Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Harry Grove - Country Magpie

At a time when the NRL’s highest paid stars are being accused of greediness for demanding even more cash, a kid from the country has reminded every one about playing for the love of the game.

Harry Grove estimates he travelled 20,000km during the Harold Matthews season to Western Suburbs Magpies training.

That’s 750km a day from Tumut to Liverpool and back, all with a broken arm which meant he couldn’t even play.

“I sometimes got the Greyhound bus at 4 am in the morning from Gundagai which got me to Liverpool at 11 am in the morning.

“I went to training in the afternoon, then got the interstate bus back again at 8 pm, getting me home around 1 am in the morning. “ Said Grove

Asked why he undertook such epic journeys, Grove says simply, “I love playing footy.

“Coming from the country it’s a big opportunity to play in the Harold Matthews competition and Wests have one of the best junior development programs.

“I want to play footy at the highest level I can achieve. “  Said Grove

Even Grove’s teammates didn’t fully appreciate the scale of his effort.

“I don’t think many of the boys knew much about it until Coach Scotty pulled me up at training one night before I was about to leave for the 8.00pm bus and told the boys about how long it took for me to get to training, that when the boys are in bed sleeping I will still be on the bus getting home at around 1.00am.

“I don’t think many of them know where Tumut is, being a small country town. It’s the sort of place they might have taken a camping holiday.” Said Grove

“Coach Scotty is Scott Hartas, head of the Magpies u16 Harold Matthews side, who speaks highly of his young charge.

“He’d come in to training keen as mustard. He’s a great kid, pleasure to coach, great skills. He’s going to be a great footballer.

“He’s got such class about him. It doesn’t matter how high you hit a bomb, he’ll catch it.

“It’s funny when you coach, you get a bloke in and you think “oh my god”, I wish I could have 25 of him.
“The main thing about him is his attitude, he’ll make it.”

Harry shows maturity beyond his age, especially when asked how his parents felt about his travels, “I have very supportive parents and they are with me all the way.

“My parents have given up a lot of their time to run me all around the country from Dubbo to Sydney to Albury and even Tamworth.

“My mum and dad and older brother all helped with the driving. Coming from the country we are used to doing a lot of traveling for weekend sport.” Said Grove.

The incredible amount of time Grove gave up did see him consider throwing the towel in, but this young Magpie is made of stern stuff.

“It ran through my mind a few times with my broken arm being an excuse as well as school work. But I kind of had a vision of making it back for at least one more game.

“I like training and if you want a place in a team you have got to put in the effort …I think that’s what got me there in the end.”

Grove was inevitably rewarded for his commitment as his arm healed towards final rounds of the competition, “It was pretty hard sitting on the bench wanting to play but the season went pretty quick and I made it back against Penrith as starting fullback.

When questioned about the recent demands for more money from those at the top of the NRL tree, which included threats of strike action, Grove’s considered response again highlights his maturity. “It’s hard to answer.

“If you enjoy what you’re doing, money shouldn’t really be an issue.

“If you’re doing something you love and getting good money even better.

“But then again, I guess footy is a job for these guys, so like everyone else they just want as much as they can get.”

Grove has simple goals, “I want to play in the SG Ball (u18s) for Wests and hopefully make 1st grade for St Greg’s.”

But like all young players across the rugby league world, he dreams of playing on the greatest stages, “I want to play in the World Cup for either Papua New Guinea or England.”

And his coach seems to think Grove will achieve his dream sooner than he thinks.
“He’d make the Papua New Guinea side next year!”

Like all good country boys though, his loyalty to his hometowndoesn’t take too long to come up, “Hopefully one day I’ll end up playing back home for Tumut Blues first grade.”

The question of loyalty and commitment is raised again. Does he believe his heroes in the NRL still have their passion for footy?

“I hope so because they are the players that all the kids playing Saturday morning footy look up to.”

by AJ Carr

Friday, August 20, 2010

Rnd 24 Preview - Magpies v Bulldogs

Western Suburbs enter their match with the second placed Bulldogs in superb form after they last week disposed of a disjointed Melbourne Storm outfit at Leichhardt Oval. The Bulldogs bounced back from a shock loss to Cronulla with a resounding 46-16 defeat of the Central Coast Centurions. The Bulldogs have already sealed a home semi final but they are hell bent on claiming the 2010 NSW Cup Minor Premiership and a win here will keep the pressure on competition leaders, Newtown, who have a tough game at home to the fourth placed Windsor Wolves. Bulldogs back-rower Gary Warburton impressed against the Centurions last weekend. Warburton crossed for two tries and also turned in his usual workman like defensive effort for Coach Justin Holbrook. The Bulldogs back-row of Warburton, Daniel Harrison and Danny Williams will need to aim up against one of the unheralded back-row partnerships in the NSW Cup. The Wests trio of Junior Moors, Josh Davis and Jamie Sharkie have got the job done for Coach Leo Epifania each week with minimal fuss or fanfare and along with fullback, Rhys Pritchard, would be up in the clubs best and fairest voting. Nipping at the heels of the Newtown versus Windsor game for match of the round honours.

Western Suburbs Magpies Vs Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs
Campbelltown Stadium, Saturday, August 21
Kick-off: 3.00pm
Referee: Henry Perenara
Broadcast: Triple H 100.1FM (Link available via www.nswrl.com.au’s Weekend Game-Cast)
Broadcast: NSWRL Match of the Round to be aired on Fox Sports 2 HD and Fox Sports 2, Wednesday, August 25, 5.00pm

Friday, August 13, 2010

Rnd 23 Preview - Magpies v Storm

Magpies v StormFifth playing sixth on the ladder as the Western Suburbs Magpies top four aspirations go on the line against the Storm. With a maximum of eight points still available in the 2010 NSW Cup and the fourth placed Wolves some five points clear of them entering Round 23, realistically the Magpies will need to win their remaining four matches to be any chance of hosting a final. Four wins still may not be enough though as the Wolves play the Bears at home this round and also host the Centurions in Round 25, both matches they would be expected to win and that would give them 34 competition points and a guaranteed spot in the top four. Melbourne’s recent run of outs means they are now in danger of falling further down the ladder and potentially limping out of the finals in week one. A gutsy second half comeback fell just short against the Wolves last round and shock home losses the previous two weeks sees them battling to keep their grip on sixth place with little hope of reeling in Wests for fifth as they are now five points clear. Rhys Pritchard seems to have regained his early season form and will need to be marked closely by the Storm defence while Luke Kelly was at the centre of everything good that the Storm did against Windsor last round and will be a constant threat for the full 80 minutes. Jesse Bromwich looks likely to be rewarded for his stellar form with a call up to the NRL as Coach Craig Bellamy starts to prepare for 2011. Wouldn’t imagine there will be much in this one and you can expect it to be decided late in the match.

Western Suburbs Magpies Vs Melbourne Storm
Leichhardt Oval, Saturday, August 14
Kick-off: 1.00pm
Referee: Adam Devcich
Broadcast: www.nswrl.com.au’s Weekend Game-Cast, proudly brought to you by Teamm8

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Harold Matthews Coaching and Support Staff Nominations

The South West Sydney Academy of Sport is currently seeking nominations from suitably qualified persons for the following positions, Head Coach, Assistant Coach, Head Trainer, Sports Trainer, Manager, Strength and Conditioning Coordinator and Statistician.

It is requested that all interested persons contact the Academy Executive Officer Gerry Knights on 4627 7622, 0407415847, or email gknights@swsas.org.au for more information. Applications close Friday 27 August 2010.

2011 South West Sydney Academy of Sport
Harold Matthews Coaching and Support Staff Nominations - Now Open

As in 2009, it is envisaged that the Head Coach position selection panel include one representative from each
of our five partner organisation. A separate panel including the Head Coach will be identified to support other
nominations, where required.

Thank you for your anticipated support,

Gerry Knights
Executive Officer

Sunday, August 8, 2010


Western Suburbs Magpies will hold their annual Hall of Fame Dinner at Wests Ashfield Leagues on Thursday, September 23.

This year's event will see three Magpie legends joining such greats as Noel Kelly, Keith Holman, Tom Raudonikis, and John Donnelly as inductees into the Hall of Fame.

Wests will also be paying special tribute to one of the most fascinating eras of the club's history with the announcement of the Western Suburbs Magpies Team of the 80s

In a tumultuous decade, the Magpies went from being a game away from a Grand Final to being kicked out of the competition twice and twice going to court to be reinstated before making a new home for themselves at Campbelltown.

It promises to be a fantastic night for all Wests and Rugby League fans.
Tickets are $95 per person including meal and drinks. Call Rachael Murphy on 8752 2062 or email rachael.murphy@westsashfield.com.au to book your tickets.