Horseman, oarsmen come to light

PLENTY of readers enjoyed the Home-Grown Heroes series that appeared in The Northern Star last week and the feedback also revealed a few sportsmen who could have been included in our Top 50 of the past 50 years.

Two of them were dual Olympians and another won an Olympic bronze medal.

Guy Creighton represented Australia in equestrian events at Montreal in 1976 and at Los Angeles in 1984.

Now 62, Creighton still lives near Casino.

Islay Lee, who was born and bred in Lismore, rowed in Australian men's eights crews at Montreal in 1976 and at Moscow in 1980. He also represented his country at world championships in the Netherlands in 1977 and in New Zealand in 1978.

Craig Muller, a former Lismore Rowing Club member, won a bronze medal as part of the Australian eights crew at Los Angeles in 1984.

He went on to become a successful professional rowing coach and national talent identification scout.

Ian Elkerton of Casino emailed to say that although not born in the area, John Lambie was a teacher at McKees Hill and played rugby for the Casino Bulls before going on to be selected for the Wallabies.

Reg Smith, another Wallaby, played for the now defunct Brothers club in the early years of the sport on the Far North Coast.

Both were members of the Australian team that toured the British Isles in 1975-76.

Mary Maloney of Lismore pointed out that the Aust-ralian boxing team coach at the Olympics in London is Don Abnett, who started training as a 10-year-old under Arthur Maloney at the Casino Youth Club.

Abnett has been the coach at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra for more than 20 years.

One reader said Canberra Raiders rugby league wing-er Ken Nagas (Kyogle) should have been ranked higher than the Roosters' Mitchell Aubusson (Ballina).

He's probably right.

Another thought St John's College Woodlawn teacher Brian Battese (Lismore), a forward in the Canterbury Bulldogs' 1985 premiership-winning team, should have made the Top 50.

Maybe, but those rugby league players who were included on the list had longer careers at the top level and most also played representative football.

Luke Felsch (Wardell), who attended St John's College, was another toplay in a grand final whenSt George lost to Manly in the 1996 ARL decider.

A prop, Felsch appeared in 72 games for the Dragons and later made his mark in England.

It's not an exact science but we think we may have been pretty close to the mark with the Home-Grown Heroes Top 10 and even the Top 20, although the order in particular would always be open to debate.

Most of them represented Australia and at their best most of them were regarded as competing at the pinnacle of their sport.

For the record, Arthur Black's partner in the lawn bowls pairs at the 1986 Commonwealth Games was Kevin Henricks.

And finally, how appropriate that our readers' competition winner was Kayleen Shailes, who represented NSW at softball and almost certainly would have been in the next 50 of the region's top sportsmen and women of the past 50 years.

But that's a series for another time ...

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