Courtney tackles PNG rugby stars
AUSTRALIAN surf lifesaving ironwoman Courtney Hancock had to use all of her water running skills to keep the Papua New Guinea Rugby Sevens stars at bay on the Gold Coast.
The former Sawtell clubbie, fresh from her silver medal winning performance in Sunday’s 30km Coolangatta Gold, gave the Pacific MMI Rebels team a right royal dunking when she joined in an impromptu training session at North Burleigh Beach.
The visiting PNG national champions may have been at home on the sand but when Hancock ventured into the surf it was a different story.
The Rebels were the first team to arrive on the glitter strip for this weekend’s Hyperion Gold Coast International Sevens at Albert Park, Surfers Paradise, a two-day tournament which has attracted teams from Australia, Samoa, New Zealand, the Arabian Gulf, and Fiji.
The Papua New Guinea boys wasted no time diving in and out of the surf, displaying all their rough and tough rugby skills, until Hancock stole their ball.
Four of the visiting players took part in this year’s Commonwealth Games in Delhi but could not match it with the Northcliffe star who charged through knee-depth water, showing the kind of wading skills that has made her one of the country’s finest ironwomen.
“That’s the most fun I’ve had in ages ... those boys are certainly full on ... some of their tackles would have hurt, I’m glad they didn’t tackle me,” Courtney said.
“If that’s what they do for fun, I’d hate to see what they do in a game when it is fair dinkum.”
At one stage some of the PNG boys drifted out of the red and yellow flags after diving in to cool off and Gold Coast City Lifeguard Scott Franzman was quick to herd them back to the beach.
“We can’t afford to lose any players before the tournament begins,” laughed captain-coach Freddie Matthies.
“The team has trained very hard in preparation for the Gold Coast tournament which is the talk of the Pacific.
“We are all very excited to be here in what will be a very tough competition I’m sure with teams from Australia, Samoa, New Zealand and Fiji.”