FOOTSCRAY fighter Sylvia Scharper is busy preparing for her upcoming Australian bantamweight title bout against Queensland’s Kori Farr at a time women’s boxing has taken great strides.
The 31-year-old turned professional two years ago after establishing herself in Thai boxing and has since remained undefeated in three fights, winning two and drawing one.
The proud step-mother has to juggle looking after her two step-kids with six days of training a week and once you’ve thrown in her three dogs, two cats, bird and freelance writing gig – Scharper knows a national title would be worth all the effort.
“It’s pretty hard,” she admitted.
“I started in Thai boxing and then I found Dave Hegarty down at Tarneit Boxing to help with my hand-work.
“I never thought I would get to the stage to actually box, let alone pro box and Dave thought I had what it took to jump into pro boxing so I had a very short amateur career of one fight and then went to pro boxing.
“I’ve had quite a few Thai fights and been in the ring a long time but in terms of boxing, this is just the start.”
Scharper takes on Farr as part of Jake Ellis’ third Once Upon a Time in Sunshine promotion at the Italia Club on 30 May.
“She’s got an extensive amateur career and represented Australia in many countries,” Ellis said of Farr.
“She hasn’t got an extensive professional career because I know for a fact she was just planning to stay in the amateurs and she’s pretty much come out of retirement for this fight due to her national title being on the line.”
Scharper is well aware she’s relatively new to the professional circuit but does feel she has improved enough to contend for the belt.
“In the first fights I think just being in the ring and being tough got me through but in the last fight I wanted to show that I could actually box and put combos together and I think I did that so I look forward to stepping it up another level again,” she said.
“I’m always looking to improve and obviously with that belt on the line it makes you that little bit hungrier.”
THE strong, athletic, attacking half-back flanker has become an essential cog in just about every footy team in the country, no matter the standard or even age group.
Down at the Western Jets, Connor Menadue has made the position his own.
The 17-year-old has enjoyed a dream start to his top-age year in the TAC Cup, opening the season with back-to-back best-on-ground performances against the Calder Cannons and Sandringham Dragons.
In his first four appearances for the season Menadue averaged more than 24 disposals a game and has consistently drawn praise from coach Torin Baker week in, week out.
“We’ve mainly played him off the half-back line, that’s where we think he plays his best footy but he’ll be given opportunities to play through the midfield and even up forward,” Baker said.
“He’s got some tremendous attributes in that he’s extremely quick, he’s also got very good endurance and the other thing is he’s a very good contested mark so when you add all that in it’s a really nice package that he has.”
Menadue himself is happy with how he’s progressed after playing 15 bottom-age games for the Jets in 2013, and hopes his form will warrant selection for Vic Metro later in the year.
“I think I’ve had a pretty good, consistent year so far,” Menadue told Star.
“I’ve been able to beat my man off the half-back flank every week so far, which has been good and I’ve been able to get the ball which has been good as well.”
As a junior down at the Spotswood Football Club Menadue made a name for himself and was plucked from the Woodsmen as a forward, but has since developed into one of the standout running defenders currently going around in the TAC Cup.
Like his coaching staff, Menadue now believes his talents are best suited in the back half of the ground, but naturally, he still fancies himself as a dangerous forward option, too.
“I think that off the half-back flank so far this year I have been able to show my run and carry and run off half-back, and also I’ve been able to find the ball,” he said.
“But I also think if I did start to play more regularly in the midfield I could start to find the ball even more and then hopefully become a bit more dangerous up forward as well and use my speed there.
“And in the forward line, I played there during my junior career so I sort of know my way around the goal.”
AN INJURY depleted VU Western Lightning was handed a 20-goal loss in the Victorian Netball League last week.
The Lightning fell behind early in the first term against Peninsula Waves and could not recover throughout the match.
VU trailed by seven goals at quarter time before the Waves extended the margin to 12 at the main break.
The young Lightning squad fought hard in the second half and was able to remain competitive but failed to eat into the margin.
Wednesday’s 58-38 win is the sixth of the season for Waves and sees them move to outright third spot on the VNL ladder.
“We have obviously been decimated by injury and we are finding it very hard to rebuild,” VU coach Matt Hills said.
“We are basically playing 18-year-olds to cover for senior and experienced players. The last two weeks has demonstrated that.
“When you take Brooke Thompson and Fiona Themann out of our defensive end, who were arguably the best defensive combination in the league the last couple of years, that is always going to be tough.
“Then we were without Sophie Barr in goals while Sophie Gunn is returning from illness and injury, it is a tough road.”
The Lightning now occupy ninth place on the VNL ladder, only ahead of the winless Fed Uni Ballarat Pride.
However, the damage isn’t as bad as it appears with VU part of a logjam of teams with only one game separating fourth and ninth.
Despite the uphill battle, Hills is still confident in his team’s ability and pinpointed the club’s next two games against the Sothern Saints and DC North East Blaze as season defining.
When VU was closer to full strength earlier in the season, the Lightning won three of its first four games which included a victory against the Saints by three goals.
“We still want to make finals,” Hills said.
“We are still working very hard at training and continue to set ourselves high standards. Certainly there is plenty of work to do on the track and there is a lot discussion from the playing group about what we want to do and what we can achieve.
“The next two games are critical. We really need to win both to give ourselves the opportunity to play finals. I think that after those two games we will re-asses. If we can win those two games and get back to 6-6 we are still in the fight.”
WYNDHAM residents are set to spend less time waiting to see a doctor after the long-awaited Wyndham Vale GP Super Clinic was officially opened last week.
Federal Leader of the Opposition, Bill Shorten, unveiled the new $15 million clinic on Wednesday, claiming it would plug a gap between local GPs and hospitals.
“Rather than services following after the community has grown, we have a service here that will grow with the community,” Mr Shorten said.
“I live in Moonee Valley. I represent areas of Maribyrnong, Brimbank and Moonee Valley. Those communities would be envious of this facility.”
Member for Lalor, Joanne Ryan, said the Super Clinic, which was announced by Julia Gillard when she was Prime Minister, would make it easier for residents to speedily see a doctor.
“This is great news for the community of Wyndham Vale. It’s great news for the region and a much-needed facility in this area of high growth. There are approximately 70 babies born each week, 15,000 new residents in the last two years and a population of 200,000 expected by the end of this financial year,” Mr Ryan said.
But the Federal Minister for Health, Peter Dutton, threw a dampener on the event by claiming that the new clinic was delivered late and with only one doctor on duty.
“It’s clearly a momentous event for Labor when one of their so-called GP ‘super’ clinics finally opens – almost four years after it was promised – with just one doctor,” Mr Dutton said.
“That’s truly success on a grand scale for Labor.
“Although taxpayers who forked out $15 million for Labor’s Wyndham Vale ‘super’ clinic might tend to see that track record as a grand failure. In fact, they might wonder just how ‘super’ a clinic with one doctor actually is,” he said.
The CEO of ISIS, the company that will be running the clinic, Terry O’Brien, told Star that it was, in fact, delivered three years after they received the contract from the Commonwealth to construct it.
“Until we get a contract to construct, we don’t start building,” Mr O’Brien said.
“Sure, we only have one doctor, but that’s because we’ve only been open for a week or two and we don’t have the demand for more doctors yet, but we do have a plan to go to 12 doctors.
“Until we get to 140 appointments a week, we don’t need a bunch of doctors standing around.
“There might be some truth behind what Mr Dutton is saying about super clinics in general, but the specifics about ours are incorrect.”
The Wyndham Vale GP Super Clinic is located at 150 Ballan Rd, Wyndham Vale.
A WERRIBEE business received significant damage during one of the busiest times of the year after a fire tore through it.
About 3.50am on Thursday 16 April Werribee Fire Brigade was paged for an undefined fire on Watton St near Wedge St. The crew of a patrolling police unit had noticed smoke coming from Kippers fish and chip shop.
Werribee volunteers responded along with the Hoppers Crossing and Point Cook fire brigades.
First Lieutenant Darryl Wells said the first crews to arrive could see flames coming from the roof.
“Within 15 minutes of arrival, the crews had the fire under control and contained to the room of origin, further time was then spent removing plaster from the ceiling and using a thermal imaging camera until all hot spots were located and extinguished,” First Lt Wells said.
“The estimated damage was $50,000 and the cause was an electrical fault as determined by a CFA fire investigator.
“The early discovery of the fire by the passing police patrol, the rapid response and aggressive fire fight carried out by Werribee volunteers supported by crews from Hoppers Crossing and Point Cook considerably reduced the fire damage to the shop.
“Although, the fire could not have happened at a worse time for the owners as they had just received all the fish for Good Friday.”
WYNDHAM Council has made the next move in its transport and traffic congestion campaign to Get Wyndham Moving, with the erection of a new billboard.
The billboard is on the Princes Freeway city bound, near the Western Ring Road exit and was installed last week.
It features the Get Wyndham Moving website and logo and the slogan “Make Your Move”- encouraging residents to join the campaign and the State and Federal governments to commit funding to transport infrastructure.
Councillor Glenn Goodfellow said the billboard would target commuters stuck in traffic.
“We have had some fantastic community support so far following the campaign launch and the Race to the City and it’s vital that we keep that momentum going,” Cr Goodfellow said.
“While we await the outcome of the State and Federal budgets, we want to encourage as many residents as possible to get behind the campaign by signing our petition, joining up to our Facebook page or visiting our website for more information.”
“Placing this billboard on the Princes Freeway allows us to get our message out to the thousands of residents who are stuck in traffic each morning on their way to work.
“Our statistics show that one in four of our working residents spends 20 days per year stuck in traffic – that equates to what most people take each year in annual leave. This was highlighted by our recent Race to the City, which showed it was faster to cycle than drive into Federation Square from Wyndham, taking cars up to one hour and 40 minutes, compared to one hour on a bicycle.”
For more information on the Get Wyndham Moving campaign or to get involved, visit www.getwyndhammoving.com.au
WYNDHAM drivers will have a better idea about what to do if they are involved in a car crash thanks to the Wyndham Humanitarian Network’s Had a Crash campaign.
The Tarneit MP Tim Pallas launched the campaign at Wayaperri House recently.
“This campaign highlights the importance of knowing what to do in the event of an accident, but will also serve as an important reminder for people to drive safely – particularly over the Easter long weekend,” Mr Pallas said.
“Having a crash is stressful and it can be difficult to know exactly what to do,” Jennie Barrera, chairwoman of the Wyndham Humanitarian Network, said.
“The Wyndham Humanitarian Network has designed a Had a Crash car sticker to remind drivers of their obligations following an accident.”
Wyndham Legal Service lawyer Simone King said the campaign would help people be better informed.
“Unfortunately, many people don’t know what information to exchange and what to do when they are involved in an accident – we see this all too often at the Wyndham Legal Service’s Motor Vehicle Accident Clinic,” Ms King said.
Victoria Police Leading Senior Constable and multicultural liaison officer Richard Dove said motor vehicle accidents was an area of the law that drivers from newly arrived communities could easily find themselves in trouble with police through not knowing the correct procedure.
“This can be quite devastating when a newly arrived migrant discovers that they have not only had a crash, but are now subject to charges which could see them heavily fined or facing a magistrate,” he said.
“This sticker, I believe, will alleviate a lot of unnecessary worry and hardship on an already disadvantaged people, and assist the wider community through having a more informed migrant population.”
The free stickers are available in English, Karen, Burmese and Arabic and can be collected from Wyndham Legal Service.
The Wyndham Legal Service Motor Vehicle Accident Clinic is held every Monday from 10am to noon at the WLS Office 10/2-14 Station Pl, Werribee.
COREY Ellis has emerged as an early leading candidate to join the growing list of Western Jets to end up on an AFL list in the senior ranks.
After showing plenty of bottom-age promise in 12 games for the Jets in 2013, the former Keilor junior has flown out of the blocks to start his draft-eligible year.
In four games so far this TAC Cup season, the 17-year-old has averaged nearly 25 disposals a game and has been named among the Jets’ best on three occasions, but was still one of their better contributors the one time he was left out.
Ellis is happy with his early-season form through the midfield, but told Star he wants to improve on some of his defensive work as the season progresses.
“I’m pretty happy with how I’m going, I’m playing some consistent footy,” Ellis said.
“We’re just not getting the wins we need and hopefully that’ll turn around, but (I’m) just pretty happy with how I’m going so far.
“I think just playing in the midfield and being able to use my aerobic ability and get to stoppages and getting near the ball as much as possible (is working well), and when I go back just being able to run off my man and get a bit of the ball up-field and being able to use it up there a bit more, too.
“With my defensive running, locating a man from the stoppage or whenever they have possession, I’ve just got to try to keep my man to a low number of touches as possible – and just make sure I can stick to an opponent and keep him down.”
Ellis hit top form in his most recent outing for the Jets against the Northern Territory, slamming home two goals and gathering 35 touches and 11 marks for the day.
Though the Territory struggled throughout that game, Ellis said it was his best ever performance in the blue and gold.
“That was probably my best game for the Jets,” he said.
“I was just able to find some space and get used and sneak forward and kick a couple and it all just kind of worked on the day.”
Ellis hopes his recent form will warrant a call-up for Vic Metro later this year and the ultimate goal is to follow in the footsteps of former Jets team-mate and fellow Keilor alumni James Sicily onto an AFL list come season’s end.
Trial games for Vic Metro and Vic Country were held over the weekend with final squads expected to be announced within the coming few weeks.
CITY West Falcons continued their unbeaten run in the Victorian Netball League last week, smashing Fed Uni Ballarat Pride by 38 goals.
The Falcons dominated the match from start to finish and posted some of their biggest scoring numbers for the season along the way.
While Ballarat was able to hit the scoreboard, there was no defensive pressure the other way and the Falcons did as they pleased.
City West scored 20, 24, 21 and 15 goals in each of the four quarters respectively.
Kathleen Knott enjoyed a day out in the goal third, scoring 49 from 54 attempts at 91 per cent shooting accuracy.
She was well supported by Alice Teague-Neeld who shot a perfect 18 goals from 18 shots while Julia Woolley was also impressive with 13 goals of her own.
The result sees City West move to a 9-0 win/loss record for the season, two games clear on top of the VNL Championship ladder.
When round 10 gets underway this Wednesday, the Falcons will take on DC North East Blaze.
Elsewhere in the VNL, VU Western Lightning suffered a disappointing loss at the hands of Yarra Valley Grammar Ariels.
The Lightning was shut down defensively throughout the match and was able to score just 24 goals.
There was no such trouble at the other end of the court as Yarra Valley continued to hit the scoreboard on its way to the 55-24 victory.
The 31 goal loss is Lightning’s fifth of the season and puts the club under pressure to make finals.
VU is in eighth spot on the ladder and it is part of a group of seven teams from third to eighth fighting for the last two finals places in the top four.
This week will see the Lightning take on third placed Peninsula Waves in what is now a must win match.
A FIVE-goal haul from Majak Daw wasn’t enough to give Werribee an upset win against Port Melbourne on Saturday.
The Tigers fought hard throughout the contest before eventually going down by 13 points, 16.11 (107) to 14.10 (94).
Despite entering the game as underdogs, Werribee made a great start to the match at North Port Oval.
After conceding the first two goals, the Tigers lifted their pressure around the contest and started to make an impact on the scoreboard.
Werribee kicked five of the next six goals to take a 13-point lead into quarter-time.
However, after the break, Port Melbourne was able to wrestle back the momentum.
The Borough started to win a lot more of the 50/50 contests and clearances on their way to seven second quarter goals.
After looking dangerous inside 50 throughout the first quarter, Werribee struggled to make the most of their chances in the second term and converted just one goal.
The 22-point half-time margin was always going to be tough to overcome but the Tigers went down swinging.
With Daw providing a big target up forward, Werribee went toe to toe with Port Melbourne throughout the second half.
Thanks to a four-goal to two final term, the Tigers managed to cut the margin to 13 points before time ran out.
As well as Daw’s haul, Ben Warren and Thomas Gribble kicked two goals each for Werribee while around the ground Scott Sherlock was a stand-out.
The result sees the Tigers slip to a 1-2 win/loss record for the season after three games.
When round four gets underway this weekend Werribee will take on the Northern Blues in a night game at Avalon Airport Oval.