BOOK TITLE: The Australia Times - Sport magazine. Volume 3, issue 6

Vol. 3 No. 6
July 2015
Jordan Spieth:
Golfs new king
Jordan Spieth has claimed the second major of
the golf season, with a one-stroke victory over
fellow American Dustin Johnson...
Roland Garros: Stan the man
and unstoppable Serena
The years second Grand Slam tournament
got underway in Paris only a few
short weeks ago and did not
Matildas write their
own headlines
The Matildas captured the attention
of the nation with their efforts at
the World Cup, but what does it
mean for the sport?
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New chapter in age-old rivalry
Mitchell Pascoe takes a look at how the Australian side
is shaping up ahead of the Ashes.
Remembering track legend
Ron Clarke
There are no doubts about it, Ron Clarke was an
Australian running legend.
Third time lucky for
the Firebirds
The Queensland Firebirds have been crowned premiers
of the ANZ Championship, defeating the Swifts in a
come-from-behind win.
Craig Lowndes:
The smiling centurion
Craig Lowndes made history by winning
his 100th V8 Supercar race in June, but
sometimes its about more than winning
Lining up fourth on the grid for the season opener
at Eastern Creek in 1996 not many people expected
much. Until he won the race...
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Image courtesy of the Matildas
e Editor
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Welcome the latest issue of e Australia Times Sport
magazine - the publication that takes an o-centre approach
to the mainstream phenomenon of Sport. Got something
interesting to share? Why not get in touch with TAT Sport
via our website, www.theaustraliatimes.com/magazine/
In this issue:
Football: Justin Lemmon looks at the incredible
performance by the Matildas at the World Cup.
Golf: Lukas Raschilla introduces us to golfs new
king, Jordan Spieth.
Tennis: Brian O’Connell reviews this years French
Cricket: Mitchell Pascoe considers how the Aussies
are shaping up, ahead of the Ashes.
Athletics: Daniell Hill pays tribute to one of Autralias
greatest ever runners, Ron Clarke.
Netball: Aimee Dawson wraps up the ANZ
Championships, after a nail-biting nal.
Motor sport: Jonathon Momsen talks us through the
incredible career of Craig Lowndes.
We hope you enjoy the latest issue of e Australia Times
Sports magazine. Dont forget to check out all the latest
sports stories on our news section in the sports page on
The Matildas captured the
attention of the nation with their
efforts at the World Cup, but
what does it mean for the sport?
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
The Matildas
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Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
KYAH SIMON scored the
winning goal against Brazil
he famous
Aloisi penalty, Tim
Cahill’s late strikes in
Kaiserslautern and that
unfortunate Azzurri penalty,
three consecutive World Cup
qualifications, Alessandro Del
Piero playing on local shores and
major silverware with this years Asian
Cup triumph. Each headline exists as a
stepping stone of the progress made, and
a catalyst for further progression – a visible
marker when the world game has permeated
a local media deaf to the foreign game.
As the mens game has grown in popularity
and profile, the Matildas – working all too
quietly in the background, have at the least
matched if not surpassed the Socceroos
achievements. They have competed in six
World Cups, made the quarterfinals three
times, won the Asian Cup five years before
their male counterparts and are now
the first senior Australian side to win a
knockout World Cup game, against
the might of Brazil no less.
It is unfair to compare the
two Australian senior soccer
sides – as the myriad of accomplishments
demonstrate this Matildas squad is a successful
team that bows to none, but it is unlikely Lisa
De Vanna will star in the next Weetbix ad. Their
performances in the recent World Cup though
have stirred something in the Australia soccer
landscape, not on the level at which it should
be, but a beginning nonetheless.
The media coverage has been at a level
previously unexperienced –
one Matilda will feature
on the cover of the
next instalment of the
popular FIFA gaming
series and names like De
Vanna and Sam Kerr are
becoming household. It is a start, the paradigm
that sees these athletes paid somewhere in
the realm of five to eight per cent of the
salaries accrued by their male counterparts
during soccers showpiece tournament must
shift, but the Matildas are beginning to build
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Image courtesy of
Wikimedia Commons
Australian captain
their own headlines – starting with the Brazil
This World Cup will be remembered for
Australias triumph against the Brazilian
powerhouse. While the womens side from
Brazli may not be the same dominant force
as the mens side are – the sport was illegal for
women to play in the country until 1979, its
hard not to be overawed in the face of that
iconic green and yellow. Despite that lack
of ascendancy, this Brazilian side are twice
Olympic silver medallists, were seated three
places ahead of Australia in the pre-tournament
ranks at seven and amongst them was Marta –
the best player of the modern era.
The result itself was symbolic of the sides
never say die’ attitude. Brazil may have
had the better of possession and chances
but an Australian side normally reliant
on attacking prowess put together their
worthy reward for the vigorous defensive
display that player of the match Elise Kellond-
Knight said came “with a sense of satisfaction,
weve worked so hard for this”.
Escaping the group of death with plucky
wins over the aggressive Nigeria and a
desperate draw with Sweden are feats worthy
of admiration in their own right but it was
the plucky, defensive win
that will be remembered.
It is the headline moment,
Moncton Stadium may
never enter folklore in the same
way Kaiserslautern has, but it
is the point the Matildas
created their own
noise amongst
a deaf local
defeat to
Japan in the
quarter-final did
resemble a cat toying
with a mouse it knows
has no escape. The skill
on the ball and
second clean sheet in World Cup
history – a week after the first. The deciding
goal, a tap in by Kyah Simon the result of a
scrappy fumble from Brazilian keeper Luciana
was fitting, an ugly win, but the history books
care little for asethetics.
The defensive unit held firm,disciplined in
their structure and despite Brazil dominating
large swathes of possession, never truly losing
their shape. The counter-attacking goal was
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technical ability of the Japanese ran the
Australians ragged and it was only the Matildas
tenacity and some poor finishing that kept Japan
out until the 87th minute, but the stature of the
opposition cannot be understated. Champions
of the 2011 World Cup and silver medallists at
the most recent Olympics, Japan sat comfortably
among the tournament favourites. This Matildas
squad contained ten names making their World
Cup debut and with an average age of 23, the
future is ominoulsy bright.
A late defeat against a pre-tournament
favourite after holding on grimly for nearly
90 minutes, sound familiar? If Japan go on
to win the tournament it will round out
the similarities with the Socceroos ground-
breaking 2006 campaign.
Canada 2015 should be remembered as
a similar first step for the Matildas that
Germany 2006 was for the Socceroos, a point
at which a primarily foreign sport permeated
a media with an intense local fixation. It
wasnt quite the groundbreaking boom of
Germany but a positive first step. Disparities
in pay and profile are still very real issues
that require intrinsic change from Football
Federation Australia (FFA) but for the first
time it seems the success of the Matildas has
entered popular consciousness.
The 2015 FIFA Womens World Cup has
been the headline moment on the back of
achievments that have historically fallen
on deaf ears. To ensure todays newspaper
do not become tomorrow’s fish and chip
wrapper, genuine change in regards to pay
and profile must move into line with other
high profile sports. The Matildas have done
their part, now the games governance must
match them.
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claimed the second
major of the golf season,
with a one-stroke victory
over fellow American
Dustin Johnson
by Lukas Raschilla
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
hambers bay, washington—
The golfing world has a new king
as Jordan Spieth continued on
his winning way, taking the second major of
the golf season in the pacific northwest with
a one-stroke victory over fellow American
Dustin Johnson. However, whether Spieth
won the 115th US Open or Johnson lost it
might be up for healthy debate.
Spieth sealed the victory with a two-putt
birdie on the 72nd hole, but his one-shot
victory wasnt secured until Johnson, the final
player on the golf course, missed a 12-foot
eagle putt at the 18th that would have given
him the win. Johnson then yanked the 3-foot
follow up putt for par that would have forced
a Monday playoff.
Johnson, who had shared the 54-hole lead
with Spieth, Brandon Grace and Jason Day,
dropped behind by three strokes with bogeys
on the 10th, 11th, and 13th. His putting
on the bumpy and inconsistent greens at
Chambers Bay cost Johnson in the middle of
his round. He surged back into the mix with a
well struck tee shot at No.17, the hole Spieth
had doubled, then converted the birdie putt
to force a three-way tie for the lead along with
Spieth and South African Louis Oosthuizen.
Spieth jumped ahead of Oosthuizen with a
two-putt birdie and Johnson had the chance
to do the same to Spieth when his second
shot at the 18th bounced towards the back of
the green, leaving a downhill 12-footer, and
we all know what happened from there.
With the victory, Spieth became the sixth
player to win the Masters and US Open
in the same year, along with Craig Wood,
Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus
and Tiger Woods. The 21 year-old heads to
the Open Championship next month, which
this year returns to the home of golf, St.
Andrews, looking to join Hogan as the only
person to win the seasons first three major
championships. Spieth had an impressive
final round, through the first 11 holes he had
nine pars, a birdie, and a bogey, while others
near the top of the leaderboard, including
Johnson, were making mistakes. The back
nine, however, produced momentum swings
rarely seen at the US Open, with eagles, birdie
runs, fairway hole outs, and out-of-bounds
Aussies Adam Scott and Cameron Smith
both had standout performances and
finished tied for fourth along with South
Africas Branden Grace at 3-under, 277. Scott
finished the final round with a bogey-free 64
and Smith eagled the 18th to shoot a 68.
Jason Day, who suffered from vertigo during
the tournament, couldnt extend the magic
from Saturday, when he shot a 68 to share the
lead heading into the final round. Day shot a
final round 74, and finished at tied for ninth
with Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry. World
No. 1 McIlroy closed fast with a final round
of 66. While McIlroy remains the favourite
to take home the Claret Jug next month on
European soil, Jordan Spieth is the golfing
world’s current king.
Spieth has taken in nearly US$8 million
on the course this year, not including what
he earns from sponsors that include Under
Armour, AT&T, Rolex and Titleist. With the
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US Open win, the 21 year-old is a step closer
to knocking McIlroy from the top spot. Spieth
said the win at Chambers Bay sets him up for
success at next months British Open. Two
years ago, he entered the 2013 season with
no status on any major circuit, but he quickly
claimed PGA Tour playing privileges. While
some players are just content with making the
Tour, Spieth set himself even higher goals to
reach. He won his first title at the 2013 John
Deere Classic, and came close to winning the
Tour Championship, finishing tied for 2nd,
before playing on the victorious US team at
the Presidents Cup. He also represented the
US at the 2014 Ryder Cup.
Spieths mindset is reminiscent of the one
Tiger Woods displayed during his years of
dominance. It’s often said that Woods was
mentally tougher than any other golfer back
then. It’s what helped Tiger to maintain
such a high level of consistency over so
many years. While most players suffer the
typical cyclical ebbs and flows of one of the
most mentally challenging sports, Spieths
game speaks volumes about his level of
golfing maturity and mental toughness.
After he won the Emirate Australian Open
last November, he flew halfway around the
world and won the Hero World Challenge
the next week. Similarly, after Spieth won
the Valspar Championship earlier this year,
he subsequently finished runner-up at the
Valero Texas Open and Shell Houston Open
before his Master’s Victory.
Some players win their first major and spend
the remainder of their careers attempting to
replicate that magic of that performance. Spieth
though, learnt from his Masters triumph and
used his biggest victory to help him improve,
rather than being content with the status quo.
After the US Open victory, Spieth was more
adamant in his drive to continue succeeding,
“I’m not going to cruise the rest of the year”.
“It’s just that I’m more, I guess, experienced, in
that I’m understanding how scoreboards work
now and how the field backs up or moves
forward. Just recognizing different trends.
And its a little easier for me to not put so
much emphasis on each swing and just play
the entire hole in itself, rather than worrying
about the little details of each shot.”
Spieth also possesses one key trait - hyper-
competitiveness. Among his inner circle he is
known for his passion for winning everything
from tennis matches to card games. While
Spieth wont win every time, even though
that seems viable right now, he does have the
ability to continue piling up wins, akin to
Tiger in his prime. Spieth doesnt rest on his
accomplishments, nor does he simply try to
replicate them. The more he wins, the more he
understands how to win the next time hes in
a similar situation. Golf fans are in for a treat
now the McIlroy versus Spieth era has begun.
Spieth vies for his 3rd major of the season,
with the Open Championship at St Andrews,
Scotland starting on July 16.
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The year’s second Grand Slam
tournament got underway in
Paris only a few short weeks ago
and did not disappoint.
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they had weaknesses like any other player in the
draw. In the end, Stan the man was waiting pa-
tiently to knock them off their pedestals.
It was in the quarter-finals that the competition
really heated up. There was the mouth-watering
clash between Djokovic and Nadal and on the
other side of the draw, the battle between Feder-
er and Wawrinka. The ease with which Wawrin-
ka dispatched his countryman was astonishing.
His one-handed backhand was in full flow and
in three sets, the Swiss legend was out.
Although Djokovic also won his quarter-final
against Nadal in three sets, it would soon be-
come clear that the Serbs efforts had not just
taken a physical toll but an emotional one.
Beating the King of Clay in Paris is no small
Two players left the Parisian clay on the final
Sunday with their reputations enhanced immea-
surably. On the womens side, Serena Williams
showed that it will take an incredible perfor-
mance from an opponent to stop her becoming
the most decorated female player of all time. On
the mens side, Stan Wawrinka quietened the
critics who believed he was a mere one-off, add-
ing the French Open title to his 2014 Australian
Open crown.
Surprisingly, there was not much pre-tourna-
ment talk about the Swiss player, given that he
had grown up playing on clay and won the junior
French Open as a teenager. All the talk was on
the famed ‘Big Four’ and a possible quarter-final
clash between Novak Djokovic and Rafa Nadal.
As it turned out, each of the Big Four showed
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
2015 women’s champion SERENA WILLIAMS
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order, even if the Spaniard was nowhere near his best. The
fact that Nadal had previously only lost one match at the
French Open in nine years must have made the encounter
a daunting one for Djokovic. What followed in the semis
against Murray was to have a significant impact on the
final. A disruption due to a rain delay meant it would
be finished on the Saturday before the final, giving his
opponent on the other side of the draw an obvious ad-
Wawrinka had an extra day to rest and gather his
thoughts after beating the home favourite Jo-Wilfred
Tsonga in four sets. A Frenchman had not reached the
final of Roland Garros since Henri Leconte in 1988.
The pressure was building on Tsonga and the Swiss
number 2 was just the man to make the burden too
much to bear.
Tsonga had just beaten Kei Nishikori in the
quarter-finals. His emotive celebrations on
Court Philippe Chatrier suggested that
he – and probably the French crowd,
knew that this was as far as he could go
in 2015. Perhaps more telling was that
he had come through a titanic five-
set battle with the Japanese star, so
facing a comparatively fresh Stan
Wawrinka was always going to
be a struggle.
The home crowd had other
glimmers of hope in the form
of Richard Gasquet, Gilles
Simon and Gael Monfils,
who all started the tour-
nament strongly, only to
be knocked out in the
fourth round. Overall,
there was plenty to be
optimistic about and
you can be sure they
feel a Frenchman can
go all the way to the fi-
nal sooner rather than
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
2015 men's champion STAN WAWRINKA
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The Australian contingent was given a tough
draw this year. Both Thanasi Kokkanakis and
Nick Kyrgios would have to beat a top seed if
they were to get past the third round. Alas it
was not to be, as eventual finalist Djokovic took
out Kokkanakis in three sets, while an in-form
Andy Murray made slightly easier work of Nick
Kyrgios, winning 6-4, 6-2, 6-3. The 20-year old
from Canberra wont let that knock his confi-
dence though, as the upcoming grass court sea-
son favours his game.
In the womens draw the question as ever was
if anybody could attempt to compete with the
power of Serena Williams. Roland Garros is
the only Grand Slam in which Williams can be
pushed from her comfort zone, as her all-power
game is not as effective as it can be elsewhere. So
there was an air of optimism among the other
players in the locker room and if one of them
cold hit top form at the right time, the American
could be beaten.
Having won it only twice previously in her ca-
reer, there was none of the usual pre-tournament
talk of Serena steamrolling the rest of the players
and breezing to an easy victory. As it turned out,
Williams did rumble on to the final, but in a
manner that not many expected. Curiously, Wil-
liams dropped the opening set in many of her
matches throughout the tournament. A feeling
that she could potentially be caught out began
to grow, but as ever, once she got into her stride
it was almost impossible to stop her.
Come finals day, it fell to Czech 13th seed, Lucie
Safarova, to do what no one else could. In her
first Grand Slam final, the 27-year old managed
to keep her nerves under control and stay with
the American for two sets. It was really only in
the last that Williams began to runaway with it,
eventually winning it 6-3, 6-7, 6-2. Serena now
has 20 Grand Slams to her name, only four away
from equalling Margaret Court’s record of 24
Grand Slam singles titles.
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Mitchell Pascoe takes a look
at how the Australian side is
shaping up ahead of the Ashes.
Image courtesy of
Wikimedia Commons
The Ashes
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Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
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The entrée has been demolished and now its
time for the main course. I speak of course of
our cricketing heroes, and their quest to retain
the Ashes. After some time off to celebrate their
World Cup win, the test squad regrouped and
made its way to the West Indies, where it’s fair
to say they didnt meet much resistance. It was
however enough of a taste for cricket fans, re-
minding us that you dont need an oval ball to
play during an Australian winter.
On reflection of each tour, many assessments
are focused on what a team learns about itself
after the result. It is fair to say that the Austra-
lian team are yet to answer any questions they
may have had internally. The batsmen mostly
punished the substandard bowling attack, with
the occasional tendency to be deceived by spin.
The bowlers lay waste to a batting lineup bereft
of confidence and talent. Whilst the struggles of
the WICB have been public of late, the fact that
Chris Gayle can act as a gun for hire around the
world is still baffling.
Chris Rogers has long signaled this upcoming
tour to be his last, and he has done enough to
at least start the tour at the top of the order. His
ongoing stubbornness to protect his wicket is a
sought after trait in a partnership with Dave War-
ner, who can often gift his away. Rogers’ county
form has been superb, and his knowledge of the
conditions will be the best of the Australian line-
up. Shaun Marsh has been solid, without being
spectacular and will be forced to wait his turn to
open the batting. Fairytales dont often come to
fruition, but the spot appears Rogers’ to lose.
The rest of the middle order appears set, or as
set as Michael Clarkes hamstring. Steve Smith is
simply expected to ‘ton up’ every time he strides
to the crease nowadays and Adam Voges did no
harm to his value with a century on debut. Brad
Haddin has confirmed his hunger for the test
arena remains and Shane Watson has begrudg-
ingly embraced his role at number six. The real
intrigue surrounds the bowling lineup.
Competition is as fierce as it has ever been for a
spot in the baggy green and our bowling stocks are
really feeling the pinch. Mitchell Starc has been
riding his purple patch for months now and ap-
pears on course to be the unquestioned spearhead.
Josh Hazlewood has been in the form of his life,
with his consistent line and length proving to be
too much for many batsmen. Ryan Harris has been
rested for this tour, which will almost certainly be
his last, with his nagging line making him one of
the most dangerous bowlers in the game.
Where does this then leave Mitchell Johnson?
The man who took us to victory the last time
the Ashes were played surely has to find a spot?
With the form of the other two and the appar-
ent promise to Harris, Johnson could very easily
find himself carrying the drinks at some point
of this series. It would be an incredibly brave
decision to drop the man who English batsmen
must still have nightmares about, but it is just as
hard to mount a case for any of the fast bowlers
to be dropped. This conundrum becomes even
more confusing if you believe Australia could
potentially name Fawad Ahmed, alongside Na-
than Lyon, on any turning pitch we come across.
This could become one of the most entertaining
subplots of the series.
Now what about our opposition? At their best,
the names of Cook, Trott, Anderson and co. have
caused headaches in the past. But unfortunately
for them, that past is quickly being forgotten,
instead replaced by the blundering versions of
themselves with the occasional stroke of bril-
liance which we are now observing. If the im-
provement cannot come from their senior play-
ers, then it is their fresher faced players who are
going to require our attention.
Too often the English team have found themselves
guilty of bookending a fantastic victory with dis-
appointing performances. They have the knack
for getting themselves up for a one-off series, be-
fore settling back into the slump they have found
themselves in. It could be a worry then that their
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limited overs team was able to find some success
recently against New Zealand, Australias opposi-
tion in the World Cup grand final. Records fell,
and we were quickly reminded that on their day,
the English are capable of rubbing shoulders with
the elite. But were those performances the anom-
aly, or the sign of what is to come.
No player best represents this fact than Ben
Stokes. He burst onto the scene against Australia
and was arguably the only player to show any
form of resistance with the bat and ball, whilst
his more experienced comrades fell around him.
A string of bad performances followed and the
man who Australia had come to respect found
himself playing in T20 competitions, whilst the
national team moved on. A handful of scintil-
lating performances have earned him his place
back, and perhaps found him the resolve to nev-
er find himself in that position again. A fired up
Ben Stokes has already proven himself a handful
and that was in our backyard.
The biggest inclusion to the English team could
be their new coach, Trevor Bayliss. With nothing
yet proven, all of the positive talk can be taken
with a grain of salt, but he has been charged with
reforging this team, and enforcing a much more
positive form of cricket. The emergence of young
future leader, Joe Root is evidence that a message
is definitely getting through, and the Australian
pace quartet could have their work cut out for
them in disrupting Roots run of form.
Unfortunately, the mountain that Kevin Piet-
ersen was told to climb appears to keep having
the finishing line moved on him, with Andrew
Strauss declaring that he and the players do not
trust him enough to have him around the group.
It truly is a shame that easily England’s best play-
er was not given the chance to help his coun-
try back up the rankings table. He appears to
have been snubbed indefinitely, even after giving
up massive paychecks, to score triple centuries
for his county side. It appears as though he was
set up to fail, and was too good a player not to.
Luckily for cricketing fans, he will be involved
in nearly all T20 tournaments around the world,
when available.
Based on form, you would have to suggest
Australia will retain the Ashes, and do so
quite comfortably. They appear the more set-
tled side, with the only changes being made
based on good form, rather than players be-
ing dropped for underperforming. Fairytale
finished are always wrought with danger,
and the fortunes of Rogers and Harris will
be very closely monitored by the media, as
they will quite clearly be the first ones out if
the team fails. But having said that, England
are going to require their best five days, dur-
ing Australias worst to pinch a test match.
But even if the match isnt close, it is al-
ways worth watching for any spite or mal-
ice, which is ever present between these two
fiercely c ompetitive teams.
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incredible power of wishes by donating today!
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There are no doubts about it, Ron
Clarke was an Australian running leg-
end. The man who was labelled the fin-
est distance runner of his time passed
away this June, aged 78.
He broke 17 world records during
his running career but he first shot to
prominence in 1956 and it didnt in-
volve him winning a race.
At 19 years old and as the junior 1500m
world record holder, he was racing in the
1500m Australian national champion-
ships for a spot in the Olympic Games
in Melbourne. At the start of the third
lap, while leading, Clarkes heels were
clipped causing him to tumble. Fellow
runner John Landy, the mile world re-
cord holder, initially hurdled Clarke
but then doubled back to help Clarke
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get back to his feet. They both took off for the fi-
nal laps of the race and despite the distance from
the lead, Landy ran an incredible final two laps
to win the race.
Landys act to help Clarke has optimised Aus-
tralian sportsmanship and the moment is im-
mortalised in a bronze sculpture that stands at
Melbournes Olympic Park.
Despite not qualifying for the 1956 Melbourne
Olympics, Clarke was rewarded with the honour
of lighting the Olympic cauldron. While he has
always said it was a consolation prize for having
not made the Olympic team, it was a proud mo-
ment in his life. In fact, Clarke was so caught
up in the moment he failed to notice he was
being hit with flames from the magnesium fire
as he carried the torch. These days carrying the
torch is seen as a great honour, but back in 1956,
Clarke wasnt even given a ticket to watch the
rest of the days action, catching public transport
back to his uncles to watch.
The early 20’s is an important age for any ath-
lete, especially runners, but between 1957 and
1960 Clarke gave up running. It was a mix of
marriage, work, and sinus issues that were a fac-
tor in his lack of ambition to continue running.
He was still keeping active physically and men-
tally though, playing for Essendon in the VFL
and studying for his accountancy job.
After moving home in 1960, he found he had
more time to train without a long commute to
work and at only 24, he still had plenty of run in
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
at the 1964 Olympics
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his legs. He started training with 1952 and 1956
Olympic runner Les Perry who introduced him
to other top Australian Olympic runners Trevor
Vincent and Tony Cook. The training sessions
that followed at Caulfield Racecourse reignited
Clarkes hunger for running and he quickly got
back to his best form.
His comeback year in 1961 saw him finish third
in the Victorian Championships, which earned
him a spot in Sydney for the National 3 Miles.
He finished fourth with a personal best in the
National 3 Miles which made him determined
to train harder and improve.
From there his career skyrocketed.
He made the 1962 Commonwealth Games
where he finished with a silver medal in the 3
Mile race. Between 1963 and 1965 he broke 17
world records in distances from 2 Miles to 20km.
He actually should have 18, but his 10,000m re-
cord in 1965 is classed as unofficial.
It was not just that he broke the original records
that was impressive, but the way he smashed
them and on many occasions, beat his own re-
cord. He reduced the 5,000m record by 9.2 sec-
onds, and the 10,000m distance by a massive
38.6 seconds.
Tokyos 1964 Olympic Games was Clarkes only
appearance at the Olympic level. In the 10,000m
event he lead for the majority of the race, but was
over taken on the last lap and pipped at the fin-
ish line, claiming bronze. The 5,000m race was
one Clarke has always said he was ashamed of.
On a windy day, smart tactics would’ve been to
avoid being the lead runner, but that is the posi-
tion he found himself in after setting a fast pace
early. The other runners conserved their energy
by being shielded behind Clarke and he ran out
of steam, finishing a lowly ninth.
In 1965, Clarke went on a European tour, com-
peting in 18 races across eight countries in 44
days, and in that time, set 12 world records.
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
John Landy and Ron Clarke
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Two more Commonwealth Games representa-
tions followed, in 1966 and 1970, adding three
more silver medals. At the 1966 Commonwealth
Games they were in the 3 and 6 Mile races, and
in 1970 it was in the 10,000m event.
Mexico City in 1968 was a setting that nearly
brought the end to not only his career, but his
life. In high altitude conditions, those which fa-
voured acclimatised runners, Clarke competed
in the 5,000m and 10,000m races. The African
runners were clear favourites and Clarke not
only pushed them but himself to the limits. He
finished fifth in the 5,000m race but ran out of
oxygen in the 10,000m race and after finishing
sixth, collapsed at the finishing line. He suffered
permanent heart damage which meant he was
on medication up until his death.
Along with the Commonwealth and Olympic
medals, and world records, Clarke held nine na-
tional titles. His national records over 5,000m
and 10,000m were held until 1998 and 1996
It is hard to knock a guy who was so success-
ful in his athletic career, but there was one thing
missing for Clarke, gold medals in the Common-
wealth and Olympic games. It was not through
lack of effort or form, as he was at the peak of his
career and current world record holder in many
disciplines at the time of the major games.
It was something he was queried on both during
his athletics career and in retirement. His assess-
ment was simple; he was self-coached and ran
bad tactical races without the guidance of a good
One of his most treasured possessions from his
athletic career is his Olympic gold medal. In
1966, champion runner Emil Zatopek invited
him to his home country of Czechoslovakia.
At the airport for Clarkes departure, Zatopek
handed him a package. Upon opening it Clarke
found Zatopeks 1952 10,000m Olympic gold
medal, Zatopek had won four, and Clarke burst
into tears and the admiration and respect his fel-
low competitor had shown.
In 1985 he became one of the original inductees
into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame and there
were no surprises that Clarke excelled after his re-
tirement, forging success in business and politics.
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he queensland firebirds have
been crowned premiers of the
ANZ Championship, defeat-
ing the NSW Swifts 57 – 56 in a
come-from-behind win.
After being runners-up for the last two seasons, a
dominant 2015 from the Firebirds, in which they
only lost one game, saw them finally manage to
take the next step and claim the premiership.
The grand final could be considered the most
thrilling in ANZ Championship history.
The Swifts came out firing, and lead the entire
match except for the time that it mattered, at the
final whistle.
With two minutes left in the match, the Swifts
looked to have secured the win, until some quick
scoring from the Firebirds saw them snatch the
victory with just seconds on the clock.
Despite an overhaul of the finals series, in which
three teams from Australia and three teams from
New Zealand progressed to the finals, it was still
an all-Australian grand final for the third con-
secutive year.
The overhaul caused controversy amongst fans,
with some claiming it gives the New Zealand
teams a helping hand to become more success-
ful. In the history of the Championship, a New
Zealand side has only won the grand final once.
The controversy came when New Zealand side
the Southern Steel, who had just three wins
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and two draws for the season, made the finals.
The lowest placing Australian side, the Adelaide
Thunderbirds, had one more win than the Steel,
but didnt make it.
The Melbourne Vixens also missed out on the
finals with seven wins for the season, four more
than the Steel.
The second controversial part of the finals was
that two teams, the winners of the elimination
finals from both countries, would be required to
play two games in just three days.
The Swifts, after defeating the Fever 60 – 53
in the Australian Elimination Final on Friday
night, were required to compete with the top-
of-the-table Firebirds, who were coming off a six
day break, that Sunday.
Despite a gallant first-half effort by the Swifts,
the second-half proved to be too much for the
team. Coach Rob Wright chose to rest many
of their star players, who appeared sore and
fatigued in the third and fourth quarters, in
preparations for their clash the following week
with the winner of the New Zealand Confer-
ence Final.
On the other side of the Tasman however, there
appeared no similar problems for the Magic,
who despite going into extra time in their match
just two days prior against the Steel, were able to
defeat the Mystics with a three-goal buffer.
The two semi-finals were Australian-dominat-
ed, with both the Firebirds and the Swifts re-
cording convincing wins over the Mystics and
the Magic.
Image courtesy of Qld Firebirds
Queensland Firebirds
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Finals time is also award season, with Con-
ference MVPs, Best New Talent Award, the
All-Star team, and the player of the finals, all
being awarded throughout the course of the
The Australian and New Zealand Conference
MVPs were awarded to the leagues two Ja-
maican shooters, Romelda Aiken and Jhaniele
Fowler-Reid. Both players were the most prolific
shooters in the competition, scoring 648 goals
from 778 attempts, and 607 goals from 696 at-
tempts respectively.
The Best New Talent award also went to an im-
port player, with Serena Guthrie from England
claiming the award.
Guthrie was a stand-out wing defence in her
first season in the league, with 31 intercepts,
for which she is ranked third in the league, and
44 deflections for the season, for which she is
ranked eighth.
The Foxtel ANZ Championship All-Star team,
which is voted for by the fans, selects the best
player for each position on the court, and the
best coach for the season.
The team stands as GS – Caitlin Bassett (Fever),
GA – Susan Pettitt (Swifts), WA – Kimberlee
Green (Swifts), C – Kimberley Ravaillion (Fire-
birds), WD – Serena Guthrie (Mystics), GD –
Julie Corletto (Swifts), GK – Sharni Layton
(Swifts) and coach – Stacey Rosman (Fever).
All players selected except for Serena Guthrie are
Australian, and no New Zealand players made
the team for the first time.
Swiftss defender, Sharni Layton, was named Player
of the Finals. Over the course of the four games of
finals played, Layton claimed 16 gains, nine inter-
cepts, seven rebounds and a massive 29 deflections.
The world of netball now turns to the World
Cup, which will be hosted by Sydney in August.
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To book an appointment visit our website
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Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons: Davidbrim
at an off road enthusiasts event in 2007
CRAIG LOWNDES, smiling as always,
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“He’ll never win a race, let alone a championship.” They were
the sentiments being thrown about when a kid from Melbourne
was selected to take a seat with the Holden Racing Team for the
1996 Australian Touring Car Championship. At just 21 years
old, a fresh faced Craig Lowndes made his championship debut
at Eastern Creek. Only months earlier he had found himself at
the wheel of a Holden at Bathurst. Fuel dramas meant he had
to settle for second. An outstanding achievement, but the man
known to so many as ‘Lowndesey’ wasnt content with taking
second place. Lining up fourth on the grid for the season opener
at Eastern Creek in 1996, not many people expected much. Un-
til he won the race...then the round...then the championship!
the smiling centurion
CRAIG LOWNDES made history
by winning his 100th V8 Supercar
race in June, but sometimes it’s
about more than winning
Two decades later and Lowndes has not only
proven the nay-sayers wrong, hes taken them
through a Hall of Fame worthy journey from
Holden to Ford and back again, picking up 100
race wins along the way. In 2014 he overtook
former team mate Mark Skaife as the most suc-
cessful driver in V8 Supercars, picking up his
91st win.
His first three seasons in the top grade of Aus-
tralian motorsport brought three champion-
ships. Taking on European Formula 3 in 1997,
Lowndes returned to dominate the 1998 and
1999 seasons. In 1999 he won the series despite
not competing in all races. A devastating roll over
at Calder Park meant he had to miss the rest of
the round and the following round at Symmons
Plains. Combined with a miraculous victory in
Adelaide where Lowndes was forced to overtake
every car on the grid after starting at the back
of the pack, it showed the talent, temperament
and competiveness he had to become one of the
greatest drivers in Australian history.
Lowndes would go on to finish third in the 2000
championship before making one of the most
controversial moves in Australian sporting his-
tory. He left Holden – and went to Ford! He
spent most of his early years at Ford fluttering
around the middle of the pack, finishing 20th
in the 2004 series before moving to team Triple
Eight, where he and Jamie Whincup would be-
gin a new era of dominance. Since adorning his
car with the number 888, Lowndes’ worst sea-
son performance has been 4th, but he is still yet
to win a championship since 1999.
Despite his competitive streak, winning isnt
the be all and end all. Lowndes’ passion for rac-
ing is unrivalled. His smile and friendliness
around the paddock has seen him become
a fan favourite and even a favourite amongst
his competitors. His two children, Chilli and
Levi, always find themselves earning a mention
in each of Lowndes’ mid or post race interviews.
So much so fellow competitor David Reynolds
decided to say hello to them in one of his inter-
views. Even on his worst days, Craig will still be
smiling down the camera and saying ‘hi’ to his
fans in pit lane. Even though hes no longer the
youngster that burst onto the scene in 1996, he
still has his feet firmly on the ground. He knows
how important the fans are to the sport and ap-
preciates them as such. In return he has gained
a passionate following on both sides of the pit
The respect his fellow competitors have for him
was revealed in June at Hidden Valley. Taking
the chequered flag for the 100th time, Lowndes
once again etched his name into the record
books. Pit crews responsible for other teams and
other cars took the time to stand and applaud as
the 888 Commodore rolled through pit lane on
his way to the winners circle; a mark of respect
for a gentleman of the sport.
And while he hasnt won a championship since
the Backstreet Boys were in the charts,
Lowndes’ success is by no means
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reduced by a long dry spell. Hes won the Bathurst
1000 five times. No race was more emotional
than his 2006 victory at Mount Panorama. Just
weeks after his friend, mentor and team mate
Peter Brock was killed in an accident in Tas-
mania, Lowndes paid him the ultimate tribute,
winning the Bathurst 1000 with tears in his eyes
and becoming the first person to lift the Peter
Brock Trophy. It was a moment shared with the
country that loved Peter Brock and knew how
much he meant to Craig. It didnt matter if fans
were wearing blue or red, everyone was proud to
see Lowndes win for his friend.
His commitment to the sport and the man-
ner in which he conducts himself has also been
recognised through a number of accolades across
his time in the V8 Supercar Championship.
Lowndes has been awarded the Barry Sheen
Medal, the award for best and fairest, a stagger-
ing four times, proving it isnt just the speed and
racing prowess he shows that make him a bril-
liant driver but also the kindness and fairness
that come with it.
While the past is certainly a spectacular success
for Lowndes, the future is still promising. He
now finds himself well amongst the contend-
ers for the 2015 championship and here are no
suggestions he’ll be giving the sport away any
time soon. Picking up his hundredth win in his
888th race was fitting for a man of this class and
skill, but with his competitiveness and drive still
clearly focussed on the top step of the podium,
anything is possible for Lowndesey.
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons: Bidgee
Australia Holden during testing
Lowndes’ 888 Red Bull Racing
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