North’s newest community hub celebrates Phase One opening


Phase one of the city’s $80 million Pimpama Sports Hub is now complete and open to the public.
 
Facilities include a clubhouse, 12 courts spanning almost one hectare, six court shade structures, a new community park and events space catering for 3000 patrons.
 
Mayor Tom Tate said the Pimpama Netball Centre would be a huge drawcard for young players in the northern suburbs, in the lead up to the 2021 netball season. 
 
“These first-class facilities are capable of hosting both local and regional level events and will cater for future demand in our growing northern corridor,’’ he said.
 
“Once complete, we expect around 750,000 visitors annually. The complex will employ 42 full-time employees when fully operational at the end of this year.’’
 
The project, more than halfway into its completion timeline, is generating 409 jobs during construction. 
 
Deputy Mayor Donna Gates said: “We’re committed to keeping the coast moving with much-needed community infrastructure. Importantly, we are also undertaking key road and transport improvements to support the centre,” she said. 
 
Netball Queensland has leased the clubhouse and is coordinating events, sign-on days and training with nearby netball clubs. 
 
Phase two of the project has started and is on track for a late-2021 opening. 
 
Phase One – complete: 
 
Clubhouse includes a kiosk, administration area, storage, amenities for public and club use, first aid room and additional under building storage
12 netball courts that can be fully lit for night games and equipped with audio for announcements
Six court shade structures
275 solar panels have been installed on the clubhouse and court shade structures, generating 12 per cent of the sporting hub’s total power
Outdoor events space with stage area for crowds up to 3000
Community park with shaded playground and picnic facilities
One kilometre walking, running and cycling trail with distance markers 
 
Phase Two – on schedule for a late 2021 opening: 
 
Aquatic centre with five pools, including a 50-metre Olympic standard pool and fitness centre
Community centre with multi-purpose hall, meeting and function rooms
Tennis centre with eight competition standard courts
For information visit: cityofgoldcoast.com.au/pimpamasportshub

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North’s Noble hits ground running at Roos


New North Melbourne coach David Noble has wasted no time outlining his bold expectations of the AFL club’s stack of new recruits.

It might be his first senior AFL coaching job, but the 53-year-old has made an immediate impact at Arden St after the club’s tumultuous 2020.

Before Noble’s appointment in November, the Kangaroos delivered a brutal list cull by axing 11 players.

The list clean-out has given Noble to undertake an extensive rebuild for the first time in North’s history.

Former GWS defender Aidan Corr is one of the new faces at North and already enthused about resurrecting his career under Noble.

After being primarily used for lockdown jobs at the Giants, Corr is determined to become an attacking rebounding backman.

“(Noble) actually interviewed me when I was a kid, when he was at the (Adelaide) Crows so I’ve had little bits to do with him,” Corr said.

“We haven’t really sat down one-on-one yet. We’ve had a few phone calls.

“He wants me to add a fair bit to my game which I believe I can do, and need to do.

“We had (Nick Haynes) taking most of the intercept marks (at GWS). I would love to add that to my game, create some more attack.”

North’s highest-profile recruit, Jaidyn Stephenson, is set on putting a difficult 2020 at Collingwood behind him and recapturing the form which won him the 2018 Rising Star award.

“(Noble’s) great out on the field. He has a good mixture of having a laugh and being very instructive,” he said.

“He will come over during training and say ‘Stevo, I want you to talk a bit more or you’re doing really well here’ so I feel really encouraged by him.

“I have (had one-on-one chats with him) and I’m probably not going to disclose them…but I get along pretty well with him.”





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North’s AFL pick stuns midfielder Phillips


Much has changed at North Melbourne since Will Phillips last spoke to the Kangaroos before the AFL draft.

Despite a raft of off-field changes at Arden St since their only chat, North took the Oakleigh Chargers midfielder with the No.3 pick in Wednesday’s draft.

In the most unpredictable draft of all-time, the first shock came early on a long night.

Most good judges – and Phillips himself – considered the 18-year-old falling in the bottom-half of the top 10.

But with the Kangaroos buoyed by the recent appointment of new coach David Noble, they settled on Phillips and not Elijah Hollands who Gold Coast grabbed instead at pick No.7.

“Only one (chat with North during the year), that’s why it was such a big surprise,” Phillips said.

“Compared to other clubs I had way more, two or three with most clubs, but North took me so it was a big surprise.”

The bombshells kept dropping for Phillips, who had North legend Brent Harvey knock on his door straight after the Kangaroos selected him.

The AFL’s games record holder didn’t just pop by to congratulate Phillips, he also handed over his famous No.29 which North retired when Harvey’s glittering career ended in 2016.

“I didn’t even know how much (Harvey) was (still) connected to the club, apart from playing more than 400 games,” Phillips said.

“He works closely with the first and second-year players, so I’m really looking forward to working with him.

“It’s a huge honour to take his number which hasn’t been used for four years now.

“The best moments in life are a surprise and it was one of the best moments of my life.”

Phillips, a hard-working inside onballer, will learn plenty off veteran North midfielders Ben Cunnington and Jack Ziebell.

A consistent player who averaged 22 possessions last year, Phillips can also go to another level in a big game after kicking two goals in the Chargers’ 2019 NAB League grand-final win.





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Roos to be North’s AFL sounding board


North Melbourne will welcome premiership coach Paul Roos into a permanent advisory role working with the AFL club’s football department and executive.

Former Sydney and Melbourne coach Roos was an integral member of the selection panel that last week appointed David Noble as the Kangaroos’ new coach.

Noble is eager to see 2005 Swans flag-winning coach Roos continue in a wide-ranging position at Arden Street.

“I’m really keen for him to have a role,” Noble told reporters on Monday.

“I think we can absolutely utilise his knowledge, his experience, he’s coached at two clubs, and for me he’ll be a great sounding board.

“I’m sure he’ll be counsel for me a number of times, he’ll be great for our assistant coaches … and he’ll be a great mentor for maybe some of our players.”

Roos has also been earmarked to work with chief executive Ben Amarfio, chairman Ben Buckley and football department boss Brady Rawlings.

The exact parameters of his role are yet to be defined.

“We’ll look at that and we’ll shape it with David and Roosy,” Amarfio said.

“But Roosy will probably be working with quite a few of us from a leadership perspective, mentoring perspective, football operations – you name it.

“Roosy’s going to play a very critical role, for not just David, but for a few of us across the club.”

Roos is currently based overseas but is expected to be back in Melbourne early in the new year to play an active role in North’s new era.

The Kangaroos’ football department shake-up has already seen dual premiership player John Blakey return from Sydney – where he worked under Roos and flag teammate John Longmire – as a senior assistant coach.

It followed the club’s decision to part ways with assistant coaches Jade Rawlings and Jarred Moore, among several changes.

Noble is set to appoint two replacement assistant coaches who will guide the forward line and midfield.

“We want some great characters to come in who can build that relationship and foundation of honesty and trust,” Noble said.





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North’s Buckley slams critics of AFL club


North Melbourne chairman Ben Buckley has slammed critics of the AFL club who have been calling for the Kangaroos to relocate to Tasmania.

Buckey hit out at ongoing speculation over North’s future in Victoria on the same day the club announced coach Rhyce Shaw was leaving immediately.

It means North are searching for their second coach in as many years as they undergo a major list rebuild after finishing 17th this season.

Buckley says the club is in a “very stable position” after wiping out a mountain of debt during the last decade.

“We’re in much better health off the field than people would have you believe,” he told SEN on Thursday.

“I’ve said repeatedly and consistently that our home is at Arden St.

“We will always be at Arden St. We will always be a team that’s based in North Melbourne.

“We will work very, very hard to get the best possible resources to support the exciting group of young players that we have.

“We think we can move back up the ladder reasonably quickly.”

North will continue to sell home games to the Tasmania government, having played matches in Hobart since 2012.

Tasmania desperately wants its own team, but is happy to continue hosting the Kangaroos, and Hawthorn in Launceston, until a 19th license is handed out by the AFL.

North will begin their search for a replacement for Shaw straight away.

“We are moving quickly towards establishing that panel (to look for a new coach),” Buckley said.

“We’ll be hopefully be in a position to announce that in the next couple of days.

“The key thing about this is to get it right.”

As well as Shaw, a number of other coaches, including senior assistant Jade Rawlings, have recently left the club.

Roos premiership great John Blakey has returned to Arden St after more than a decade working in Sydney but is unlikely to be considered for the head coaching role.





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North’s Rhyce Shaw departs from AFL club


North Melbourne coach Rhyce Shaw will depart the AFL club immediately.

It comes a week after Kangaroos chairman Ben Buckley announced Shaw had taken an indefinite leave of absence from the club.

“Since taking on the role as caretaker coach in the middle of the season in 2019 and then senior coach for 2020, Rhyce Shaw has given his all to the club,” Buckley said on Thursday.

“He has been an exceptional leader and is a man of the highest integrity.

“His work ethic is unparalleled and we are truly grateful for the time, effort and energy he’s put into the role.”

Shaw took over from Brad Scott ahead of round 11, 2019, making an immediate impact as North upset Richmond.

The Kangaroos won seven of their last 12 games to end last year, but things never went to plan in 2020.

After winning their first two games, North won just once more as they finished 17th.

Shaw said he was “immensely grateful” to everyone at North Melbourne, including the supporters, for backing him during a challenging season.

“To the players – I will forever cherish the relationships we built and the stories we shared, and I’m grateful for the courage and belief you demonstrated along the journey,” he said.

“I’d also like to extend my thanks to members of the AFL media for the care and respect they’ve shown during this time.

“Despite the challenges of the past year, my passion for football remains.

“The experiences I’ve had throughout my career developing young footballers to reach their potential has given me the greatest satisfaction and pride, and I hope to have the opportunity to contribute to this great game again in the future.

“For now, however, my focus is on taking time out, and I would ask that my privacy, and that of my family, continue to be respected at this time.”





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Norths extend Shute Shield winning streak to stay on Gordon’s tail


Ahead 28-17 for most of the second half, Norths second-rower Dave Henaway ensured the result with some fantastic footwork in the lead-up to his try.

Waratahs representatives Cam Clark and Hugh Sinclair stood up for Norths, while Christian Kagiassis had a decent game for Souths.

Gordon’s loss last week put Norths within a point of the competition leaders, and they could be a dark horse heading into finals starting on October 17, having dropped only one game this year – to Eastern Suburbs in round six.

But they face a big challenge in next week’s penultimate round against Sydney University, who pushed Gordon all the way on Saturday but fell short 34-24.

If Margan’s confidence is anything to go by, there’s no reason Norths can’t knock off the Students like the club did in the 2016 grand final at North Sydney Oval when Simon Cron was in charge.

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“It’s all clicking at the right time,” Margan said. “We had a couple of early flukes and people thought we weren’t the real deal. But one by one we’ve knocked off some top dogs. Next week is our biggest challenge against Sydney Uni, so looking forward to smashing them at their home ground.”

University have now suffered three losses on the trot – first against Easts before two more against Randwick and Gordon – yet it would be foolish to write them off heading into finals given they won the last two titles.

In other results, Easts easily accounted for Penrith by 37 points, West Harbour got the job done 50-15 against the Western Sydney Two Blues, while Warringah spoiled the Hunter Wildfires’ party with a 50-15 victory.

Randwick also backed up their win over the Students with a comfortable 34-15 result over Manly at Coogee Oval.

Shute Shield round 11 results

Northern Suburbs 35-17 Southern Districts

Eastern Suburbs 56-19 Penrith

West Harbour 50-15 Western Sydney Two Blues

Hunter Wildfires 15-50 Warringah

Randwick 34-15 Manly

Gordon 34-24 Sydney University

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Norths’ sin bin spree locks Sydney University into Shute Shield finals race


Norths defended well, repelling wave after wave of Uni attacks to hang tough and ensure the lead did not balloon before the break.

The visitors managed to do that without Carroll for the final seven minutes of the first half, too.

Chris Talakai was one of the best for Sydney Uni.Credit:Karen Watson

Carroll was sent to the sin bin as punishment for his team’s repeat offences inside their own 22 and while Uni looked dangerous in his absence, they could not crack the dam wall outside of a Robertson pick and drive.

Despite keeping themselves in the game in the opening 40 minutes, Norths couldn’t have started the second half much worse.

Hooker Margan was sent to the sin bin almost immediately after the restart for a lifting tackle and Stu Dunbar compounded the penalty with three points.

The two teams traded one penalty each in the next 10 minutes, as Uni once again struggled to shake the visitors despite dominating the run of play.

It took a rolling maul for University to crack the Norths defence.

Perrett ran under the posts and awarded a penalty try after Hugh Sinclair collapsed the maul and followed up by sending him to the sin bin.

It was the third Norths player to be sent to the sin bin in the first 50 minutes of the contest, and the pressure finally told on the visitors.

Former Australian Sevens squad member Matthew Hood sealed the win when he read a Max Burey pass for an intercept and ran 40 metres to score and set up an unassailable 27-3 lead.

Elsewhere, Eastwood continued Warringah’s demise with a 47-21, Easts beat Parramatta 52-36, Gordon thumped Penrith 97-0 but the result which mattered most was Souths’ 43-39 loss to Manly.

Souths are now out of the finals race.

The top six will be Gordon, Norths, Randwick, Eastwood, Easts and Uni.

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Shaw proud of North’s AFL season finale


It wasn’t the win Rhyce Shaw craved, but North Melbourne’s final match of the AFL season brought out the competitive spirit the coach desperately wants to see from his playing group going forward.

The Kangaroos held finals-bound West Coast scoreless in the opening term on Thursday night and dominated general play for large periods.

But ultimately poor kicking at goal cost them the opportunity to end a losing streak that now stands at eight matches in a season that has yielded just three wins.

“We’ve been smashed from pillar to post for a while now but we’ve worked hard and tonight the boys were really consistent over four quarters,” Shaw said post-match.

“It showed in how the game was played … but West Coast took their chances and that’s where it sat, we just didn’t take our opportunities.

“The game was played in the right manner by us and I was really pleased with the way it went.

“I’m obviously disappointed with the result, but the way it was played and the effort by the boys was fantastic.”

The 15-point defeat was just the second time during the Kangaroos’ active losing streak they have kept the margin under five goals.

Scores were level at three-quarter time.

But despite the improved showing against West Coast, North Melbourne will finish 17th on the ladder – or even slide to last place if Adelaide upsets Richmond on Saturday.

Shaw now faces tough exit interviews with players as the Kangaroos look to overhaul their list.

The club’s first batch of delistings will be confirmed and released officially by the weekend.

“That’s a part of footy,” Shaw said.

“We went through that last year and this year is a little bit different being away (in Queensland).

“It’s just part of the evolution of the club and where it’s going and where it needs to go.

“It’s going to be a hard time for a lot of people, but it’s also going to be an exciting time for the club going forward.”

North Melbourne players and staff have two days to leave their Gold Coast hub after completing their season on Thursday night.





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