Categories
Australian News

Mount Gambier jockey Geoff O’Loughlin stages surprise comeback at 48


Geoff O’Loughlin weighed 56 kilograms and had just 2 per cent body fat when he “struggled” with his weight not being light enough.

He’s not crazy. He’s a jockey.

Things could have been different had he chosen to take growth hormones and play professional soccer in England as a child. Instead, he kept his height and set his heart on becoming a jockey.

O’Loughlin, based in Mount Gambier in South Australia, rode 431 winners in his 22-year career.

Had he weighed less, he could have recorded more wins — a common story in the industry.

“My weight was just spiralling between race rides because you don’t race consecutive days … it got too hard towards the end,” he said.

A man wearing a black riding helmet and high vis jacket sits on a horse in a stable.
Geoff O’Loughlin says he retired from racing when the sacrifice outweighed the reward.(ABC South East SA: Bec Whetham)

When O’Loughlin retired in 2010, he weighed 56 kilograms. At the time, the top weight allowed in handicap races was 57 kilograms, leaving the Mount Gambier jockey a narrow window within which to compete.

Now a decade later and a couple of kilos lighter, the 48-year-old made his return to competition racing last week at the Penola Racecourse.

No-one was more excited than his wife, trainer Belinda O’Loughlin.

When the two raced together they achieved a success rate of 23 per cent winners and 43 per cent placegetters, one of the best strike rates in country Australia.

“I’ve put a lot of jockeys on since Geoff retired … (but) Geoff… he’s one of the fiercest competitors I’ve ever had,” Belinda said.

A woman stands with a horse smiling, a man in a bright green jockey racing shirt stands next to her.
Geoff O’Loughlin was an apprentice and Belinda a strapper when the couple first met.(ABC South East SA: Bec Whetham)

Boiling baths, long runs, one meal a week

Belinda recalls the decades in their relationship when Geoff would eat just one meal a week.

They would go for dinner with friends before a race and Geoff would ask to be picked up 5 kilometres down the road.

“And he would jog three quarters of the way home wrapped in great big thick jackets,” Belinda said.

The jackets were to help Geoff sweat more weight off before race day. There were lots of ways he did that.

“Public holidays made it hard in the country because the gyms would close so then you’re restricted to having hot baths to lose the weight,” Geoff said.

“I got to the stage where I thought I best … join the real world and get a job.”

A young man in a yellow racing jumper rides a horse around a grass track.
Geoff O’Loughlin on a winner in 1998.(Supplied: Geoff O’Loughlin)

Older, wiser and lighter

Geoff still has a three-days-a-week labouring job while he eases back into racing. He credits his job with helping to get his weight down.

“It’s constant movement, you’re just on the go all day,” Geoff said.

Belinda added: “He’s lost a fair bit of muscle bulk being older (as well) … he’s still able to maintain a reasonable diet.

“Hopefully this time around it will be a lot better for his body, it won’t be as stressful.”

The biggest stress is the nervous energy associated with getting back on the track.

“There was a fair bit of ribbing at first,” Geoff said.

‘I’ll have to prove myself again’

Although Geoff retired as a jockey, he always remained in the industry.

On top of full-time labour work, he has been helping his wife train their horses most mornings.

“There’re days where it’s hailing … and he’s soaked and he has to go in those wet clothes to work and then work an 8-hour day,” Belinda said.

“He’s never not worked for me, he’s been tireless.”

But, while he enjoyed his time “on the other side of the fence”, something was missing.

A large commentary tower stand next to a white set of stands next to a country racecourse.
The stage for Geoff O’Loughlin’s first race since returning from retirement, Penola Racecourse.(ABC South East SA: Bec Whetham)

“There’s no better feeling than going full throttle on a thoroughbred in amongst a field; it’s a thrill that only a jockey’s going to get,” Geoff said.

That said, he is not expecting an easy ride as he returns to the racetrack.

“I’m by no means at my age thinking I’m going to step back in and all of a sudden I’m riding five or six days a week,” he said.

A silhouette of a woman walking a large horse in paddock with a cloudy sunrise behind them.
Belinda O’Loughlin almost gave up training when her favourite jockey, her husband Geoff, decided to retire.(ABC South East SA: Bec Whetham)

‘I missed him so much’

No-one is more excited about Geoff’s return than his wife, because she wants to “be able to share it with him again”.

“I got into training because it’s something Geoff and I did. I’m glad that coming back to race riding he’s got a chance to get those rewards back.

The sun rises over a quiet dirt race track, spreading colours of pastel blue, pink and orange.
Geoff has continued to help train Belinda’s horses most mornings, often before heading off to work.(ABC South East SA: Bec Whetham)

Their relationship aside, Belinda appreciates the determination Geoff brings to the sport.

“If he’s made a mistake, he’ll take that blame upon himself … he’ll own it,” she said.

“I’m definitely looking forward to him coming back and riding for me.”

Back in the saddle

Their horse Runbro may not have been a placegetter at Penola on Tuesday, but the O’Loughlins were not too worried. They have found the winning formula before.

Either way, Geoff is just happy to be back.



Source link

Categories
Australian News

Gold Coast Titans’ late comeback clinches 14-10 NRL win over St George Illawarra Dragons



Gold Coast has cruelled St George Illawarra’s faint hopes of playing NRL finals this season by springing a late comeback to win 14-10 in Kogarah.

The Dragons led 8-0 just after half-time, but the Titans scored three unanswered tries — including two in the final five minutes — to steal the win.

New South Wales State of Origin representative Tyrone Peachey was on the spot to collect a rebounded kick off the upright to level the scores at 10-all in the 76th minute.

Barely a minute later Titans halfback Jamal Fogarty raced through broken play to score, sealing the club’s first win in three weeks.

It was a costly result for the Dragons, as a win would have placed them ninth on the ladder, just two points out of the top eight.

Instead, they are in 10th place with four rounds remaining in the minor premiership.

The Titans showed not only defensive resilience but marked improvement in attack to score their fifth win of the season under first-year coach Justin Holbrook.

It was a dour first half as the Titans’ defence on their line held firm under attack from the Dragons, who went into the break with a 2-0 lead.

The Dragons emerged with more energy in the second half and finally converted field position to points seven minutes later.

Ben Hunt’s crafty work around dummy half put Jacob Host over from short range to go up 8-0, before the Titans struck back almost immediately, starting the comeback.

Dragons winger Mikaele Ravalawa’s poor read in defence was quickly exposed when Titans second rower Beau Fermor shot a ball out to Phillip Sami to score.

Titans forward Jaimin Jollife could be in trouble for a high shot on Tyson Frizell in the first half when he caught the New South Wales State of Origin forward around the chin.

The Dragons will also be sweating on the charge sheet, with centre Zac Lomax put on report for a dangerous tackle in the second half.

AAP



Source link

Categories
Australian News

Richmond ends West Coast’s AFL winning run, Essendon scores comeback victory over Hawthorn


Richmond has halted West Coast’s eight-match winning streak with a 27-point triumph on the Gold Coast.

Earlier on Thursday evening, Essendon remarkably fought back from a six-goal deficit at half-time to beat Hawthorn by 16 points, with Joe Daniher kicking three goals in his first AFL match in almost 15 months.

In Carrara, the Tigers flexed their muscle in the third quarter as a four-goal run blew apart a hard-fought contest, with the reigning premiers winning 14.4 (88) to 9.7 (61).

The win is the third-placed Tigers’ fifth from their past six matches. The loss saw the Eagles slip out of the coveted top four to be positioned fifth on the ladder.

Richmond forward Tom Lynch kicked three goals but it was a moment of inspiration by Dustin Martin that sparked a third-quarter surge.

The superstar midfielder kicked a remarkable banana from the pocket after West Coast youngster Jarrod Brander’s awful shank out on the full gave the Tigers possession.

After Martin’s goal, Richmond kicked three more unanswered to open up a 29-point lead.

Jack Darling’s three goals in the third quarter kept hope alive for the Eagles, with a kick after the siren reducing the Tigers’ lead to 14 points.

The Tigers, however, halted the Eagles momentum with the first two goals of the final term, which included a long bomb from Noah Balta from outside 50 to seal the battle of the winners of the past three grand finals.

Loading

Liam Ryan also had three goals for the Eagles and claimed four marks inside 50 in somewhat of a lone hand in the forward line for West Coast.

Ryan’s performance was telling after key forward Josh Kennedy was ruled out in the first quarter with a concussion.

Richmond had its own injury concern, with Dylan Grimes limping out of the match in the second quarter with a hamstring problem.

Martin finished with two goals and 17 possessions, while Bachar Houli (23 possessions) and skipper Trent Cotchin (26 possessions) were busy for the Tigers.

Eagles midfielder Andrew Gaff topped the disposals tally with 32 touches and his captain Luke Shuey had 27 disposals.

Bombers complete stunning comeback

Daniher starred for the Bombers in their incredible 13.9 (87) to 10.11 (71) in Thursday’s twilight match at Adelaide Oval.

The lanky forward booted 3.3 and took several strong grabs as the Bombers revived their season by snapping a five-match winless streak to rise to ninth on the ladder.

Hawthorn’s loss was soured by luckless Jonathon Patton suffering another injury.

Patton’s season could be over after hobbling from the field in the opening quarter with a suspected right calf injury.

The former number one draft pick, who underwent three knee reconstruction operations while with Greater Western Sydney, will have scans on Friday.

Patton had only returned to action last Saturday after being sidelined for six matches by a hamstring strain.

Hawthorn led 7.10 to 2.4 at half-time after scoring from 17 of their 22 inside 50s in the half.

But Daniher, who has been cruelled by a groin injury since his last match in round nine last year, played an inspired second half.

The Bombers booted five goals to one to trail by nine points at three-quarter-time.

A group of Essendon AFL players celebrate a goal against Hawthorn.
Joe Daniher (second from right) and the Bombers had reason to celebrate in Adelaide.(AAP: David Mariuz)

Daniher’s purple patch began with a trademark high grab on the wing in the third stanza.

Minutes later, he marked low down, casually converted around his body and was mobbed by teammates.

Daniher soon added two more marks only to blaze set shots wide, but laced-out Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti for another major.

And in the tense last quarter, with his side four points up with less than four minutes remaining, Daniher goaled again.

He then capped his fairytale comeback by snapping the last major of the match to seal a remarkable win.

Essendon’s Zach Merrett was outstanding with 36 disposals, ably supported by Ashley McGrath (32 possessions), Kyle Langford (27 touches) and Dylan Shiel (25 disposals).

Bombers Jake Stringer, Cale Hooker and Dylan Clarke each booted two goals.

Hawthorn’s Brownlow medallist Tom Mitchell was his side’s chief ball-winner with 27 disposals, while teammates Tom Scully, Jack Gunston and Daniel Howe slotted two majors apiece.

AAP/ABC



Source link

Categories
Australian News

Essendon beats Hawthorn by 16 points in incredible AFL comeback win as Joe Daniher kicks three goals



Joe Daniher has sparked Essendon to a stunning 16-point comeback win over Hawthorn in his first AFL match in almost 15 months.

Daniher kicked three goals as the Bombers overturned a 36-point deficit at half-time to win 13.9 (87) to 10.11 (71) in Thursday’s twilight match at Adelaide Oval.

The lanky forward booted 3.3 and took several strong grabs as the Bombers revived their season by snapping a five-match winless streak to rise to ninth on the ladder.

Hawthorn’s loss was soured by luckless Jonathon Patton suffering another injury.

Patton’s season could be over after hobbling from the field in the opening quarter with a suspected right calf injury.

The former number one draft pick, who underwent three knee reconstruction operations while with Greater Western Sydney, will have scans on Friday.

Patton had only returned to action last Saturday after being sidelined for six matches by a hamstring strain.

Hawthorn led 7.10 to 2.4 at half-time after scoring from 17 of their 22 inside 50s in the half.

But Daniher, who has been cruelled by a groin injury since his last match in round nine last year, played an inspired second half.

The Bombers booted five goals to one to trail by nine points at three-quarter-time.

Loading

Daniher’s purple patch began with a trademark high grab on the wing in the third stanza.

Minutes later, he marked low down, casually converted around his body and was mobbed by teammates.

Daniher soon added two more marks only to blaze set shots wide, but laced-out Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti for another major.

And in the tense last quarter, with his side four points up with less than four minutes remaining, Daniher goaled again.

He then capped his fairytale comeback by snapping the last major of the match to seal a remarkable win.

Essendon’s Zach Merrett was outstanding with 36 disposals, ably supported by Ashley McGrath (32 possessions), Kyle Langford (27 touches) and Dylan Shiel (25 disposals).

Bombers Jake Stringer, Cale Hooker and Dylan Clarke each booted two goals.

Hawthorn’s Brownlow medallist Tom Mitchell was his side’s chief ball-winner with 27 disposals, while teammates Tom Scully, Jack Gunston and Daniel Howe slotted two majors apiece.

The Hawks meet winless Adelaide at Adelaide Oval on Tuesday evening, with Essendon playing West Coast in Brisbane later that night.

AAP/ABC



Source link

Categories
Australian News

Parramatta Eels survive Canterbury Bulldogs NRL comeback to win 18-16



Parramatta captain Clint Gutherson has scored a double in the 18-16 win over Canterbury, as the Eels chalked up their best start to a season through 12 rounds since 1978.

But there was no mood for celebration following the unconvincing performance against the Bulldogs, with Eels coach Brad Arthur even asking his players if they still wanted to sing the team song after the match.

After they jumped out to an 18-0 lead in the opening 28 minutes, the Eels — who now have a 10-2 win-loss record this season — were forced to avoid the biggest upset of the season in a poor second half.

“It was like a morgue in the dressing rooms, they were really disappointed,” Arthur said.

“I had to ask them if they really wanted to sing the team song.”

Perhaps the dejection of the players is a sign of how far Parramatta has come, however, given two years ago it was the Eels on the bottom of the ladder trying to cause upsets.

“We need to enjoy our wins. While we can be disappointed we still need to enjoy it,” Arthur said.

“But that’s two points we needed.”

Gutherson and Mitchell Moses were both electric in the opening 30 minutes, while Junior Paulo stood up in defence and attack.

The prop gave Parramatta its first try with a nice offload for Moses, before Gutherson scored the next two.

Gutherson’s first came in bizarre circumstances, after Bulldog Dallin Watene-Zelezniak was penalised on the previous set for playing the ball facing his own goal line.

Trailing 18-0 in the 32nd minute, the Bulldogs suddenly came to life with Raymond Faitala-Mariner touching down for their opening try, which was converted by Jake Averillo.

Averillo scored the Bulldogs’ second four-pointer just after half-time, before Foran put Marcelo Montoya through for a converted try to make it 18-16.

The Bulldogs were then left to rue a missed opportunity to level the scores with 24 minutes to play, when Aiden Tolman took a quick tap from right next to the posts.

AAP/ABC



Source link

Categories
Australian News

Hawthorn beats Carlton by 31 points in remarkable AFL comeback in Perth



Hawthorn has eased the pressure on coach Alastair Clarkson after coming from five goals down to beat Carlton by 31 points in Perth.

Playing not long after both clubs learned they had been fined by the AFL for COVID-19 protocol breaches, the Hawks looked headed for their fifth straight defeat after Carlton raced out to a 31-0 lead inside the opening 16 minutes.

But Hawthorn turned the match on its head from that point on, booting nine of the next 10 goals to set up the 14.5 (89) to 9.4 (58) win in front of 12,304 spectators.

The result leaves Hawthorn and Carlton both with 4-5 win-loss records.

Carlton skipper Patrick Cripps dominated the opening term with 11 disposals and three clearances, before finishing with 27 disposals, eight clearances and 1.2.

Cripps also earned seven free kicks for the match, a stark contrast to last week when the umpires failed to notice him being held off the ball against North Melbourne.

But he missed two big chances on goal when the Blues desperately needed to stem Hawthorn’s momentum.

Blues forward Levi Casboult (three goals) looked dangerous every time he flew for a mark, but he did not receive enough supply.

Hawthorn midfielder Tom Mitchell (28 disposals) was busy through the middle, while Jack Gunston booted three goals from 16 disposals and also took three contested marks.

Carlton made a dream start to the match, smashing the Hawks in all the major key stats to open up an imposing early lead with five goals on the board before their opponents could register their first point.

The Blues still led by 25 points early in the second quarter before the Hawks made their move.

The Hawks piled on six unanswered goals in the space of 17 minutes to take a 13-point lead into half-time, with Carlton made to pay dearly for a series of turnovers.

Hawthorn players mobbed Jarman Impey when the speedster kicked a goal in the third quarter in his first match back from a knee reconstruction.

The margin was 24 points at the final change, and the Blues were unable to breach the gap in the last quarter.

AAP/ABC



Source link

Categories
Australian News

South Sydney scores comeback 32-24 win over St George Illawarra Dragons



South Sydney has recovered from a horror start to beat St George Illawarra and climb back into the NRL top eight.

The Dragons ran in three tries in the first 16 minutes before the Rabbitohs hit back through some of their Indigenous stars, kicking off the NRL’s Indigenous Round in style with a 32-24 win.

Every one of Souths’ points came from a current or former Indigenous All Star, with winger Alex Johnston crossing for three tries, Cody Walker nabbing a double, and fullback Latrell Mitchell adding a try and four goals.

The victory was soured by a suspected shoulder injury to star halfback Adam Reynolds, who was substituted in the 12th minute and failed to return.

His exit was compounded by the Dragons racing out to a 16-0 lead after as many minutes on Thursday, led by fullback Matt Dufty.

But the Rabbitohs avoided a third straight loss and moved back into the top eight by cobbling together arguably their best hour of football this year.

Walker was the architect, scoring or having a hand in four tries, while Mitchell, in his first game back from suspension, and Johnston, added the finishing touches.

For the Dragons, coach Paul McGregor will be left to rue a blown opportunity to inch closer to the top eight.

The crowd of 2,719 thought they were in for a Dragons walkover early in the night.

Dufty finished off a 90-metre try that began with a heavy Tariq Sims shot on Reynolds that forced a loose ball, and a loose nerve down the halfback’s shoulder.

A Dufty cutout pass for Euan Aitken five minutes later doubled the lead, before the pair linked up again soon after for the Dragons speedster to make it a three-try lead.

The Rabbitohs refused to lie down, kickstarting the comeback when Walker stepped past some lazy defence in the 20th minute.

Having destroyed the Rabbitohs right edge for all three of their tries, Dufty’s lofted pass down their left was intercepted by Johnston for an 85-metre runaway effort.

Their third try was the best of the lot, with a Mitchell cutout releasing Johnston down the left, before he kicked back for Mitchell to level scores at the break.

Johnston and Tyson Frizell traded tries early in the second half, but consecutive Rabbitohs tries to Walker and Johnston sealed the victory.

AAP/ABC



Source link

Categories
Australian News

Fremantle mounts monumental comeback to clinch memorable AFL win over St Kilda



Fremantle’s Lachie Schultz has kicked a goal with just over a minute remaining to secure a stunning six-point AFL win over St Kilda at Carrara Stadium.

The Dockers trailed by 36 points at quarter-time on Saturday afternoon and lost Sean Darcy and Hayden Young to injury before half-time, but dug deep to kick eight-unanswered goals which set up the 12.7 (79) to 11.7 (73) win.

The Saints hit back with three goals in succession to tie the game up with just over two minutes left on the clock, but Schultz made no mistake from a set shot soon for a famous win.

Loading

The Dockers were two players down when Darcy (concussion) and Young (ankle) left the game.

Saints youngster Ben Long is set for a stint on the sidelines after being reported for a front-on bump on Darcy as he was bent over chasing a ground ball in the second quarter.

Michael Walters set the tone for a bad start for Fremantle when he kicked the ball the wrong way from the opening bounce.

Nathan Wilson gave away a 50m penalty soon after, gifting St Kilda the first goal of the match through Tim Membrey.

With their midfield well on top, the Saints’ forwards feasted on some poor defending to bang through seven majors to one to lead by six goals at the first break.

The Dockers were better early in the second term, but looked to have the job ahead of them when they lost Darcy.

But as their lead ruckman nursed a sore head, Matt Taberner kicked a goal with three minutes left in the quarter to begin the eight-goal run.

St Kilda’s lead was 13 points at half-time, but their first-quarter run and carry was nowhere in evidence as they failed to register a score in the third term.

The Dockers led by eight points at three-quarter time and by 19 when Nat Fyfe kicked his second goal with just under 10 minutes left.

Membrey booted his third to spark the Saints, but Fremantle held their nerve to improve to a 2-4 record in their last match before leaving the Queensland hub to return to Perth.

AAP



Source link

Categories
Australian News

Canberra Raiders hold off St George Illawarra Dragons’ NRL comeback to win 22-16



The Raiders have made a triumphant return home by withstanding a second-half surge from St George Illawarra to prevail 22-16 at Canberra Stadium.

Playing in their first match in the nation’s capital since the NRL’s return from lockdown, the Raiders led 22-0 with 20 minutes to go on the clock.

Back-to-back Dragons tries gave Paul McGregor’s men some hope, but they could not manage a third try — a second to Matt Dufty — until there was just a minute left in the contest.

The victory temporarily lifts Ricky Stuart’s side to fifth spot, while the loss for St George Illawarra again leaves McGregor under pressure to hold onto his job as coach.

The win may have come at a cost for the Raiders, with veteran forward Iosaia Soliola sent to hospital for a suspected fractured left eye socket.

He appeared to sustain the injury after a first-half head clash with Blake Lawrie.

Raiders teammate Emre Guler also failed to finish the match after suffering a suspected right-leg injury late in the second half.

Loading

Canberra’s left edge, which looked particularly potent for most of the contest, claimed the first points when momentum carried Nick Cotric over in the fifth minute.

Wing partner Bailey Simonsson doubled the lead 10 minutes later when he soared over Mikaele Ravalawa to take George Williams’s crossfield kick.

The Dragons had a handful of chances to get back into the contest, but let themselves down with untimely errors.

Williams made them pay just before half-time when he split two flat-footed front rowers to give the Raiders an unanswered three-try lead at the break.

The early signs were promising for St George Illawarra in the second half, with only a bad bounce preventing Dufty from scoring their first try.

Raiders captain Jarrod Croker looked to have killed off the contest when he pounced on a Jack Wighton grubber in the 56th minute.

Dufty, however, finally broke the Dragons’ drought when he chased a Corey Norman kick, before Zac Lomax touched down moments after.

AAP/ABC



Source link

Categories
Australian News

Melbourne Storm launch comeback to beat Sydney Roosters in NRL golden point thriller 27-25


A Cameron Smith penalty goal in golden-point extra time has given Melbourne a thrilling 27-25 win over Sydney Roosters in Brisbane.

The Storm had led by two with two minutes to play at Lang Park, before a Kyle Flanagan penalty goal squared the ledger and Luke Keary’s field goal in the following set gave the Roosters a seemingly decisive one-point lead with 45 seconds left.

But the Storm regained possession off the short kick-off and forced the extra period with a 33-metre Ryan Papenhuyzen field goal with less than 10 seconds on the clock, before Smith slotted the winning penalty goal.

After trailing by 10 points with less than 10 minutes remaining, Jahrome Hughes and Paul Momirovski scored for the Storm.

Smith, who started the match in the halves for the first time since 2014, converted from the sideline to put the Storm up by two with six minutes to play.

But Roosters half-back Flanagan and five-eighth Keary, then Storm full-back Papenhuyzen were all similarly on target in the clutch.

Loading

The dramatic clash was ironically sealed in somewhat mundane fashion by Smith, when he potted a penalty goal from straight in front of the posts after Roosters hooker Jake Friend was penalised for a ruck infringement.

The win is the 299th first-grade victory of Smith’s storied career.

Injury was added to insult for the Roosters in the extra period with Daniel Tupou and Boyd Cordner both escorted off the field.

Tupou appeared to suffer a leg injury while Cordner was left groggy after his head hit the ground in a tackle.

The dramatic finish overshadowed an attacking masterclass by the Morris brothers that had put the Roosters on the verge of a sixth straight win.

A Sydney Roosters NRL player is congratulated by a teammate as he holds the ball after scoring a try against Melbourne.
Veteran Josh Morris (right) crossed for two tries for the Roosters.(AAP: Darren England)

Josh Morris scored a double while Brett scored another to take the duo’s combined tally of NRL tries past 300.

Their efforts and Brett setting up Flanagan for the opener of the match had countered Melbourne’s efforts by Josh Addo-Carr and Hughes.

The Storm half-back made it a double with a solo effort to spark the comeback in the 71st minute.

Victory lifts the Storm up to second on the ladder, while the Roosters are fourth after their third loss of the season.

AAP/ABC



Source link