Ryde Hockey celebrates Family Day

RYDE Hunters Hill Hockey Club is celebrating its annual Family Day this weekend.

The event – this Saturday, August 4 – is an opportunity to celebrate the club’s deep ties with its community and the vital contribution that families, past and present, have made to the Club.

On Family Day the Club joins with the Gordon North Sydney Hockey club in playing for the Ryde-GNS Cup.

Points from juniors, women’s and men’s matches played over the weekend will determine the destination of the Cup for 2018.

There are festivities throughout the day including Family Day favourites such as the Junior Club Relay, the Best Dressed Supporter Dog Competition, jumping castles and delicious food. Family Day is also a great opportunity to see some wonderful junior and senior hockey.

The Sydney Premier Hockey League WomenÕs first grade clash at 3.30 pm and Men’s first grade fixture at 5pm will feature a number of players from the recently concluded U/21 National Championships.

Australian Kookaburras star Lachlan Sharp, fresh from gold medal triumphs at the Commonwealth Games and Champions Trophy, will line up for the Panthers and shapes as a key figure in the men’s top grade clash.

Ryde-Hunters Hill Hockey Club President Glen Castensen extends a very warm welcome to sporting fans to join the celebration, noting that the club’s involvement in the local community since 1934 owed a great deal to the support of that community.

The venue for the celebration is Keith Thompson Hockey Centre at 18 Waterloo Road, Macquarie Park.

An entertaining experience awaits those who attend.

TWT EXCLUSIVE: PANTHER POWER! Ryde Hockey celebrates new home ground win

RYDE HUNTERS HILL Hockey Panthers are celebrating one of the greatest wins in the club’s history with a new two field home ground announced last Friday.

Lane Cove MP Anthony Roberts and Ryde MP Victor Dominello said the two hockey fields are proposed for Christie Park in Macquarie Park with the Panthers’ Keith Thompson Field in Macquarie Park to make way for the grounds of a new school at the neighbouring former Peter Board High School site.

The Panthers’ Patron and The Weekly Times Managing Editor John F Booth AM had lobbied the government to get the extra field our growing number of local hockey juniors need and is celebrating the win alongside Club President Glen Castensen who described the deal as a landmark in the club’s 80 year history.

“This is wonderful news for the Ryde Hockey Club and a landmark achievement for the Ryde community,” Mr Castensen said.

“It is very satisfying to see our player development programs and our reputation on the world stage being matched by the proposed relocation to a much-needed dual field, first-class hockey centre and home ground.”

Mr Roberts and Mr Dominello said the State government will seek to buy vacant land next to the adjoining former Peter Board High School to build the new high school and possibly a primary school.

The proposed deal is estimated to be worth tens of millions of dollars.

““More and more families are calling Ryde home,” Mr Dominello said.

“The current site will be redeveloped into a new high school and the relocation will provide the NSW Government with greater opportunity to expand local education opportunities.”

He said he hoped the new high school – and possibly a new primary school – will be built within four years.

Ryde-Hunters Hill Hockey Club’s Hockeyroos representative and Senior Club Captain Mikaela Patterson with top Panthers juniors Aaron Pereira, 17; Lachlan Pereira, 14 and Georgia Graham, 17. TWT on-the-spot PHOTO.


THE HOME base of the Ryde Hunters Hill Hockey Panthers in Macquarie Park is to be demolished to make way for a new school in a deal which will see it replaced by two new synthetic hockey fields at Christie Park.

The fate of the Keith Thompson Field was announced last Friday by Lane Cove MP Anthony Roberts and Ryde MP Victor Dominello who said the state government will seek to buy vacant land next to the adjoining former Peter Board High School to build the new high school and possibly a primary school.

The two MPs stopped short of revealing the cost of the deal, estimated to be worth millions of dollars.

It was welcomed by Panthers Club President Glen Castensen who described it as a landmark win.

Mr Dominello said Christie Park has been identified as the “preferred location” and his hope is that money will be made available to have both schools built within four years.

He said the community will have a say in the new school’s name and he assured hockey players the new fields would have adequate parking and facilities.

“Hockey is a much loved sport in the community, so it makes sense to provide players and supporters with a more modern, fit-for-purpose facility,” Mr Dominello said.

“More and more families are calling Ryde home and a new site will help cater for increased growth.

“The current site will be redeveloped into a new high school and the relocation will provide the NSW Government with greater opportunity to expand the educational offerings.”

Mr Robert’s blamed previous Labor governments for the closure of Peter Board High School and described the announcement as a buy-back.

“The previous Labor government failed to sell off Hunters Hill High School so it sold off this school instead,” he said.

Nearby Christie Park is home to many of Ryde’s junior and women’s soccer teams and Mr Roberts said it made sense to relocate hockey there.

“It will now be easier for mums and dads to take their children to hockey, as well as soccer.”

The two MPs said the announced proposed deal is backed by a memorandum of understanding between the government and the club.

Mr Castensen said the Keith Thompson Field had seen some great days since it was opened in 1994 which has produced champions and was an Olympic training venue but could not accommodate the recent growth in Hockey’s popularity.

“This is a wonderful day for the Ryde Hockey Club and a landmark achievement for the community of Ryde,” he said.

“Our Club has been a strong and inclusive part of the district for over 80 years and with today’s announcement by the Ministers, our engagement with the community will continue for many, many more decades to come.”

The Weekly Times Managing Editor John F Booth is the club patron.

“Our Club is the largest hockey club in NSW offering participation and programs across all ages for women and men, girls and boys, ” Mr Castensen said.

“Hockey is also a leading international sport with high levels of grassroots participation across many nations,” Mr Castensen said.

“Internationally we are recognised for our junior development program and the high number of elite players we regularly produce.

“With today’s announcement, it is very satisfying to see our engagement in the Ryde community, our player development programs and our reputation on the world stage being matched by the proposed relocation to a much-needed dual field, first-class hockey centre and home ground.”



Local netball has been promised a $30 millions new sports centre by the NSW State Government on the Marsden High School site at West Ryde. 

NSW Sports Minister Stuart Ayres joined Ryde MP Victor Dominello at Eastwood Ryde Netball Association’s Meadowbank netball courts last Friday to sign a Memorandum of Understanding between the Department of Education, Office of Sport and ERNA officials. 

Proposal is for a state of the art sporting facility featuring a four indoor courts centre plus 32 outdoor courts and plenty of parking. 

ERNA president Karen Waud and Sponsorship & Grants Co-ordinator Anne Doring OAM sign the MoU at last week’s $30m funding commitment by the NSW Government for a state-of-the-art sporting facility on the old Marsden High School site. They are pictured with Minister for Sport Stuart Ayres, Ryde MP Victor Dominello, Chief Operations Officer Netball NSW/General Manager GIANTS Netball Mike Anderson and Pam Smith, former International Netball Vice President and CEO Netball Australia. TWT on-the-spot PHOTO.

$30 million investment secures Sydney’s future home of netball

A NEW indoor outdoor sporting facility which will cater to one of NSW’s fastest growing sports, netball, is a step closer following a $30 million funding commitment by the NSW Government and a Memorandum of Understandsing signed to secure the project’s future.

The state-of-the-art sporting facility will feature four indoor netball courts and 32 outdoor courts and parking on the site of the former Marsden High School site when it forms part of the future Meadowbank Education Precinct.

Ryde MP Victor Dominello joined Minister for Sport Stuart Ayres at Meadowbank Netball Courts last Friday to announce the MoU between the Department of Education, Office of Sport and the Eastwood Ryde Netball Association.

“More and more families are choosing to call Ryde home and we are investing in the kind of sporting facilities and green space which improve quality of life and keep our communities healthy,” Mr Dominello said.

“The announcement is a big win for local sporting infrastructure enabled by the NSW Government’s expansion of the Marsden High School as part of the State’s first technology focused TAFE campus precinct at Meadowbank.”

Minister for Sport Stuart Ayres said NSW Government is focused on delivering grassroots sporting infrastructure and reducing barriers to playing sport.

“Netball is continuing to experience massive growth across the state, with more than 113,000 members at all levels of performance playing in cities, suburbs, and country towns across NSW,” Mr Ayres.

“By investing in grassroots facilities and making sport more affordable for families through initiatives like the Active Kids rebate, we’re setting our young people up for lifelong healthy futures.”

Construction on the sports centre is expected to commence following the relocation of Marsden High School to the new campus in 2021.

Eastwood Ryde Netball Association life member Anne Doring and president Karen Waud were ecstatic with news of the planned state of the art sporting facility.

“The facility would be a tremendous boost to the City of Ryde community and a huge fillip for ERNA who have 4,700 members,” said Anne.

“This is an exciting project and wonderful opportunity for women in sport,” she said.

“The regional indoor facility would predominantly be used for netball but could also be used for other indoor sports.”



Eastwood St Andrews celebrates “the beautiful game” and its 60th anniversary

AN EASTWOOD football club conceived in 1958 in the middle of the Indian Ocean is celebrating its 60th Anniversary on Saturday.

St Andrews was the brainchild of the Lee family who came up with the idea of forming a community football club while on board on board the ocean liner S.S. Strathaird, enroute to Australia.

The club was established in Eastwood as part of the Northern Districts Soccer Football Association, now known as the Gladesville Hornsby Football Association.

Training and home games were at Meadowbank or Epping because the club’s iconic Eastwood Oval was still a swamp.

Scotland was a superpower in world football in the 1950s and there were clubs around the world, including London’s Millwall FC, with ties to Scotland or had adopted Scottish motifs.

Eastwood St Andrews was another, adopting as its badge “The Saltire” – a white cross of St Andrew on a navy blue background – that features in the national flag of Scotland.

City of Ryde Councillor, Bernard Purcell is a stalwart club member who recalled the days when boots were heavy and steel-studded, nets were a new invention and the few parents attending games were cajoled into various volunteer roles, from linesmen to laundry women.

“This year we take time to reflect on the extraordinary work of the Lee family of Bertie, Clive, Nigel and Celia,” Clr Purcell said.

“We celebrate Nigel Lee, in particular, for his enormous personal efforts in forming and growing one of the great local clubs.”

In the 1950s, Rugby League was – by far – the most popular sport for boys and Rugby Union continued to hold sway in Sydney’s private school system.

Fast forward 60 years and football has eclipsed rival codes as the largest team sport for boys and girls, along with a barmy army of “soccer mums” and dads who shout encouragement from the sidelines.



Clr Purcell believes football’s success comes down to the game’s flow – free from stoppages from scrums and line-outs and with fewer injuries – from which teamwork is rewarded with an often hard-fought goal.

Then there’s the simplicity – anyone who can kick a ball can enjoy playing football, while any rectangular patch can become a makeshift pitch.

“Soccer – or football as it is formally known – is a game that encapsulates personal skill and team involvement,” he said.

“It relies on players to work with each other and achieve more than the sum of their parts.

“It is a beautiful game because, at its best, the passage of play as the ball is passed from one to the other, and finally in the back of the net, is sublime.”

There’s also a special and universal cultural – some would say, tribal – community that has developed around football, uniting barefoot players on the beaches of Rio with those hacking the ball across ice-covered fields in Reykjavik.

“It welcomes all from the community to pull on their team colours and share a common goal,” Clr Purcell said.

“With great vision, soccer has been opened up to the youngest and the oldest in our community; catering for all ages and skill levels and it has done more.

“Soccer has given ladies, young and old, the chance to play the game themselves in their own competitions or beside the boys if they choose.

“As a coach I marvelled at how young women could match the boys and often outplay them.”

Clr Purcell will be among the many past and present figures who will celebrate Eastwood St Andrews’ history on Saturday and also hopes it will be a day to celebrate what football has given the City of Ryde.

“I wish to congratulate all the region’s soccer players, officials, committee members and involved spectators for making soccer what it is today in Australia, a beautiful game for all,” he said.

“Our communities would be poorer places without sporting clubs and I take my hat off to all the tireless volunteers who help keep sports clubs operating and growing, week in and week out, year in and year out.”

Back to Eastwood Day for Eastwood St Andrews AFC

Saturday 16th June is the annual Back to Eastwood Day for local soccer club Eastwood St Andrews AFC.

The club invites all past and present members to come down to Eastwood Oval to watch some of the current teams play, while reminiscing on past glories.

This year is the club’s 60th anniversary, so it promises to be a special day, and night. Woodies teams will be playing on both ovals, culminating in the Premier League clash between St Andrews and Pennant Hills at 1pm for Reserve Grade and 3pm for First Grade.

Team photos will be taken on the day, and a new seat will be unveiled on the hill overlooking the bottom oval. This seat will be dedicated to Nigel Lee, one of the founders of the club, who recently passed away, as well as commemorating the Club’s 60th anniversary.

Watch the Socceroos at Club Eastwood

After the football is finished on the Eastwood Ovals, the celebrations will continue with a special event at the club’s major sponsor, Club Eastwood.

Past and present members are invited to catch up before watching the Socceroos opening group match at the FIFA World Cup live on the big screens. So for anyone who has or is associated with Eastwood St Andrews AFC, lock Sat 16th June in your calendars as a day not to be missed as they celebrate building community through sport for the last 60 years.


VIDEO: Sydney FC re-sign midfield maestro Milos Ninkovic for two years

Sydney FC have re-signed midfield maestro Milos Ninkovic for a further two seasons, the club confirmed today.

The 2016/17 Johnny Warren Medal winner will bring up his fourth and fifth seasons with the Sky Blues in re-committing, with the dual Premiership winner a crucial member of the Sydney FC squad.

The 2017 Grand Final hero said he was looking forward to another two seasons spent with the league’s most successful club.

“Sydney FC is my home and my family, and I’m so happy to be staying a Sky Blue,” he said.

“I’ve enjoyed some of the best moments of my career here, I’ve won four titles in three years, and my family loves this city too.

“It’s fabulous to be staying here with this fantastic group of players and I know we will have another great year.

“I’m excited by the journey ahead in the new season and I can’t wait for the silverware still to come.”

Sydney FC Head Coach Steve Corica said Ninkovic’s signing was a great positive for the season ahead.

“You’ve seen over the last three seasons what a player Milos is,” Corica said.

“His influence both on and off the pitch makes him such a great asset for this team, and to have such a fantastic creative outlet in the squad is a big bonus.

“I’m expecting him to be one of our key orchestrators next season and I’m glad that we’ve been able to retain another one of our core group of players.”

Ninkovic has made a total of 99 appearances for the Sky Blues in all competitions, scoring 24 goals in the process, and claimed the 2016/17 Johnny Warren Medal for best player in the league.

Preparations will bring out the best in Socceroos

FORMER Socceroos defender Alex Wilkinson predicts Australia’s national team will put on strong performances as the squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup is finalised with friendlies against the Czech Republic and Hungary.

The Socceroos – in an intensive ‘pre-camp’ in Antalya, Turkey – face the Czech Republic this Friday (June 1) at the NV Arena in Sankt Polten, Austria before lining up against Hungary on  June 10 at the Groupama Arena in Budapest.

Wilkinson, who featured in the Socceroos’ 2014 World Cup campaign in Brazil, believes the Aussies will have benefited  from the pre-camp under new coach Bert Van Marwijk.

“The players will have relished the opportunity to adapt and become familiarised with Bert’s style of coaching and to work on combinations,” Wilkinson said.

“Pre-camps are very much intense and challenging and brings out the best in each player.

“The Turkish pre-camp is the ideal environment for the Socceroos squad preparations, where the facilities and climate are second to none.

“The heat is on as Bert and the selectors attempt to finalise their 23-man squad which means three players will miss the World Cup tournament in Russia.”

Wilkinson revealed he had been in contact with some of the Socceroos in Turkey who spoke positively of the Cup preparations.

“The international friendlies against the Czech Republic and Hungary will go a long way to sorting out our top squad for the tough opening round clash against France,” said Wilkinson.

“Bert would already have a fair idea of his team to play the French but the friendlies will give some of those fringe players an opportunity to impress.

“I’m keeping my fingers crossed for my Sydney FC team mate Josh Brillante, who is one of several midfielders vying for a spot in the squad of 23.

“There is a great deal of talent in the squad but four players are going to be very disappointed.”

Snubbed striker Jamie Maclaren has been handed a shock Socceroos recall following injury concerns over striker Tomi Juric.

Maclaren has been in sizzling form since  joining Scottish side Hibernian on loan in January and was initially been cut from the extended 26-man Socceroos squad to widespread outcry.

He joined the squad at pre-camp in Turkey on Sunday, increasing the number of squad members to 27.

The Socceroos have until June 4 to nominate their 23-man squad for the tournament in Russia.



Wilkinson recalls magic of FIFA World Cup


SYDNEY FC’s Alex Wilkinson has still got plenty of football fuel in the tank, with the Sky Blues announcing they’ve re-signed the dependable defender for another two years.

“This club is like family to me, it’s my home, and there’s nowhere else I’d rather be playing,” Wilkinson says.

“There’s a great journey ahead of us in 2018/19, we’ve got the majority of our squad sticking together and I want to be a part of the title successes to come.”


Sydney FC’s international defender Alex Wilkinson signs a new two year deal with the A-League Premiers


Among the most reliable and consistent performers in the A-League, fans of Sydney FC’s defensive rock would’ve been quietly hoping he’d be selected in the Socceroos squad in the lead up to its Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup mission next month.

That was not to be, with acting Socceroo coach Bert van Marwijk opting for youth over experience in a 26-man squad, being put through its paces in a training camp in Turkey, to eventually be culled to 23.

But the intensity of do-or-die football in a pressure-packed FIFA World Cup cauldron is an experience already familiar to the 33-year-old Gladesville resident.

He was part of the Socceroos’ short-lived 2014 World Cup finals campaign in Brazil, appearing in Australia’s group stage losses to heavweights Chile, The Netherlands and Spain.

“It was the toughest football I’ve ever participated in but a privilege to pull on the green and gold in the biggest international football competition one can play,” he says.

Despite the Socceroos coming away from the South American experience empty-handed, Wilkinson says he’s a better player for the experience.

“You learn so much by playing against these world-class opponents,” he says.

“Their incredible skill levels and ability to produce the goods under pressure has to be admired.”

Wilkinson says the Aussies showed tons of courage as they pushed their highly fancied rivals to their limits.

“The colour, excitement and magic moments at a World Cup are something I’ll always treasure,” he says.

The highlight for Wilkinson came during the 3-1 opening round loss to Chile at the Arena Pantanal in Cuiaba.

After clearing what appeared to be a certain goal off the line, FIFA took the opportunity to test its new goal line review system.

It confirmed his defensive feat and etched him in history as the first ever player to trigger use of the new technology.

Wilkinson was involved in some of the Socceroos’ World Cup qualifying matches under former national coach Ange Postecoglou, but didn’t figure in Van Marwijk’s plans.

With 16 caps for his country, including an AFC Asian Cup winners medal in 2015, Wilkinson is still ready and willing to don the green and gold in future international campaigns.

“It is such an honour to represent the Socceroos and I know Bert was looking to invest in younger defenders when he took over the coaching reins and that’s fine by me,” Wilkinson told The Weekly Times.

“As long as I’m playing good football at A-League level I’ll always be available for the Socceroos if required.”

Having wrapped up another successful and arduous season with A-League giants Sydney FC, amiable Wilkinson is looking forward to some down time with his family.

And he’ll be cheering on the Socceroos from afar when the 2018 FIFA World Cup kicks-off in Russia next month.

“The Sydney FC boys all hope that midfielder Josh Brillante makes the final cut and goes on to do Australia proud,” adds Wikinson.

Wilkinson was a key ingredient in Sydney FC’s A-League championship triumph in 2016-17, with his solid showing at the back earning him a spot in the Professional Footballers Association ‘A-League Team of the Year’.

His skilful displays and coolness under pressure last season were just as impressive, helping Graham Arnold’s Sky Blues claim another Premiers’ Plate plus the FFA Cup.

But Sydney’s heart-breaking extra time loss to eventual champions Melbourne Victory in the recent Grand Final qualifier at Allianz Stadium is a painful reminder for Wilkinson and his team mates of the pitfalls of finals football.

“We won the premiership comfortably but it goes to show you have to bring your A game to a sudden death final,” he says.

“This will make the team even hungrier for success next season.”

Sydney FC resumes pre-season training in July under new coach Steve Corica.





Socceroos begin World Cup preparations at state of the art facility in Turkey

The Socceroos’ 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia preparations officially began on the weekend, with 13 players from Bert van Marwijk’s 26-player squad being put through their paces in warm conditions on the outskirts of Antalya.

Over the coming days the intensity of training will only increase as players push for selection in van Marwijk’s final 23-player squad for Australia’s fourth successive World Cup finals campaign.

Among the young hopefuls is Sydney FC midfielder, Josh Brillante, a frequent visitor to TWT territory for the Sky Blues’ training sessions in Macquarie Park.

Brillante admits it’s tough knowing he could be one of the players that misses out, but at the same time, he had to enjoy himself and work as hard as he could.

“If Bert thinks I deserve a spot, then I deserve a spot,” he said.

“There is always time in the future where I can show myself, I’ve got the Asian Cup coming up and the next World Cup, but I have to enjoy myself, that is the main thing.”

It’s Brillante’s second call up to a van Marwijk Socceroos squad and the midfielder hopes to impress the Dutchman after being part of the two-game friendly series against Norway and Colombia in March.

“We had a new Socceroos coach come in and he obviously has his systems and the players he likes,” he said.

“We were all waiting to see what was going to happen and who he was going to pick so I was honoured to be part of that.

“It was great to be part of the team again and be involved with the Socceroos and all the players.

“It’s going to be exciting to be in camp and I’m looking forward to cementing my spot in the team that will be at the World Cup.”

The second day of camp saw van Marwijk’s men complete a double-session as the training group expanded to 19, with the squad making the most of the impressive Gloria Sports Arena facilities with a gym session at the venue.

Later in the day Australia returned to the training track as van Marwijk put several new arrivals including Aaron Mooy, Mark Milligan, Trent Sainsbury, and Fran Karacic through their paces.



TWT Club Six/Ryde Sports Foundation: Gala award winners

ROYAL Rehab Return2Sport Achievement award recipients Maria and Lindsay Dalmon and Lee Ferrier were recognised at last Friday’s TWT Club Six/Ryde Sports Foundation Sports Star of the Year Award Gala Dinner.

The trio are pictured with MC Steve Robilliard, Royal Rehab’s Community Relations Manager Martina Fox and Paralympic wheelchair racing legend Louise Sauvage.

Maria and Lindsay were honoured for their contribution to sailing for people with a disability.

“My heartiest congratulations to Lee and Maria and Lindsay for their awards,” said Royal Rehab CEO Stephen Lowndes.

“Royal Rehab is proud to partner with the Ryde Sports Foundation to acknowledge the tremendous contribution and achievement that these recipients have made to sport, and in particular to the motivation and inspiration they provide to people with a disability to achieve in sport.”

Netball NSW Hall of Famer and ERNA legend, Neita Matthews, who has chalked up 38 years service with the Ryde Sports Foundation Foundation, is pictured with sons Peter and former Test cricketer Greg Matthews and RSF chairman Jim Hull. TWT on-the-spot PHOTO

RYDE Sports Foundation stalwart Neita Matthews was bestowed with life membership at the TWT Club Six Ryde Sports Foundation Sports Star of the Year Gala Dinner at Ryde Eastwood Leagues Club last Friday.

The Netball NSW Hall of Famer and ERNA legend, who has chalked up 38 years service with the Foundation, was joined by  sons Peter and former Test cricketer Greg Matthews at the gala event.

Ryde Sports Foundation Contribution to Sport Award recipients Graham and Robyn Churchill with Bennelong MP John Alexander and RSF Vice Chairman Rob Wilkinson. TWT on-the-spot PHOTOS.

Husband and wife team of Graham and Robyn Churchill were the recipients of the Ryde Sports Foundation Contribution to Sport Award.

Robyn, the long serving Gladesville RSL Gymnastics Club president was honoured for her sterling service as a mentor and administrator and Graham for his yeoman service with North Ryde RSL Baseball Club.

They celebrated the award with Bennelong MP John Alexander and RSF Vice Chairman Rob Wilkinson.