Collegians stick with youth

OLD Collegians are resisting the temptation to abandon their youth-first policy in an effort to throw everything at lower-table rival East Warrnambool today.

Co-coach Nathan Forth said he would persevere with a young side for the 11th-versus-12th clash at Davidson Oval.

The contest presents the Warriors with their best chance to break their season duck and claim a morale-boosting triumph which could spark further success.

But despite a host of omissions through injury and unavailability, Forth and co-coach Jamie McKenzie have opted against reinforcing the side with ready-made senior players.

The first-year coaches have instead turned to two teenagers still eligible to play junior football among seven inclusions.

Andrew Geary and Matthew Petherick join fellow teenagers Jacob Lacy, Indiana Phillips and Jesse Cruickshank, who have punched above their weight this campaign.

Dylan O’Brien, who has been the Warriors’ best player the past fortnight on a wing, is also in his first year of senior football after playing in Koroit’s under 18s.

Forth this week made no apologies for the stance.

“That’s where we are as a club, that’s how the club is going to get better,” he said.

“We’ve got to get games into these kids to make them better footballers.

“I’d rather play a 17-year-old kid than a 35-year-old bloke who is on his last legs.”

Forth said the Warriors would enter the match confident.

The two sides shared the spoils last season, with East posting just its second win in 89 matches in round nine and Old Collegians turning the tables in round 18.

“We’ve got to go in confident,” Forth said.

“We’ll keep sticking to our plans and philosophies and back ourselves to do well. We’ve really got to get on top in the middle and run and create.”

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Loyal McCosh repays the faith at East

ADAM McCosh only needs one line to describe the repeated setbacks his football career has endured.

“It took me 12 years to get to 100 games,” he said.

Had the respected East Warrnambool ruckman had a better run with injuries, there’s every chance he could’ve doubled that tally by now.

McCosh has undergone four operations on his right knee during a career which is into its 14th year, but tallies far fewer seasons.

He’s had his right thumb reconstructed and his jaw broken and suffered broken ribs.

“Every time I’ve done an injury, it’s put me out for 12 months or longer. When I do an injury, I do a good job of it,” he said.

“That’s the life of being a ruckman, I suppose.”

Football has not been kind to the Bomber, who will lead his teammates out against Old Collegians at Davidson Oval today.

His mates dragged him to East Warrnambool in 2000. Since then, one personality trait has stopped him hanging up the boots — loyalty

Giving football away would’ve been easy. But McCosh has never been one to take the easy option, not even when his body repeatedly failed him, or when East went 79 games without celebrating a win.

Today, he is the only ruckman from his debut season still playing District league seniors.

“We don’t last that long. I think I must be stupid,” he joked.

“(But) there’s something about East Warrnambool. When I wasn’t playing football I’d go and watch them train or play.

“I thought as soon as I can get my body right I’ll go back and play. That’s how it’s eventuated. Eventually I’ll give it up, but I’ll keep going for as long as I can.

“Ruckmen are very hard to attract to clubs. Every club is always in pursuit of a ruckman, especially a ruckman that is going to hang around.

“I want to see the club get better. If I can match it with half the ruckmen in the league, I’ll always put my hand up to be there until they can find a replacement.”

McCosh doesn’t fear getting injured any more. He knows what it’s like and he knows he’s come back.

“Because I did my knee at the start of my career, I know how to deal with the mindset of coming back from injury,” he said.

“Every injury I’ve had, each time I’ve come back I’ve got better at preparing myself mentally.”

McCosh, 31, completed a full pre-season and has only missed one match this season, due to attending a wedding.

His leap is not like it once was, but that doesn’t bother him. He just wants to contribute and help bring through the next generation of Bombers, the likes of Scott Judd, Jayson Millet and Chris Edwards.

“These aren’t the kids who are going to play one or two seasons and go away,” McCosh said.

“These are the kids who we want at the club, who are in it for the long haul.”

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Euthanasia bill gains support

FOR NSW Greens Upper House member Cate Faehermann, it’s the personal stories which have made her committed to seeing the Rights of the Terminally Ill Bill through state parliament.

The proposal will give people the right to end their life after certain requirements are met if they are faced with a terminal illness or distress unacceptable to the patient.

“I’ve been a farmer all my life and when an animal reaches the end of its working life we send it to the abattoirs,” Gregadoo farmer Ted Keen said.

Ted’s brother died at the age of 45 after a long battle with throat cancer and he said to see his brother go through the ordeal crushed his family.

“If my brother had been an animal the RSPCA would have fined you for leaving him like he was,” he said.

“The last six months of his life was virtually nothing.”

Ted was diagnosed with prostate cancer, but has successfully had surgery and radiation treatment.

While he thinks he has the illness beaten, he doesn’t want to put his family through the same suffering his brother experienced.

A supporter of Mrs Faehermann’s proposed legislation, Mr Keen said voluntary euthanasia should have been implemented years ago.

Mrs Faehermann has been travelling the state holding forums on the proposed legislation, which would mean if a patient was able to make a decision and had been assessed by two different doctors and a pyschologist, they could end their life.

“It’s (voluntary euthanasia) an issue who’s time has come,” she said.

Mrs Faehermann said it was very targeted legislation which focused on giving patients the right to choose rather than leaving family or doctors to make a decision on the patient’s behalf.

SPARING SUFFERING: NSW Greens MLC Cate Faehrmann was in Wagga yesterday to hold a forum on her private members bill to legalise voluntary euthanasia. Picture: Les Smith

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Bacteria in Myall River ‘natural’ 

TESTING the Myall River is unlikely to show anything unexpected, Port Stephens MP Craig Baumann said on Friday.

Mr Baumann said the recent death of a fisherman in the area was a ‘‘tragic situation’’ but he pulled up short of backing calls to test the river’s waters.

‘‘[Authorities] know exactly what they’re going to find,’’ Mr Baumann said.

‘‘The advice I’ve been given is that bacteria occurs naturally in all water bodies and the only water that is completely safe is the stuff you shower under.’’

The Newcastle Herald revealed on Fridaythat Tea Gardens doctor Kooshyar Karimi believes a potential ‘‘bacterial contamination’’ may exist in the Myall River.

Dr Karimi said he had dealt with a larger-than-normal number of infections in the area, with a bacterial infection also a factor in the death of a middle-aged fisherman this week.

Hunter New England Health director of population health Dr David Durrheim said bacteria occurred naturally in waterways and rarely caused disease in healthy people.

Those with underlying health issues were more susceptible to severe disease, he said. Recreational fisherman Andrew Sharp said the Tea Gardens community’s concern over the Myall was heightened after the fisherman’s death this week.

‘‘I think the community and myself are a bit shocked and scared of what might be in there,’’ he said.

Mr Sharp said he was among some fishermen who had moved away from the river as sand buried popular fishing spots.

‘‘Blind Freddy can see there’s a problem,’’ he said.

Mr Baumann said he remained committed to pursuing a dredge for the river, an issue he has tackled for several years. He supported the dredge for ‘‘a range of reasons’’.

‘‘I think it’s my No.1 priority in the whole of the electorate, but definitely in that area,’’ Mr Baumann said.

The Myall River. Picture: Anita Jones

AUDIO: Catalina found to display at Rathmines

GREAT FIND: This Catalina in Puerto Rico is coming to Rathmines. WINGED DEFENDER: A Catalina comes into land on Lake Macquarie as part of the Catalina Festival, which was held at Rathmines last November.

AUDIO: Damon Cronshaw speaks to Herald history writer Mike Scanlon

A CATALINA flying boat has been purchased for $20,000 in Puerto Rico to put on display in a museum at Rathmines.

Enthusiasts have been searching for a Catalina for years to display in the former RAAF base at Rathmines Park.

Catalinas were made famous in World War II for defending Australia from Japanese invaders.

The seaplane was credited with playing a key role in winning the war in the Pacific.

The flying boat in Puerto Rico would be dismantled and shipped to Australia, Rathmines Catalina Memorial Park Trust registrar Penny Furner said.

“This is one of the models that flew out of Rathmines during the war,” Mrs Furner said.

Mrs Furner plans to store the plane on a property until a museum is built.

“We need Lake Macquarie City Council to get cracking and approve a hangar for us,” she said.

The plane will be a static display and won’t fly, but restoration work will be needed.

Mike Usher founded Rathmines’ Catalina Festival to raise money to buy a Catalina.

“We had a dream and many people said it would never happen,” Mr Usher said.

Newcastle Herald history writer Mike Scanlon said Catalinas were rare because most were cut up for aluminium after the war.

“To find one is extraordinary,” Mr Scanlon said.

Mr Usher said the Catalina had been used to carry freight in Central America and South America.

“It got to a point where it was no longer economical to fly and was left sitting on tarmac for some years.”

In September 2011, the council agreed to spend $35,000 on a business plan for an open-air museum for an airworthy Catalina at Rathmines.

That followed the council spending $60,000 on a study which found the museum was feasible.

The arrangement was to involve the council contributing $1 million to the museum and shore improvements, but plans may change because the plane will not fly.

Rathmines was once the largest flying boat base in the South Pacific and key to Australia’s war effort.

About 3000 personnel were stationed at Rathmines at the height of the war, and 332 lost their lives in combat.