Across the leagues

Panther hangs up boots

Colac district football veteran Lindon Codling has retired from the sport after almost four decades. Codling pulled the pin following Colac Panthers’ win against Bendigo on Sunday.

FOOTBALLER Lindon Codling is hanging up the boots after one of the longest careers in Colac district football history.

Codling, 52, pulled the pin on his career following Colac Panthers’ Superrules latest clash after almost 40 years in the sport.

The experienced full-back said he hadn’t planned to call time on his career until pulling up sore for the last time following the 9.6 (60) to 6.6 (42) win against Bendigo.

“I’ve had a dodgy knee but it was probably the back, I’d had a bit of trouble the last couple of years,” he said.

“It was doctors’ advice as well, I went to spin away from a guy on the weekend and it hurt, and thought that was it.”

Sunday’s match was Codling’s 140th Superrules clash in 16 years for the Panthers.

He was one of the club’s inaugural members, after Greg Finn approached him to join the team.

“There was a practice match against Geelong at Western Oval in ’94, Finny approached me and I thought ‘why not?’,” Codling said.

“I never expected to play this many, I thought turning 50 would be the cut-off point and if I made it that far I’d be happy,” he said.

Codling, who coaches Western Eagles’ reserves team, made a name for himself in Colac district football circles as a key defender for Colac Imperials, where he played 157 senior games before finishing at age 37.

He said the premierships the team achieved during the early ‘90s were the highlight of his four-decade career.

“Grand finals are always a highlight, and I represented a couple of leagues along the way,” he said.

“In terms of Superrules, we won our division at a Geelong carnival for Vic Country in 1997 which was pretty good.”

Codling said the social aspect of the team would keep him involved with the Panthers despite hanging up the boots.

“We’re all there for the same reason, to have a bit of fun, kick the footy and a few drinks after that,” he said.

“That’s what attracts players more than anything, the social aspect – there are some darn good bus trips too.”

Ruckman reaches ton

Alvie ruckman Scott Nolan played his 100th senior match against South Colac on Saturday.

Alvie ruckman Scott Nolan has had an enviable record during his six years with the Swans.

Nolan, 27, has played finals football every year since donning the red and white for the first time in 2006.

And after playing his 100th senior game in the Swans’ loss to South Colac at the weekend, Nolan said he had not taken for granted reaching the business end of the season.

“I played all my junior football and two years of senior footy at Colac and hadn’t played in any finals,” he said.

“I was playing cricket out at Alvie and I had a few mates there, so I crossed to play footy with them, back when Brendan Finnigan was coaching.

“And I’ve been lucky enough to play finals since, which have probably been the highlight of my career.”

Good mates like Luke McLennan, Justin McGuane and Luke McCarthy have kept Nolan at the club, giving the big man a chance to ruck alongside current and former Colac district midfield stars like Andrew Kelly, Paul Cass and Luke Riches.

“Cassy never seems to stop, he’ll probably go for a couple more seasons,” Nolan said.

“And Andrew Kelly and Nackers are both hard-at-it players, they’re always in and under the packs,” he said.

But unfortunately for Nolan and his team-mates, a premiership has eluded the club since 2000.

Third-place finishes in 2008, ‘09 and ‘10 were the closest Nolan had come to a premiership cup, and with the Swans sitting ninth with a 4-9 record after 14 rounds, September action could elude the Alvie big man for the first time.

“We’ve been a bit unlucky with injury, losing three preliminary finals,” he said.

“The club’s lost a few players this year, but we’ve got a good young group and if we stick together we should be back up again pretty soon.”

Nolan was the Swans’ second senior milestone man this season after Luke Riches notched up game number 250 a fortnight ago.

• If anyone at your club is celebrating a milestone, contact the Colac Herald at sport@colacherald.com

New-look Saints turn it around

by Lachlan Cowlishaw

Birregurra defender Temae McCormack says her team is ready for a finals assault.

Birregurra defender Temae McCormack says a new coach and fresh recruits have revitalised the Saints this season.

McCormack, 25, witnessed Birregurra’s transformation from finals afterthought to finals contender, all in 12 months.

The addition of experienced coach Jenny Keast combined with recruits including Edwina Blackney and Emma Salmon, helped propel the Saints to third spot on the ladder.

McCormack, a 15-year Saints veteran, said Keast brought energy and enthusiasm to a club which had struggled for finals success.

“She’s a calm coach and everyone feels quite calm and happy around her,” she said.

“She speaks to us on a personal level and she’s not harsh or anything – she’s firm but fair.”

McCormack said Keast helped unite the team after the disappointment of 2010’s ninth-placed performance.

“She’s been around netball a while and we’re all getting along really well,” she said.

“It’s been a huge boost from other times’, bringing us together quite a lot.”

McCormack said the combination of old and new Saints players had been a recipe for success.

“A few of us have been there for a few years getting used to each other,” she said.

“We’ve played together for a while now and having those few extras – we’ve combined really well.

“Edwina, she’s fantastic and Emma Salmon as well.”

The Saints’ road to finals is arguably one of the hardest in the competition, with games against Alvie, Apollo Bay, Irrewarra-Beeac, and Colac Imperials.

McCormack said the clash against the undefeated Irrewarra-Beeac would be a good indicator of what the Saints could produce in finals.

“Definitely for us a win against Irrewarra would be great, we have to fight for it and it’s definitely going to be tough,” she said.

“We did quite well against South, we’re not just any old team anymore, we’ll try our best and see what we can do.”

McCormack said the Saints were cautious of not getting ahead of themselves.

“It is a week-by-week thing but you still have to look for that future, you want to stay in it and fight, you want to make it as far as you can go,” she said.

“It’s great to have tough competition every week – it means you’ve got to fight for it.”

Club boosted by champion’s return

by Alex White

A familiar face has boosted the struggling Apollo Bay Football Club.

Former five-time club champion Rahni Buchanan, who semi-retired at the end of 2010, pulled his boots back on for the Hawks in their 79-point Coastal Cup loss to Lorne at Apollo Bay.

The three-time Hawks premiership midfielder was among his team’s best players rotating through the forward line and middle, and coach Brian Brown said Buchanan hadn’t lost his touch.

“It was terrific, he played pretty well – he was easily in our best three,” Brown said.

“He mainly played up forward and had a bit of a run on the ball,” he said.

Brown said Buchanan’s presence on Saturday also provided a moral boost for his struggling team, which suffered from a pre-season player exodus and sits winless at the bottom of the Colac District Football League ladder.

“He was just terrific to have in the rooms before the game, he taped ankles, took warm ups and it was great to have someone like that to help,” he said.

Brown said that although Buchanan got through the match unscathed, he was unsure whether the former Colac Tiger would play again this season.

“We spoke to him last week and we were a bit short and he said he would have a kick,” he said.

“He was a bit non-committal after the game, we’ll have a yarn to him throughout the week and see what happens from there,” Brown said.

The Hawks have three games left this season before their final round bye and Brown said there was plenty to achieve in the next month.

“We can still beat Alvie in the last game and we’re playing two of the tops sides in the next two weeks, South Colac and Birregurra, so of course there’s a lot to achieve,” Brown said.

“I was happy with the way we played Saturday – we had a real crack which was terrific,” he said.

Wisdom teeth cause grief for netballers

by Lachlan Cowlishaw

Colac and district netball players appear to be copping grief from their wisdom teeth.

Three clubs – South Colac, Apollo Bay, and Otway Districts – have had A Grade players affected by the removal of troublesome molars this season.

The common oral surgery, which can result in an Elmer Fudd-like appearance, is a result of problems with the eruption of additional molars generally affecting 18 to 25-year-olds.

Roos defender Nadine McNamara, Hawks defender Rachael Darling and Demons midcourter Meghan Spokes have all had wisdom teeth removed.

Western Eagles’ C Grade netballer Pip Drayton adds a fourth player to the list.

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