Bundaberg's Aleena Greenhalgh is in the mix for the Australian team for the 2021 Women’s Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.
Aleena was part of the broader Buildcorp Wallaroos squad which connected for the first time in 2020 with a six-day national camp which concluded on Sunday at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra.
Head coach Dwayne Nestor named 15 Test debutantes, including 28-year-old Aleena, in the squad as Australia continues its preparation for the world titles.
Aleena, who completed Year 12 at Shalom College in 2009, was always an ultra-talented all-rounder, learnt the game of rugby while studying in England, playing for Bristol Bears in 2019, before moving back to Australia and representing Bond University at the AON Uni Sevens.
This year, she made her Queensland Reds Super Women’s debut, covering positions in both the second row and back row, bringing valuable versatility to the squad.
Last week, the Wallaroos’ journey at the tournament was confirmed, which will see Australia take on the tournament hosts as well as Wales and the final qualifier winner in the battle of Pool A.
Aleena, whose parents Shelley and Adrian, are Sharon cane farmers and whose sister Laura is a Bundaberg physiotherapist and grandparents also live here, said the camp was “great”.
“Expectedly I was a little daunted going in, but the girls and coaches provided a great, welcoming environment with everyone supporting and encouraging each other,” she said.
“The training was tough, I've never worked harder or been pushed more in my life, but I learnt a lot very quickly.”
Aleena said the final squad won't get named “until probably August next year” and she will continue to train hard and strive to keep improving her game to achieve what would be her ultimate goal in the sport.
“We have a few tests scheduled prior and the Super W season, but it’s all pretty surreal,” she said.
“I didn't even think I would make the Queensland Reds squad this year but I ended up debuting and then getting invited into Wallaroos’ camp on minimal minutes.
“There's a lot of training and rugby between now and then (final selection) with many talented and hardworking girls all vying for a spot.
“Obviously, it would be a huge honour but I'm just going to focus on training and the learnings I took away from camp.”
Good luck to all players who will contest the various state cricket carnivals throughout South Queensland next week, including the Bulls Masters Youth Carnival at Bundaberg’s Salter Oval from Sunday through to Thursday.
Just three local rising stars will line up for Wide Bay Flames in the Bulls Youth showpiece – top order batsman Ronan Dempsey, left arm seamer Matthew Parker, a grandson of the late Don Tallon, one of Australia’s best ever wicketkeepers who was named as one of Wisden’s five Cricketers of the Year in 1948, alongside the immortal Don Bradman, and Childers all-rounder Jayden Santacaterina.
Wide Bay will raise the curtain on the carnival by playing a T20 game against Central Queensland Seamers at Salter Oval on Sunday night, starting at 6pm.
Wide Bay will also contest Queensland Junior Cricket Under-15 Girls Championships at Redlands with four Bundaberg representatives – captain Lucy Hamilton, Catherine White, April Mathiesen and Julie Munro – and the Under-12 State Carnival at Metropolitan South West with also a quartet of locals – Lenny Henry, Nicholas Delacy, who is fresh from a superb unbeaten 101, a rare feat in Junior Cricket 2, for his club Waves last Saturday, Tom Elphinstone and Charlie Steele.
Emerging superstar Lucy was recently named in the School Sport Queensland 13-15 years Girls Merit Team after captaining Wide Bay to win the title and also claiming the Carnivals Awards for Most Wickets and Best Allrounder.
Schools state representatives of last season, Sam Stuchbery and Lachlan Heycox, will fly the Rum City flag in the combined Wide Bay-Sunshine Coast “Coastal Burners” outfit which will contest the State Under-14 Carnival at The Southport School.
Locally, the Rum City Food Intra Cup continues tomorrow and East Bundy Magpies will be keen to turn the tables on Brothers and join them in second position when they do battle at Salter Oval, while the high-flying Waves will travel to meet the beleaguered Hervey Bay.
State carnivals teams
Bulls Masters Youth Wide Bay: Jack Geldard (c), Harrison Sippel (vc), Oliver Bembrick, Tom Currin, Logan Beutel (wicketkeeper), Ronan Dempsey, Hunter Everard, Matthew Parker, Will Robinson, Nathan Roderick, Jayden Santacaterina, Riley Sippel. Coach: Leanne Sippel, Manager: Matthew Sauer
Wide Bay Under-15 Girls: Grace Collins, Brooke Kington, Shari Andersen, Lucy Hamilton (c), Zoe McKenzie, Charlotte Love, Ruby Orchard, Catherine White, Maddy Bingham, April Mathiesen (wicketkeeper), Rosie McMahon, Julie Munro. Coach: Steve Collins, Manager: Stephen Hamilton
Coastal Burners Under-14: Damon Bass, Cruz Baker, Tighe Morris, Zac Griggs, Luke Sheppard, Sam Stuchbery, Lachlan Heycox, Zane Jankowiak, Ashton Schultz, Brayden Lethbord, Isaac Lutz, Will Noffke. Coach: Len Kirchner, Manager: Travis Schultz.
Wide Bay Under-12: Joshua Williams, Caelan Barr, Cooper Keogh, Lenny Henry, Nicholas Delacy, Tom Elphinstone, Lewis Anderassen, Rory Folker, Marcus Crawford, Dillon Murnane, Toby Brewer, Charlie Steele. Coach: Justin Geldard, Manager: Don Proctor
Bundaberg 16-year-old sensation Isaac Cooper is again expected to be one of the stars at the McDonald’s Queensland Swimming Championships at Chandler from tomorrow through to next Friday.
Two other local young guns will represent Bond University Swimming at the titles, Connor Simms and Tobias Street, while Bundaberg Swim Team will have just three representatives at the meet, Isaac’s brother Ben, Kasey Krueger, and Mimi Woods.
Surf life saving
Bundaberg crew of Kurt Wessel, Mick Parsons, Matt Fasso, Ryan McGregor, and Brendan Woods (sweep) finished a commendable third of 18 behind Maroochydore and Currumbin in the Reserve division of the Navy Surf Boat Series at Sunshine Coast last Saturday.
Kurt said they tried hard but were upstaged by two much younger crews.
He also said they would have a short break before stepping up their preparations for the branch and state titles in the new year.
After being rated as the only legitimate challenger to Fraser Coast Mariners’ quest for back-to-back Bundaberg Elders Insurance Spring Cup titles most of the season, West Barbarians must regroup after their shock 40-5 drubbing by Turtles Brothers last week when they meet again in the semi-final at the Waves Sports Complex at 6.30pm tomorrow.
Barbarians are the only team to beat minor premiers Mariners in their two seasons in the competition – back in round 3 on October 17 – but Turtles may have flown under the radar as after beating West 15-10 in the season opener on October 3, they only lost to their city arch-rivals 24-12 and 17-12 in a barren patch up to a fortnight ago when they were given a rugby lesson by RB Renegades 45-10.
If both sides are at full strength, it will be a battle royale.
Bundaberg trainers Tony Hess, Mary Hassam, and Laura Cronan each have strong winning chances at the XXXX Gold Christmas Party meeting at Thabeban Park tomorrow, with Majiang (Maiden), Miss Ready Now (Benchmark 55) and Gambit (Benchmark 65).
Majiang, which has run third twice and fourth at the past three Bundaberg meetings, will never get a better chance to break through over the 1090m course against seven rivals which have collectively registered just two third placings in 46 starts between them.
Seven-year-old mare Miss Ready Now will be making her track debut, but she has been racing well at Rockhampton, although the likely favourite is fellow local, the in-form Shenzi, from the Darryl Gardiner stables.
Gambit is a last-start Kilcoy winner and has two wins and a third from three completed races at the Park, losing his rider on the other occasion.
Last-start Nanango victor All Eez appeals in the open handicap, where there are no local runners, while there are three locals in the remaining event, the Class B, but in a mediocre field, Gympie gelding Scruff ‘n’ Stuff, which won a Bundaberg maiden at his last outing on September 5, looks the one to beat.
For anyone wishing to go to the races, General admission tickets must be pre-purchased online. To buy tickets, follow link on Bundaberg Race Club Facebook page.
Brothers Hurricanes have top spot in Pool A wrapped up regardless of the outcome of their Bundaberg Spring Cup last-round clash with Waves Rollers at the Super Park tomorrow.
In Pool B, Natives Rosellas, who are seven-point leaders over Waves Sunrays, will meet them in what promises to be a close contest, while Brothers Twisters are 14 points clear at the top of the Pool C table.
Alloway Green look to have Pool D No. 1 secure, as do Fusion Dans Auto Elite who are 20 points in front in Pool F, but Pool E is set to go right down to the wire with Waves Sunfish on 61 but Natives Galahs breathing down their necks on 59.
Outright top spot in the Hervey Bay A Grade Ladies competition will be up for grabs when joint-leaders Terrors and Waves Tsunamis meet at the Bay tomorrow in the last round before the Christmas recess, while at Brothers Sports Club, United Firesticks will look to bounce back from a Terrors attack last week when they do battle with last placed Bargara Bullets.
In the A Grade Men’s, leaders United Heat will take on last placed Bargara Bombers at Brothers, while at the Bay, two of the three equal-second placed sides will go head-to-head, Terrors and Misfits, and the other team which has a share of second, Waves Schooners, will slug it out with Maryborough, who are only three points behind them.
Louise Cameron, of Goodwood, and Craig Emery, who hails from Moura, each claimed doubles at this week’s Bundaberg meeting, with the former taking out the Maiden with Hurling and a 460m 5th Grade with Ragin’ Comet.
Craig saluted the judge with Sumatran Star, which recorded his 16th win in 37 starts in the Mixed 2nd/3rd Grade, and Cisco Sniper, which broke through for his first win in eight Bundaberg starts in the 5th Grade Pathway Non-Penalty.
The rich Young Guns final was won by My Bro Beach, which improved on his heat second to Savoir, which was scratched, to triumph for Bouldercombe trainer Darren Taylor, while Bundaberg Cup winning trainer Peter O’Reilly, of Yamanto, continued his run of success in the Free For All with Hello Mavis, which had been runner-up at Albion Park and Casino at her previous three outings.
Three District trainers were also among the winners, Ron Hawkshaw with Abby Court (Novice Non Penalty), which had been placed at her first three starts at the Park, David Raines, who was a surprise winner with Extra Coins in a 460m 5th Grade, and Paul Burgess with Naughty Streak in the Mixed 4th/5th Grade.