HomeSportLocal sport: Hockey families, Shalom triumph in league

Local sport: Hockey families, Shalom triumph in league

Aitkenhead and Kendall-Wightman are a force in local hockey – Back row (left to row) Dean, Reegan, Hailey,  Emma, Sam, Liza; (Middle) Colin, Sue, Olivia, Gabby; (Front) Courtney, Beau, Levi and Sophie.
The Aitkenhead and Kendall-Wightman families are a force in Bundaberg hockey – Back row (left to row) Dean, Reegan, Hailey, Emma, Sam, Liza; (Middle) Colin, Sue, Olivia, Gabby; (Front) Courtney, Beau, Levi and Sophie.

Sports columnist Vince Habermann looks at Bundaberg Hockey's family dynasties and Shalom College winning a prestigious rugby league title, and much more.

Siblings Sue Kendall and Colin Aitkenhead and their extended families are certainly a phenomenon in Bundaberg Hockey and the families’ connections and influence just keep growing.

Sports Talk with Vince Habermann

Two more iconic hockey families are interwoven in the story through Sue’s partner Dean Wightman and Colin’s wife Liza (nee Callaghan).

Sue is the youngest of six siblings, all of whom played hockey, just like their mother Judy, who started her career with Ajax before becoming a foundation member of the Athletics club, and many of her brothers and sisters, and their late grandparents Norm and Patricia Fuhrman-Luck, who were also players, along with many of their 10 children.

Sue has seven children, Waltina and Regan, who have moved away for work and university and no longer play, and five who also live and breath the game, Hailey, Emma, Courtney and twins Levi and Beau, while Dean has two hockey loving daughters, Olivia and Reegan.

Like their parents, all of the children are heavily involved in the Raiders/Rovers club and hockey at broader levels.

Colin and Liza have three children, Sam, Gabby and Sophie, all of whom play for Waves Cities, the Callaghan family’s life-time club which Liza starred in for over three decades, and which her siblings Angela (Asnicar) and Michael also championed throughout their careers.

Busy time for hockey families

Saturdays are huge days for Sue and Dean’s hockey family, starting with Under 11, where Courtney (10) plays with her younger brothers Levi and Beau (7), before Courtney and Levi back up to join Emma, one of the leaders in the team in Under 13, where Sue is coach, and Levi always “gives the older players a run for their money”.

Then comes Under 16, which is Hailey’s age group, and she helps guide the team around, with Emma also stepping up.

To complete the day, there are four time slots in the afternoon for senior games and at least one member of their blended family is usually playing or umpiring in all of them.

Hailey and Sue get to play together in Senior Women every weekend she is included in the team, with the Junior players rotated around, so that their up and comers all get a chance to play, and mother and daughter have both scored in the same game a couple of times.

Dean is also coach of this senior women’s team that also includes Olivia, while Reegan was an integral member of the team until her season was cut short due to COVID and the impending birth of her first child in October.

Additionally, Dean is player/coach of the Rovers/Raiders senior men’s team and also operates the Just Hockey store that is open all day Saturdays at Hinkler Park and is manned by himself, Olivia and Reegan.

When Dean is not in the store or playing, he is either coaching or umpiring.

“We are always supported at hockey on Saturdays by Granny (Lorraine) and Pa (Brent), Dean’s Parents who watch most games and offer their wisdom and advice,” Sue said.

Dean and Sue are currently members of the Australian Master’s Hockey teams (50+ and 40+ respectively) that were supposed to play in the 2020 Masters World Cups in Cape Town, South Africa and Nottingham, England this year, but these world cups have been postponed 12 months to August and September 2021.

Colin played hockey for over 40 years, about half in Bundaberg and all but the last two of his 22 seasons here were with Arrows/Athletics but he played his last two years for Cities before retiring at the end of the 2018 season.

His children are also involved in all junior age divisions, with Sophie in Under-11 and Under-13, where she teams with Gabby with Liza as coach, and Gabby doubling up to join forces with Sam in Under-16, while Sam doubles up to Senior Men, where he is always also in the thick of things in a star-studded team.

Sue described Sam as “a phenomenal player”.

“Sam just made Wide Bay Open School Boys and has represented Queensland on a number of occasions in both field hockey and indoor hockey, while Gabby has also represented Wide Bay, as has Hailey and Olivia,” Sue said.

But wait, there’s more…the Bundaberg hockey families’ connections extend much further.

“My cousin Brendan Cook plays Senior Men for Arrows/Athletics, as do his children Hamish and Freya in Juniors, Brendan’s wife Tracey coaches the Arrows U-11 team with her sister Kirsty McCulloch, and another cousin Keith Scherer also plays in the Arrows/Athletics senior men’s team,” Sue said.

“These names listed above are our immediate family but there are many other family connections through marriage within the Bundy Association and there are many many members of the extended Fuhrman-Luck family playing and heavily involved in clubs all over this beautiful state of Queensland from Cairns through to Brisbane and most towns in between, many of whom have represented at every level.

“We love our hockey, I think my Grandfather would be so proud of the dynasty he began and the passion we all share for this wonderful game.”

The last round of fixtures will be played tomorrow, with in seniors, Cities meeting Raiders/Rovers, with the men at 2pm and women at 6.30pm when the two unbeaten side battle it out for first place and direct passage ton the grand final after the pair have battled out scoreless draws in their first two meetings this season.

Arrows will aim up against All Blacks with the women at 3.30pm and with both teams level on points, it will be the winner takes all with the winner to advance to the semi-final and the loser to bow out, or if it is a draw, third place will be awarded to Arrows with a superior net for and against of -12 to -20.

Their men’s clash will follow at 5pm with Arrows facing the mammoth task of needing to win by at least five goals to edge All Blacks out of third place and the finals.

Rugby League

Rugby league rookie centre Matt Jackson bagged a hat-trick of tries in a robust all-round performance to spearhead Shalom College to a come-from-behind 30-6 victory over Aldridge State High School Maryborough in the Fraser Coast Broncos Challenge Open grand final at the Waves Sports Complex on Wednesday afternoon.

Jackson, a dual Queensland cricket representative and Bundaberg Cricket Division 1 premiership winning young gun earlier this year, continued his stunning emergence as a potential future star of another game.

Aldridge began well and drew first blood with a converted try in the 10th minute, but Shalom weathered the storm, turned the tide and took a slender 8-6 half-time lead with two tries in the last five minutes, with firstly Matthew making a break and presenting a perfect pass for second rower Aaron Cunnington to score, then another league convert winger Will Zahn also finishing well.

A booming 40/20 kick by live wire halfback Brendan Grills, also a cricket star, paved the way for Matthew’s first try 10 minutes into the second stanza, and he struck twice more in the next nine minutes, before winger Brynn Harrap won the race to the ball from a kick to the in-goal and grounded it and Zander Kerr landed his third conversion.

Shalom College celebrate their victory in the Fraser Coast Schools Broncos Challenge grand final
Shalom College celebrate their victory in the Fraser Coast Schools Broncos Challenge grand final.

Coach Neil Feather named Brendan and barnstorming forward Chelson Diggins as their other best on the night.

“But the team played very well together with all performing their roles which allowed us to get good field position in the second half and ultimately take advantage of that,” Mr Feather said.

Shalom won the Bundaberg Broncos Challenge last year but it was cancelled this year due to Covid-19.

A number of Shalom students will line up on both sides when first placed Wests Panthers meet last placed Waves Tigers in what will be a Bundaberg Under-18 battle royale at Salter Oval this Sunday.


Sienna Clarke and Asia Heaps were pleased with their performance at the Time Trials at Bucca last Saturday
Sienna Clarke and Asia Heaps were pleased with their performance at the Time Trials at Bucca last Saturday

Twenty-two district rowers had a perfect hit-out for the Maryborough Bridge to Bridge Time Trials with time trials over the same distance, 13km, on the Kolan River, starting and finishing at the Bucca Bridge last Saturday.

Coach and trials co-ordinator Berry Brown said all who competed “went well”, including 20-year-old singles ace Joe Brown and Queensland age champions Sienna Clark and Asia Heaps.

Joe, a physiotherapy student at Central Queensland University, said there would be no-one else in his division tomorrow, but he will be “hoping to beat (his) time (about 1 hour 13 minutes) from last year”.


Bingera powered on at the top of the Wide Bay Premier League table with Garry O’Donnell bagging four goals to spearhead them to an 8-2 victory over Bargara on Wednesday night. While Brothers-Aston Villa (BAV) defeated Across The Waves (ATW) for the second time this season, 3-1, courtesy of a Jarryd Bennier double.

Diggers unfortunately was forced to forfeit against United Park Eagles (UPE).

There are three games at Martens Oval at 6pm tomorrow, with UPE taking on Sunbury, BAV up against KSS Jets and Diggers taking on Bargara, while ATW travel to Maryborough to meet Granville.

On Sunday, ATW coach John Brillante and his son Jack’s eyes will be on the A League grand final when his younger son Josh lines up for Melbourne City against Sydney FC, the club with which he won several premierships and grand finals before transferring this season.

In the Bundaberg men’s division, Thomas Dee was a hero, coming off the bench to score a late winner to defeat competition leaders BAV 3-2 last Friday, a crucial result, consolidating fourth position for them, while Villa retains No. 1.

In the Ladies League tonight, at 6pm, it is ATW v ATW Saints, Bingera v Diggers and SC Corinthians Lionesses v UPE Black, while at 7.45pm, Bingera Cutters do battle with ATW United and Bargara takes on the high flying UPE.


There will be no AFL Wide Bay Seniors games in Bundaberg tomorrow with both in Hervey Bay.

New leaders, Across The Waves Eagles will be able to shore up a top-two finish if they are able to topple the resurgent Hervey Bay Bombers, while the sky could be the limit when reigning premiers Bay Power, who have lost their last two matches to surrender an eight-point lead on the ladder, take on Brothers Bulldogs, who have been battered from pillar to post

Horse racing

Vow and Declare, last year’s Melbourne Cup winner which is part-owned by former Bundaberg family of Anthony Lanskey and his two sons Ben and Lachlan, is gearing up for the race that stops a nation once again and is set to start his new campaign in a few weeks’ time after he “looked good” in a recent trial at Flemington.

Ben, who excelled in a range of sports during his school years, was the Shalom College captain in 2011 and now works as a property lawyer in Brisbane, said the gelding “had a disappointing autumn” including finishing well back in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes in Sydney but “ran on a very heavy track which didn’t suit and took a lot out of him”.

“But he is a much bigger and stronger horse now and (trainer) Danny O’Brien is really happy with him and at this stage, he is looking to keep effectively the same program as last year, so he will kick off his spring in the Makybe Diva Stakes in mid-September over 1600m, then on to the Turnbull Stakes (2000m), followed by the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups,” Ben said.

“The lack of international presence this year is definitely a positive for the local horses but it probably means that Vow will be given the top weight and that will make it tough to repeat last year’s effort but not beyond him – I’m quietly confident he will be able to carry the additional weight.

“I am particularly keen to see him go around in the Caulfield Cup because I don’t think it will be as strong as the Melbourne Cup and he will be third up and almost peaking – I can’t wait for the spring – albeit very disappointing we can’t go down and watch him live.”

Ben also said that his dad Anthony, a former long-running deputy principal at Bundaberg State High School, is still principal at Gympie State High and president of Australian Schoolboys Rugby League, and that his mother Siobhon is also still teaching there.

Also, Lachlan, a multiple former Queensland age rugby league representative who played several seasons for Brisbane Broncos in the former National Youth League, is playing for Carina in the Brisbane A Grade competition while working at the Bank of Queensland in Capalaba, despite having had four shoulder reconstructions.


Trainer Ken Boody, of Dalma, profited from two Bundaberg meetings in the space of three days, claiming three winners across the two race-fests.

Last Friday, Boody got the money with Oriental Ollie (Masters 5th Grade) and Dyna Smokey (Best 8), before Oriental Ollie backed up to also triumph in another Masters 5th Grade on Monday.

Bundaberg trainer Paul Burgess picked up a Friday double with Naughty Streak (Novice Non Penalty) and Wildlash Lou (5th Grade), while Travis Elson (Yandina Creek) took out a race-to-race double on Monday with litter siblings All Aces (Bundaberg Sprint heat) and Hope’s Heist (5th Grade).

Scott McGuiness (Regency Downs) won the opening event on both days, claiming a Friday quinella with Sky Runner and Millers Beach in a maiden, before beating all comers with Farmor Northerns in a Bundaberg Maiden 1000 heat on Monday.

Six district trainers were each also among the winners across the dual-race days, with Kevin Bryant (Tiaro), Ron Hawkshaw (Biggenden) and Lindsay McCarthy (Bundaberg) successful with Easy Al, Dinah Shian and Severine respectively, all in fifth grades on Friday.

On Monday, Ron Brook (Gin Gin) saluted the judge with debutant Hillbilly Boots (Bundaberg Maiden Heat), Phillip Carter (Yandaran) prevailed with Fernando Tears (Mixed 3rd/4th Grade), and Ricky Hassall (Torbanlea) made the second Bundaberg Sprint heat his own with Elegant Eleanor which completed four straight wins, all at Thabeban Park.