Across The Leagues

Swan veteran racks up 250 games

Luke Riches, centre, played his 250th game with Alvie at the weekend. He is pictured with his daughter Lulu and son Alfie.

ALVIE midfielders Liam McGuane and Danny Allan were just out of prams when team-mate Luke Riches made his senior debut.

Riches, 34, stands out these days in Alvie’s predominantly young list, and reaching the 250-game milestone at the weekend is something few of his team-mates have done.

After playing his first senior game for Camperdown in 1995, where he played in junior and reserve premierships, Riches moved to Warrion to work on his uncle Tim McCarthy’s dairy farm.

“My uncle Tim McCarthy was a born-and-bred Alvie man, I’d moved to Shepparton to study ag science and he got me over the holidays to come down and milk the cows,” Riches said.

“I’ve been doing that ever since and got involved with Alvie footy club around then – that was in 1997,” he said.

Riches played in Alvie’s breakthrough premiership three years later after two consecutive failed attempts, defeating Lorne 13.6 (84) to 10.17 (77) under John Henry.

Riches has played a consistent role in the Swans’ midfield ever since, taking out club best and fairest awards in 2002 and ’04 as well as captaining the side for four years.

“The grand final – that was great, that and my two club best and fairests were pretty big highlights for me,” he said.

Riches has played alongside some of the best players in Colac district football including Paul Cass, Luke McLennan, Michael “Spike” Parker and Michael “Dallas” O’Brien, but rated former Swan and 2010 Jack Mahoney medallist Andrew Kelly as the best onballer he’d seen in Colac district football.

These days it’s rare for a footballer to play 250 games at one club, and it’s a milestone the veteran holds in high regard.

“I’d hoped I’d make it that far, I guess I’ve been pretty lucky with injury up until four or five years ago when I had to have a knee reconstruction,” Riches said.

“Alvie’s a good family club, I went there because of my uncle and I’ve got a young family of my own now with kids Lulu and Alfie. The club’s pretty supportive,” he said.

Key Bomber to miss rest of the season

Bomber Brad Gore will miss the rest of Irrewarra-Beeac's campaign after breaking his leg.

by Aidan Fawkes

A BROKEN leg and a premature end to season 2011 weren’t what Brad Gore had in mind for a 21st birthday present.

The hard-nosed Irrewarra-Beeac midfielder will miss the rest of the Bombers’ campaign after breaking his left leg against Western Eagles.

The horrific incident came hours before he celebrated his 21st birthday at Colac pool room Straight Shooters.

But Gore still managed to make his own party, despite it being a lower-key affair than he initially hoped.

“It was a good night. I was able to hop around a bit and have a dance,” he said.

“I had to lay off the beers, I had a few painkillers. I had a pretty good night.”

Gore had received a handball out of a pack in the second quarter at Irrewarra Recreation Reserve when his stellar season came to a crashing halt.

“As I was going to kick on my right foot, the Western Eagles player tried to smother me and rolled through my left leg,” Gore said.

“The pain wasn’t too bad. I thought I’d just done ligaments. When he came through I heard a fair few loud cracks,” he said.

“My first thought was it was my 21st that night and I was a bit worried I wasn’t going to attend that.”

Gore said X-rays at Colac Area Health about an hour after the incident revealed he had broken the leg.

His first major football injury will have him sidelined for at least six weeks, but more likely eight to 10 weeks with physiotherapy.

“I don’t think I’ll be playing football again this year, which is a bit shattering,” Gore said.

The injury is a major blow to Irrewarra-Beeac’s premiership aspirations.

The 20-year-old – he turns 21 on Friday – has been one of the Bombers’ best taking on more responsibility with Dan Casey, David Dunne and Luke Vickers out of last year’s premiership team.

Gore said the departures had paved the way for the likes of Luke Hillman and Josh Armstrong to play senior football.

He said a premiership in 2011 would be the most special of a possible Bombers’ four-peat.

“If we were to make the grand final, it’d be a sweet one to win because we’re more of the underdogs this year,” he said.

“I wouldn’t write us off yet, so to speak. We’ve got as good a chance as anyone else.”

Is Ash McLachlan the unluckiest teenage footballer?

Western Eagle Ash McLachlan was in good spirits this week despite suffering his second major knee injury.

WESTERN Eagles ruckman Ash McLachlan could be one of the unluckiest teenagers in Colac district football.

At just 17 years old, the young Eagle has suffered his second major knee injury in his side’s loss to Irrewarra-Beeac at Irrewarra Recreation Reserve.

McLachlan received a knock to his left knee in the first quarter and was unable to return to the field.

“It was in a marking contest, I must have copped a knock to the outside of the knee as I came down,” he said.

“I was in a fair bit of pain, I hobbled off to the bench where I had it strapped with a bit of deep heat.

“I was doing some sprints hoping to come back on but as I was doing some bounds it made a cracking noise and collapsed under me.”

Saturday’s injury came more than two years since McLachlan ruptured ligaments in his right knee requiring a full knee reconstruction which kept him sidelined for the entire season 2009.

He recovered to return for the first round of 2010, and built up enough strength to play his first game of senior football as well as a host of games alongside his father and Eagles veteran Tony McLachlan.

But Ash said his latest injury was not as severe as his first.

“This time it has recovered a lot quicker and I’m walking on it a bit sooner, which is promising,” he said.

He will visit a physio on Friday with the best-case scenario a contusion to the knee which would keep him sidelined for just two weeks.

The worst-case scenario would involve an arthroscopy to clean out damaged meniscus cartilage, requiring a recovery period of up to six weeks.

McLachlan, a Trinity College Year 12 student, said the injury was “definitely” disappointing at a time when the Eagles were enjoying a boost of confidence sparked from their win against Apollo Bay two weeks ago.

The win was also the final senior clash for McLachlan’s father Tony.

“It was an awesome feeling to get the win,” Ash said.

“We’re all improving and we’re starting to bond together, so it’s a pity I’m going to miss a few weeks,” he said.

Buchanan brothers battle in Queensland

by Aidan Fawkes

YOUNGER brother Micah has taken the honours against AFL player Amon in a “Battle of the Buchanans” played out almost 2000 kilometres from home.

The Colac football exports are plying their trades in the North East Australian Football League – Micah for Aspley and Amon for Brisbane Lions’ reserves.

They came face to face on the field for the first time this season on Saturday, with Aspley taking the honours 21.11 (137) to 13.11 (89) at its Graham Road headquarters.

Micah booted three goals, all in the first half as Aspley raced to a 40-point lead, while Amon was among the better players for the losers and kicked a goal.

The two played on each other for the first quarter, with Amon attempting to shut down his dangerous brother.

The Buchanans’ father Tom and mother Ann ventured north for the match and Mr Buchanan said the match was a good spectacle.

“It was pretty exciting. I’ve watched a lot of footy over the years but I enjoyed the game,” he said.

“It was a special occasion for Aspley, it was their gala dinner. They hadn’t won four games in a row since they started the league.

“They knew it’d be a long haul because it’s a pretty strong comp.”

Mr Buchanan said Micah would be close to leading the best and fairest award for the NEAFL’s northern conference – for Queensland and Northern Territory teams.

He said Amon, a former Sydney premiership player, was “a bit frustrated” not playing in the Lions’ seniors in the AFL, with blooding young footballers a priority.

“He’s working hard in the twos. The week before he had 47 touches and 26 clearances and still didn’t get a berth,” he said.

“He’s got to keep his head down and bum up and work hard.”

Micah and another Colac export, James Linton, are studying naturopathy in Brisbane and playing football for Aspley.

The youngest Buchanan brother, Callum, is working as a barista and was solid in Aspley’s reserves’ massive win against Labrador.

Another former Colac Tiger, Marcus Crook plays in the NEAFL’s eastern conference, for Canberra-based club Ainslie.

Bay shooter receives all clear

by Lachlan Cowlishaw

DOCTORS have given Apollo Bay goaler Jodie Bertrand the all clear after she sustained a sickening head injury against Simpson.

Bertrand travelled to Geelong yesterday to receive news that scans had cleared her of head fractures.

The Hawks star was contesting a lobbed pass early in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s clash when she tripped and fell backwards, putting her in hospital.

“I was just going back for the ball and landed on my bottom and flicked the head back – I hit the ground pretty hard,” Bertrand said.

“It was pretty painful and I felt the back of my head and felt a dint there,” she said.

“The ambulance took me to the Apollo Bay hospital and the doctor there had a bit of a feel of my head and said it was quite soft and there was some bruising and swelling.

“He thought it was a good idea to go to Geelong and get the scans done and make sure there were no fractures.”

Bertrand has netted 242 goals for the Hawks this season and sits second in competition goal scoring.

She said she would take time off work to rest and recover and expected to miss Saturday’s clash against Forrest.

Shoulder injury denies Bomber a Victorian berth

A SHOULDER injury will keep Irrewarra-Beeac coach Khan Beckett from representing the Victorian Country Football League on Saturday.

Beckett was one of three Colac district footballers, along with South Colac assistant coach Clay Brewer and spearhead Ben Cox, who attended the final training session at Albert Park to select a VCFL Two squad to take on the Victorian Amateur Football League.

Selectors picked ruckman Brewer, who has played in the team the past two years, as an emergency.

But coach John Cossar said selectors did not want to risk Beckett’s shoulder for the one-off match.

“Khan was ruled out because of the injury which was extremely unfortunate, he would have made the team but we didn’t want him to further injure himself in the match,” he said.

“Clay will be our emergency, which was just a team balance thing.”

Beckett and Brewer both represented the team at the 2010 Australian Country Football Championships, which are every second year.

But Cossar said that just “three or four” players from last year’s list had made the squad this season.

“The side is comparable to previous years, we just wanted to have a look at a few more players,” he said.

“It’s important we have a win this weekend, but we’re keeping our eye on the bigger picture and having a look at a few more players before the championships come around again next year.”

The good news for South Colac is that Brewer and Cox will be available for selection in Saturday’s top-of-the-table clash with Birregurra.

Roos coach Stephen Hammond, who is an assistant coach with the VCFL One squad, will miss the clash.

Former Alvie gun dominating for Maldon

FORMER Alvie superboot Christian Kelly is continuing to do what he does best – kick goals.

The Maldon full forward, playing in the Maryborough Castlemaine District Football League, booted 16 of them in the Bombers’ 211-point demolition of Royal Park at the weekend.

The tally was the equal-highest across country Victoria.

Maldon won 35.22 (232) to 3.3 (21) at Bill Woodfull Recreation Reserve, its home ground.

Kelly leads the league goal kicking with 70 goals at an average of seven a game.

But the Maldon coaching staff are harsh markers – he has only been in the Bombers’ best three times from 10 matches.

Maldon is the defending MCDFL premier and shares top spot with Lexton, with both sides having nine wins and a loss. Navarre is a game further back.

Falcons back on winners’ list

GEELONG Falcons are rejoicing after a convincing win against the Northern Knights.

The Falcons defeated the Knights 19.12 (126) to 12.10 (82) in the under-18 TAC Cup at Preston City Oval in Melbourne’s north.

The win came after a disappointing loss last weekend and suggests the Falcons’ season is back on track.

Colac’s Ryan Monaghan, Camperdown’s Fraser Lucas and Colac’s Meyrick Buchanan all displayed impressive performances.

Monaghan racked up 23 disposals, Buchanan collected 36 and kicked two goals while Lucas had 26 touches.

The Falcons were up by five points at quarter time, kicking four goals to three in a closely contested first quarter.

They then clicked into gear, kicking seven goals to one in the second term.

This was a defining period in the match, given the teams were evenly matched in the second half.

This win advances the Falcons into fourth spot and provides an injection of confidence going into this weekend’s game against in-form Calder Cannons at Skilled Stadium.

Colac boundary umpire Kris Marshall will make his TAC Cup umpiring debut at the clash.

Victoria Country set for rivalry clash

Vic Country is preparing for a highly-anticipated clash with interstate rival Vic Metro today, and two Colac district footballers will be on the team.

The teams meet at Etihad Stadium for the first time in NAB AFL Under-18 Championships, with Metro yet to suffer defeat.

Vic Country, featuring Camperdown’s Sam Gordon and Cobden’s Jackson Merrett, is coming off a confidence-boosting win against Western Australia on Friday.

Vic Country dominated WA in the second, third and fourth quarters clocking a final score of 12.13 (85) to 5.6 (36).

Gordon and Merrett played their part in the victory with a total of 17 disposals and five marks between them.

Vic Country could claim top spot on the ladder in Division One with a win today.

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