Meeting Mike a real highlight

IN about 25 years as a journalist, I have had the pleasure of meeting many incredible people, but I can’t remember anyone who made more of what will no doubt be a lasting impression than former Test cricketer Mike Whitney.

I met up with Mike at Jamberoo on Tuesday where he and his incredibly co-operative crew were taping an episode of Sydney Weekender at Jamberoo Valley Farm, and I was blown away by just how down-to-earth Whitney was.

As a self-confessed cricket tragic, I thoroughly enjoyed spending almost an hour taking to him about cricket and his career in both cricket and the media.

There was no bravado – just a guy who loved a chat and recalled some great memories. He also gave a great insight into the current Australian team.

His respect for up-and-coming left-arm speedster Mitchell Starc and current Aussie hero Mitchell Johnson (all members of what he described as the left-arm fast bowling fraternity) was plain to see.

And he also gave Australian captain Michael Clarke a huge wrap, not only for the way he is leading the current side, but also his courage under fire in the recent series win in South Africa.

Yep – what you see is what you get with Mike – and this journo will long remember his time with him.

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Just  how much Kiama Knights will miss their ‘dynamic duo’ of fullback Tom Atkins and halfback Jack Alexander may well be on show on Saturday when the side faces their third successive defeat without the talented pair.

After riding high in third place for most of the season, the pair jetted off with Gerringong Lions winger Taylor Hudson last week and they head to Berry Showground and play a resurgent Magpies side who have won four-in-a-row. A loss here will see Nowra-Bomaderry (bye) leap-frog them and Gerringong, who also have a bye and Berry move to within a point.

Despite the impact of the two boys’ departure, the Knights have built their season around defence and they will be hoping it stands up on Saturday against arguably the most enthusiastic team in the competition at home.

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Anyone who read my column the day after league’s State of Origin II will know how relieved I am that the powers that be have decided to put referee Shayne Hayne on the bench and bring in some new talent for Origin III next Wednesday night.

It’s great to see Kiama’s Josh Morris back in the side after his heroics in Origin I and his remarkable recovery will most likely see him renew acquaintances with Maroons’ juggernaut Greg Inglis. Their battle in the opening Origin was undoubtedly one of the real highlights of the series to date.

Let’s hope that, with the series now decided, we will see some free-flowing football.

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There were certainly some bleary eyes around at the moment after youngster Nick Kyrgios’ incredible run in the All-England Tennis Championships at Wimbledon.

His win over Raphael Nadal on Tuesday night was something to warm every Aussie’s heart and if he can beat the world no.1, the sky seems to be the limit for the seemingly well-grounded young man.

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Kiama Netball Association fielded four teams at the 2014 Netball NSW State Age Championships, contested over the weekend.

Their 12/U Division Three side finished in fourth place with 11 wins, four losses and a draw; their 14/U Division Two team finished sixth with 12 wins, three losses and four draws;  their 15/U Division Three side finished 16th; while their 13/U Division Three finished in 20thposition against some of the best netball talent from across the State. 

Congratulations to everyone involved.

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