HAMILTON is set to become a one-team football city, according to former Hamilton Imperials playing coach Brent Forsyth.

Forsyth, who was the senior coach of the club from 2009 until the end of last season, made the explosive prediction after a practice match at Port Fairy on the weekend.

He predicted that the joint Victorian Country Football League and South Australian Community Football League review into the structure of leagues in south-west Victoria and south-east South Australia getting under way this month would look at Hamilton’s inability to sustain two major league clubs.

“It’s all a shame but Hamilton can only sustain one senior football side now,” Forsyth said.

“I’m confident that Hamilton and Hamilton Imperials will amalgamate in the near future to form one side which will play in the Hampden Football Netball League.

“I think it will be better for everyone in the town (Hamilton) when there is only one senior side.

“It should make it easier on sponsorship and attracting and retaining players.”

Forsyth, who started his career playing juniors with Hamilton Imperials before stints at Lake Wendouree in the Ballarat Football League and Palmerston in Darwin, said both Hamilton Western Border league clubs would struggle for depth during the season.

“When I was growing up there was an abundance of players wanting to play footy in Hamilton. That’s all changed now.

“I would love to see both clubs survive but it’s impossible to see them doing that.

“Both clubs struggle to keep players in the 22 to 27-year age range as they go out to the country leagues for a quid.

“I’m sure the restructure of local footy will tick off one side from Hamilton to play in the Hampden league.”

Forsyth said he was confident that Portland would join the Hampden Football Netball League under the restructure.

“I would say the other Western Border clubs which are from over at Mount Gambier will join either the Mid South East League or the Kowree Naracoorte League.”

Forsyth has decided to stay on as a player at Imperials this year after the club appointed former Sturt midfielder Jake Myles for the senior role.

“We’ve had a good pre-season.

“We’ve got good numbers at training and a few of the young lads have put their hands up,” Forsyth told The Standard.

“Jake is doing a good job.

“If we stay injury-free, I reckon we might sneak into the finals and then you never know what might happen.”

Hamilton Football Netball Club president Paul Block declined to speak about the issue.

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WARRNAMBOOL-trained mare Spirit Song has her name etched onto the 2011-2012 South Western District racehorse of the year award after she won the group 2 $200,000 Sunline Stakes (1600 metres) at Moonee Valley on a protest on Friday night.

Spirit Song has won six of her eight starts and two second placings since she joined the stables of Aaron Purcell.

Purcell said he was surprised that the four-year-old mare had won so many races for him during this preparation.

“She’s done a great job. I thought she might win a couple of moderate races but every time I’ve lifted the bar she has performed. I only got her because she’s had leg issues,” Purcell said. “She does not see the track during the week. I only take her down to the beach. She does all her work down there. She had won a restricted fillies race in Adelaide when I got her.”

Purcell said Spirit Song was in the spelling paddock after Friday’s win.

“She deserves a break. We’ll now set her for the Myer Classic which is run on Derby Day in November at Flemington. She deserves a crack at a good race like that,” Purcell said. “We’ll run her in a couple of black type mares’ races over the spring before the Myer Classic. The more black type she earns the better for her breeding options.”

Spirit Song has won more than $400,000 in prizemoney from her 19 starts.

Wilson gets positive medical report

CAMPERDOWN-based jockey Neville Wilson has received a positive medical report from his specialist. Wilson has been out of the saddle since he suffered neck and shoulder injuries and a broken thumb after a race fall at Geelong last April. He has been back riding trackwork at Camperdown for the past few weeks.

“The specialist is pleased with the progress I’ve made since the fall. He believes I’m about where I should be at this stage,” Wilson said. “We’ll just keep on riding work and doing extra rehabilitation before deciding on my riding future.”

The veteran hoop has ridden more than 2000 winners in his career.

Beriman penalised for careless riding

PROMISING Warrnambool apprentice jockey Jackie Beriman has been outed by South Australian stewards after riding at Mount Gambier last Thursday.

Beriman, who has ridden 39 winners since she started riding in late October last year, copped a five-meeting penalty for careless riding. South Australia only races twice a week so her suspension in Victoria is for 16 days. She was allowed to ride at Terang on Saturday to fulfill her riding engagements. Beriman will be back riding on Easter Saturday after she was booked by her master Jarrod McLean to ride Youbolt at Oakbank on the first day of the two-day Easter carnival.

McLean said it was disappointing that Beriman had to serve a 16-day suspension in Victoria when the careless riding charge was in the lower range.

Meanwhile, McLean said he’s aiming his speedy gelding Waltzes at an 1100-metre race at Caulfield on April 21 after he ran second in a 955-metre sprint race at Moonee Valley on Friday night.

“Waltzes has won over 1100 metres before but that was a fair while ago. He has been running well over the shorter distance of 955 metres at his last couple of outings,” McLean said. “I’m confident the horse will run out 1100 metres now as he’s a lot stronger.”

Waltzes has amassed six wins and five minor placings from 20 starts.

Centuron to race at May carnival

TERANG trainer David “Raddish” Drever will freshen up Centuron for a race at the Warrnambool May carnival after he won a restricted race at Terang on Saturday.

Drever said Centuron had originally been trained by his former Terang neighbour, top Sydney trainer Gerald Ryan as a two-year-old and it was Ryan who gave the former star apprentice jockey a few clues on training Centuron.

“Gerald used to live across the road from us as kids. I think the horse had about three trainers after he had been with Gerald. I had a chat with Gerald and he said the horse had shown a bit of ability as a young horse,” Drever said. “We’ll just try and keep him fresh. His best efforts are in races between 1200 to 1400 metres. We would love to win a race at the Warrnambool carnival with him.”

Centuron had not won a race for more than three years when he joined Drever’s stables. The six-year-old has now won two starts for the colourful trainer.

Dennis Beriman tastes success

FORMER Seymour trainer Dennis Beriman is making every post a winner since he moved his training operation to Warrnambool a few months ago. Beriman, who trained Bundoor’s Best to win the 1992 Warrnambool Cup, has six horses in work with his stable star Clanga’s Glory winning his fourth race from six starts at Terang on Saturday.

“He’s just an honest horse. I think he’s got a big heart. I think he will run a solid mile-and-a-quarter once he matures,” Beriman said. “He’s been lightly raced. I might run him at the Hamilton Cup Carnival next month but I will not rush him. The horse will tell me when he’s ready to run again.”

Saturday’s win in the restricted race over 1600 metres takes Clanga’s Glory’s prizemoney to more than $30,000 from six starts.

May Racing Carnival launch

WARRNAMBOOL Racing Club launches its 2012 May Racing Carnival on Sunday night in the Matilda Room at the racecourse. Among the guests will be Dennis O’Keeffe who will make a presentation about his soon-to-be-released book Waltzing Matilda, the secret history of Australia’s favourite song.

Tickets can be obtained by contacting the club on 55622211.

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The view from Cannon Hill.AN ampitheatre at Cannon Hill has been suggested by Warrnambool’s mayor Cr Jacinta Ermacora as a way of revitalising the iconic natural landmark.

The scenic hill overlooking Lake Pertobe and the foreshore is a popular vantage spot for locals and visitors only two blocks away from the central business district.

Its potential was recognised in the new city centre revitalisation structure plan officially released by the city council this week for public comment.

The plan recommended upgrading Cannon Hill to become “a key parkland attractor and southern anchor to the city centre as well as a more inviting place for daily city users”.

It suggested reconfiguring car parking to provide parkland/seating areas with elevated views over the lake and foreshore, improving park furniture and landscaping, plus improving pedestrian and cycling links.

Cr Ermacora said consultants who prepared the extensive plan recognised the area’s value from an outsider’s point of view.

“It’s a great expression of potential linking our city centre to the Cannon Hill area,” she said.

Cr Ermacora suggested a stone ampitheatre could be built into the natural slope on the southern side of the hill providing a great venue for concerts, festivals and relaxation.

“I want to stimulate community thinking on this and get people’s ideas,” she said.

The structure plan, which had its origins in a community workshop more than three years ago, will be out for public comment for six weeks.

It sets a vision for the next 25 years covering a diverse range of issues including parking, traffic, street revitalisation and heritage.

Cr Ermacora said one of the main themes was to make the CBD safer for pedestrians and cyclists while still allowing traffic through.

Concern was raised by councillors Rob Askew and John Harris who said good vehicle access to the central shopping area must be maintained, particularly for country residents.

“If we make it too hard for people to get into the CBD parking areas they will desert the area,” Cr Harris said.

Cr Askew also cautioned about allowing “minimal heritage value structures impede good developments in the city centre”.

He said the plan could also prompt some owners to improve their properties.

Cr Jennifer Lowe said parking would be the most contentious issue within the plan and consideration must be made for future needs in an expanded city.

She called for a marketing campaign to urge as many residents as possible to lodge their comments.

City growth director Bill Millard said the plan would be critical in assisting the council gain government funding for improvements.

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PIRATES has already written itself into the Warrnambool Volleyball Association history books by progressing to tonight’s grand final, but the side hopes there is another history-making feat to come — a premiership.

Captain David McConnell will lead his side in the division one grand final against reigning premier Reeves at Warrnambool stadium tonight.

McConnell and a friend formed the Pirates about four years ago.

“We’ve been developing young players and for the first time we’ve made it through to the grand final,” he said.

“We’re really stoked to make it after losing a few (preliminary finals) in previous seasons.”

The team’s focus on developing up-and-coming players is highlighted through the improvement of teenage outside hitter Jimmy Holland.

“He’s really stepped up over the last season and has become a genuine division one squad player,” McConnell said.

“Everyone else in our team has been fairly solid.”

The captain described the Pirates’ season as patchy.

“Our star player Rob Bright missed a few games through injury and unavailability, so definitely without him we struggled,” he said.

“But he’s back and played all the finals. We’ve got our full seven players so we’re at full strength (tonight).”

McConnell said his team would start firm underdog in the season decider.

“Reeves is definitely the favourite, there’s no argument there, but we reckon we can match it with them,” he said.

He believed his side’s defensive work would be crucial in creating an upset.

“They’re so good with their attack so if we can hold them with our defence and then get a chance to attack, it will go a long way to winning,” he said. Pirates has also progressed to the division two decider and will take on the young Buccaneers outfit. Action starts from 7pm.

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Alan Bryant.HE may have entered the Victorian Masters Track and Field Championships with light expectations, but Alan Bryant left with a heavy load.

The Warrnambool competitor snared three gold medals and a silver after approaching the competition with a positive and relaxed attitude.

“I was hoping I’d do well in triple jump and probably the long jump but I really just wanted to go and enjoy it,” he said.

“I don’t take a bag of ambitions or expectations because if you do that, I don’t think you enjoy yourself as much.”

Bryant ticked off his goal of enjoying himself, with his medals a bonus.

Competing in the 65 to 69-year-old category, he claimed gold in the 200 metres (31.95 seconds), long jump (3.96m) and triple jump (8.35m), while he was second in the 100m (15.49 seconds).

His medal haul marked his best performance at the state titles, which were held at Doncaster.

The 65-year-old said he believed training at Brauerander Park had been a huge benefit.

“It’s a first-class facility so it makes a big difference,” he said.

“I train four to five times a week which ranges from general running to jumping technique, sprint work and plyometrics.

“I also do core exercises.”

Bryant was surprised to win the 200m, in which he came up against friendly rival Myer Vorchheimer. “We both got a good start and I ran the bend really well,” he said.

“We were shoulder-to-shoulder with 90 metres to go.

“I slowly got in front and got away in the last 30 metres.”

He was consistent in the triple jump while in the long jump, he clinched gold with his last jump.

It was just four centimetres off four metres, which is considered the “holy grail” in his age group.

Two other south-west competitors took part in the state championships on the weekend, with Warrnambool’s John Reynolds collecting three silver and two bronze. He finished second in the hammer throw (33.44m), weight throw (12.96m) and weight pentathlon (2888 points) while he was third in the discus (32.65m) and shot put (8.78m)

Port Campbell’s Colin Silcock-Delaney picked up silver in the 5000m and 2000m steeplechase and bronze in the 1500m and 1500m walk.

Reynolds, Silcock-Delaney and Bryant are all competing in the Australian Masters Athletics Championships at Melbourne’s Lakeside Stadium over Easter.

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