and 5,689 in 2011, Powell said that he has no fear of the political veteran.”He has been around for some 20-odd years. He is not somebody easily beaten, but that constituency is lacking in many things – infrastructure, growth, and opportunities for the youth. One thing is for certain, I am more confident now about winning than when I just started,” stressed Powell.The PNP last won the seat in 1993 when Melford Brown was voted as MP. Since then, it has been the Hutchinson show.”Victory for the PNP! Victory for North West St Elizabeth and those who support change! I will take it home for the PNP,” Powell predicted.last_img read more

Hunter Pence, Gregor Blanco lead rally, Madison Bumgarner drills walk-off single

first_imgSAN FRANCISCO–Throughout the year, the Giants have celebrated their 60th anniversary in San Francisco by welcoming back legends and heroes from all of their memorable teams.The franchise honored World Series clubs, division title winners and record-setters like Barry Bonds with pregame ceremonies on the field. During Tuesday’s 5-4, 12-inning win over the Padres, a pair of veteran outfielders threw their own tribute.Pending free agents Hunter Pence and Gregor Blanco will soon wave goodbye to …last_img read more

Strengthening Nation Brand advocacy amongst South Africans in Paris, London and Washington D.C.

first_imgBrand South Africa continues to leverage off the potentially positive role that can be played by South African diaspora through its Global South Africans (GSA) initiative. Through targeted engagements with Global South Africans, Brand South Africa has enlisted the talent, experience and credibility of South Africans in the diaspora and strengthened its network of citizens living and working abroad. Over the month of June, we reached out to GSAs in Paris, London and Washington DC, with the aim of encouraging social cohesion and nation brand advocacy among our fellow compatriots.GSA Activation “BRAAI and BAT”, ParisDuring a recent investment roadshow to Europe, Brand South Africa reached out to GSA’s based in France and established relations with South Africans in Paris (SAiP) who have spearheaded the establishment of Le Kraal Isibaya (LEKA), a French registered association based in Paris with the aim of addressing the South African community’s social needs and promoting projects within France. As part of Brand South Africa’s efforts to ensure continuity of engagements with GSAs globally, the organisation partnered with Le Kraal to host a GSA Activation “BRAAI and BAT” during Youth Month. This activation served to strengthen relations with GSAs as it enabled Brand South Africa to reach out to the broader GSA community based in Paris and surrounds thanks to the partnership with Le Kraal.                     South African Youth Day Celebrations, LondonIn the United Kingdom, Brand South Africa partnered with Kasiluv Entertainment to host the South African Youth Day Celebrations in London. This year’s celebrations were intended to mark not only Youth Day, but to also recognise and celebrate 25 years of South Africa’s democracy. The activation attracted families from across the country, and served to strengthen the identity and sense of belonging of the South African community living in the UK.                   GSA Network “Play Your Part” Event, Washington DCSouth Africans living and working in the Beltway Region of the USA were invited to attend a GSA network “Play Your Part” event in Washington DC in partnership with Embassy of South Africa. The theme for this event was guided not only by the key messages emanating from President Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation address, but was also driven by Brand South Arica’s mandate to communicate positive stories by tapping into South Africans in the diaspora as brand ambassadors. GSAs from Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia came to the event, and it is hoped that such events will continue to bring together Global South Africans of all races, gender and creed.last_img read more

All Kinds of Green Poured Into the Yannell House in Chicago

first_imgFor those who have the financial resources to do it, building a deep green house can become an enormous enterprise.Chicago resident Michael Yannell seemed to have embraced that prospect shortly after he acquired a 1908 farmhouse a few years ago and an inspection revealed that the best course of action would be to deconstruct, salvage, and recycle rather than remodel. Yannell then began a quest to build a net-zero energy house that would honor virtually every known green construction, design, and land-use precept, top the LEED for Homes ratings, and become one of the best-known showcases for green living in Chicago, if not the country.It’ll be a little while longer before we know whether the four-bedroom, two-bath house, which is divided into two buildings and cost about $1.6 million to build, earns a LEED Platinum rating, and it will take several months longer to determine whether it can perform to net-zero standards.But Yannell’s full green immersion may be, at the very least, one of the best-documented in recent memory. His team of architects, engineers, designers, and contractors included Chicago-based Farr Associates and general contractor Goldberg General Contracting, as well as Moka Plus Design & Architecture, which is hosting The Yannell House, a Web site devoted to the project, and handling interior design issues such as the home’s furniture and art selection.A product showcaseMoka has in fact developed a program it calls the Yannell Residence Green Interior Design Concept for furnishings, which solicits green products from manufacturers and dealers that will be considered for use in the house. The firm also has a book in the works, “Living Yannell – Living Green,” and plans to publish an online directory of all the products selected by the interior decorating team.The project has attracted the attention of green and real estate bloggers from the get-go, and recently was profiled by ABC-TV affiliate WLS.While most people, even wealthy ones, are unlikely to venture quite this far into the green forest, green-building fans of all stripes will at least be interested to see how well the 2,700-sq.-ft. house operates. In addition to passive solar design features, it is equipped with a PV system, a solar thermal hot-water system, a ground-source heat pump, gray-water and rainwater harvesting systems (both buildings feature butterfly roofs), and a range of sustainable materials, including FSC certified wood (for 95% of the wood used), salvaged walnut flooring, and countertops made from either recycled newspaper and cardboard or recycled glass,In response to one blog post about the house, Yannell wrote that he eventually will list specifics about each material used, adding, “there’s no granite or marble to be found anywhere!”last_img read more

Is it Time to Stop Forfeiting Vacation Days?

first_img Photo credit: Project Time Off Created in Canva by Alicia Cassels Return to article. Long DescriptionWritten by Alicia Cassels, MA, MFLN Military Caregiving Blog ContributorAn American Worker’s DilemmaTo use, or not to use? When it comes to vacation, that is the question faced by millions of American workers each year. Taking hard-earned vacation time is a no-brainer for most workers, right? -Not actually. Results of the 2018 State of American Vacation annual tracking survey indicate that the majority of American workers forfeited vacation time in 2017. According to their most recent report, 52% of workers left a total of 705 million unused vacation days in 2017. Oxford Economics analyzed the dollar value associated with this forfeited vacation time, finding an estimated $62.2 billion dollars in lost benefits. In effect, these workers donated an individual average of $561.00 dollars to their employers in 2017.Why do American Workers Forfeit Their Vacation Time?While a great number of factors influence whether an employee chooses to use their vacation time, the 2018 report examines three specific areas impacting worker decisions to leave time unused.Employees concerned about appearing less dedicated or replaceable if they took a vacation were much less likely to use all their vacation time. In total, 61% of these employees left vacation time unused as compared to 52% overall.Employees who reported that their workload was too heavy to get away were more likely than average to have unused vacation time, with 57% of these employees forfeiting time as compared to 52% overall.Employees who reported a lack of coverage at work, or that no one else could do their job were also more likely to forfeit vacation time, resulting in 56% with unused vacation days as compared to 52% overall.The Case for TravelWhile those who fail to use vacation time may report fear about negative impacts on their careers, American Vacation annual tracking survey results indicate that the opposite is true. Most striking are the results indicating that workers who use their vacation days to travel tend to be more likely to make higher salaries and receive a promotion than non-travelers.“More than half (52%) of mega-travelers reported receiving a promotion in the last two years compared to Americans who use some (44%) or little to none (44%) of their time to travel.”Those who use the majority of their vacation time to travel also report,“higher likelihood of receiving a raise, bonus, or both than homebodies. Employees who used little to none of their vacation time for travel were five percentage points less likely than those who used all or most of their vacation time for travel to report a raise or bonus in the last three years (81% to 86%).”A Promising TrendAmericans are beginning to use more of their vacation time. The 2018 report indicates that America’s vacation culture seems to be changing for the better. In 2017, more employees expressed confidence about using the vacation time they had earned, and more employers encouraged workers to utilize their vacation time. While 52% left unused vacation days on the table, that number represents an improvement over 54 percent in 2016 and 55 percent in 2015.center_img Return to article. Long DescriptionIs it Time for Change?If you have tended to be in the majority, the group of American workers who leave vacation time unused each year, it may be time to rethink that stance. Through experimentation with taking time off for travel you may find that, rather than hindering success at work, using the vacation time you have earned may have a positive effect on your career.Reference:Ustravel.org. (2018). State of American Vacation 2018. [online] Available at: [Accessed 21 Mar. 2019].last_img read more

TOUCH IN SINGAPORE

first_imgOnce again it’s time to take a step back from what’s happening in Australian Touch and have a look at the International scene. In recent months we’ve learnt a little about Touch in Afghanistan, Spain, South Africa and Germany and now I’m back with a story on Touch in Singapore. Singapore is a city, an island and a country all in one, with an area of 647.5 square kilometres and with a population of over 4 million people. Just over 76% of it’s people are Chinese and they speak English, Malay, Mandarin and Tamil. Touch has been played in the Singapore `expat’ community for over 25 years now, with Bryan O’Connor, Touch Singapore Director, confident it was the ANZAC influence in getting people togther for the regular Sunday morning social run that was the main attraction. In 2000, Federation of International Touch (FIT) President Cary Thompson, visited Singapore to instigate coaching and referee development, which lead to the formation of Touch Singapore. They then became affiliated with FIT in the same year. The popularity of Touch is growing and Touch Singapore are well aware that their potential lies in the children and youth. Touch is played regularly on weekends by a group of around 400 adults, in various social divisions, tournaments and competition. However, it is the children that hold the key to the future success of Touch Singapore…Touch is played by thousands of local Singaporean children and youth, it is very popular in the international schools at all levels and O’Connor highlights this as the target market for Touch Singapore. “Touch is still seen as a `girls’ game, as it has been positioned as a support activity for rugby; full contact for boys and Touch for girls. However, more and more male youth are recognizing the growing number of attractive girls playing Touch , so the social aspect is a key, though being beaten by girls has been tough to swallow and the boys are now realising the high skill aspects as well,” he said. “The sooner Touch is recognised as a unique sport, awareness will grow and Touch will be a popular dual sex sport.” Touch Singapore coordinates regular events including: * Modified Touch tournaments and leagues for children and youth aged 8-18, * Intervarsity leagues for university and college teams * 1 Day tournaments that range from club events to social days with the `Country of Origin’ Touch Tournament an annual favourite, being Singapore’s international version of the `State of Origin’ & Trans-Tasman series. * The annual Summer Touch League (STL) & National Touch League (NTL) develops our locals for the Asian Club Touch Championships (now an annual event next being held in July 2006) They are also fast growing a solid reputation on the international stage after sending three sides to compete in the FIT 2003 World Cup in Japan including an Open Womens side, Open Mixed and Masters 40’s, with the World Cup being the first real international competition that many of their players had experienced. The event was an amazing learning experience for the players and sides, with the teams returning from the event keen to keep developing their skills and knowledge, as well as experience. At the 2003 World Cup the Mixed team performed well and the Mens 40’s defeated Japan for the bronze medal, highlighting the potential Touch Singapore has and setting them up for the 2007 World Cup in South Africa. Club teams often travel and compete in `regional’ events in Thailand, Malaysia and Shanghai and they are currently developing their representative teams to compete at the All Nations in New Zealand later this year. “Recently Singapore played India in the first ever International Touch Series staged in Asia and although Touch Singapore teams won the Womens, Mens and Mixed games, both India and our local players benefited from the series and this will build to bigger things in Asia,” said O’Connor. “Touch Thailand has also just returned to Bangkok after a weekend of friendly matches and our sides are looking forward to reciprocating and travelling there, so as to offer some additional development for the tour to New Zealand in October.” The Singapore Women’s team is recognised as the team to beat in Asia and with the Asian Master’s tournament being staged June 11-12 the Singapore club sides will take on teams from Shanghai, Japan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia and beyond. Like every nation, there are hindrances to the sport’s development with players in Singapore facing problems such as lack of funding, lack of recognition for Touch Football as a unique and independent sport to `rugby’, a lack of playing fields and facilities and a lack of government recognition. “All participants fund their own local participation and travel to all tournaments and events. Touch is not supported by the Singapore Sports Council and so must operate as a service / sports provider, whereas other sports are supported as National Sports Associations (NSA) and gain significant funding for player, coaching and technical development and elite athlete activities,” said O’Connor. Singaporeans would not normally pay to compete in sports activities, with National Sports Associations having access to government fields and significant funding so that the individual can participate for free. However, Bryan O’Connor is confident that Touch is slowly gaining recognition and more participants are now realising that if they want to join in, they must pay a minimal amount so as to allow the organizers of the various events to rent fields, pay referees and operate. Touch Singapore are no doubt hopeful that recognition of the sport by the Singapore Sports Council will be not to far down the track. Touch Singapore promotes the Asian Club Touch Championships as an annual event and will launch the World Universities Touch Championships in association with the Asian Clubs. They are now also promoting the inaugural Asian All Schools Touch Championships in December 2005, with the junior event being a tournament for the regional youth enthusiasts to target on an annual basis. O’Connor and Touch Singapore are hoping and believing that this will raise the profile and player numbers in the region. Along with a growing profile comes a growing need for people to run and work the sport and it’s management. Touch Singapore already has two full time employees for the sport, a Development Manager and a Development Officer. In addition, they have a number of part time Program Leaders that assist with junior development. Many of these people are keen to not just play but to also guide younger players and referee so they become fully involved in Touch as a sport for life. While Touch Singapore may not have qualified coaches or referees yet, they are certainly not sitting back and just wishing it would happen. “We are working on developing our technical expertise via the support from Touch NZ, the ATA and state administrations like Touch West and NSW Touch, as all have been very helpful and are eager to assist further,” said O’Connor. “It is through this assistance and support that Touch Singapore has been able to maintain growth in participation, awareness and technical development.” For further information on Touch Singapore please contact: Bryan O’Connor Director Touch Singapore E-Mail: [email protected]g URL: www.touchsingapore.orglast_img

Australian Men’s Squad visit a success

first_imgWe had only just recovered from the return of the ark…. torrential rain, flooding and being cut off from the rest of the civilisation when the god’s descended upon us. It was a day the likes of none I had ever been blessed with the opportunity to witness.Names that will echo in the halls of touch history came to play the greatest sport on earth on a hot balmy weekend in Townsville….. Shuker, Sonda, Day-Berg Muir and Jones just to name a few. Little words can be used to describe how great these God’s were. Their grace, speed and skill (although lacking somewhat on Saturday morning!!!) came to the front on the shores of the great Coral Sea on Saturday afternoon. The 200 willing spectators got a first hand view of the best that the game has on offer.  Chris “Fazz” Farrow put on a try scoring performance, while Drummy and Sonda threw long balls from one end of the Strand Park to the other.  The game could only be described as the most free following game of touch most of the spectators would ever had the opportunity to witness (the fact that there were six referees on the game was a great contributor to this).On a more serious note, the weekend in general was a great success and I’m very pleased to still hear players and people that came down to watch the weekend talking about it.  But by far the most pleasing aspect was that at the recent NTL in Port Macquarie, North Queensland players had the opportunity to catch up with the Australian players and talk about the weekend (something that North Queensland players, except for the very elite, would never have had the opportunity to do). Tony Trad played assistant coach for 2 games, to the North Queensland Open Women at the recent NTL, something that the players and coaching staff were extremely thrilled to have occur.The weekend ran extremely smoothly. On Friday afternoon the team was slit into 2. 1 team visited Kirwan High School and the other William Ross High School. Players conducted drills and training sessions at both schools, photos were taken and players signed whatever the kids put in front of them.Saturday started slowly….it was extremely hot! Tony Trad conducted a coaching session with the Level 2 course attendants and about 25 local coaches. Tony gave an overview of the game as he saw it and then conducted a training session with the Australian men for the coaches to view. Generally most coaches got a great appreciation of where their own limitations lay and general areas of how to improve or bring up to speed the team they are coaching with the latest policies and techniques.Saturday afternoon saw the team head down to Queens Park to conduct a kids coaching clinic. 60 kids of varying ages were run through skill drills, small games and passing techniques.  I think the Aussie men had more fun than the kids as they ran around showing off, the willing and encouraging group of youngsters just watched on in awe.  Again the kids had the chance to have photo’s taken, receive signed touch balls and generally have a chat to the guys after they finished.I think the highlight of the weekend for the players was being drafted into the local Men’s 1st division teams and being able to play within these teams. Both Sharks and Frogs presented their drafted team players with club uniforms as a memento of their time in Townsville. The Aussie team did a great job of backing up after a full day of activity to participate in a game against an invitational Townsville team. Under lights about 300 players and spectators again got to witness the best that Australian Touch has to offer.Sunday morning for 3 lucky young players was probably the highlight of their touch career.  Betty, Alan and Lochie got warm-up, train and play with the Aussie men’s team. They were given playing shirts, subbed off and on and were involved in the half time and full time debriefs.All-in-all the weekend was a huge success and well received by all. This isn’t to say that there weren’t a number of things that could have been done better or improved upon for next time.  General notice period could have been better, organization of the player’s time and commitments could be improved, allowing the players to have greater recovery time.  The heat had a major impact on the players and for next time a winter timing would be far more suitable. The lack of support from regional areas outside Townsville also needs to be improved.I will finish on a really positive note and say that we could not have hoped to have hosted a better bunch of guys. They conducted themselves in an outstanding manner on and off the field.  They made themselves available to the kids, players, coaches, parents and anyone else that wanted their attention. A big thank you to Gavin Shuker, who without this opportunity would never have been possible and also to Tony Trad and TFA for considering and supporting the concept.Now we have a great relationship with the coaching staff and players I believe that we have the opportunity to have more programs like this come North Queensland’s way.Thanks to Anita Hagarty for providing the article content.last_img read more