Coasties farewell Tassie ahead of Karl Posselt Cup weekend

Back row - Craig Howker (Manager), Ruben Yee, Jacob Shields, Koby Cowen, Will Roberts, Gabriel Cross, Woti Fastigata, Toby Willington (Coach). Front row – Luke Shaw, Oscar Campbell, Taj Warren, Archer White, Jez Carrett, Isaac Willington, Zac Jolly, Liam Kelly.
Back row – Craig Howker (Manager), Ruben Yee, Jacob Shields, Koby Cowen, Will Roberts, Gabriel Cross, Woti Fastigata, Toby Willington (Coach). Front row – Luke Shaw, Oscar Campbell, Taj Warren, Archer White, Jez Carrett, Isaac Willington, Zac Jolly, Liam Kelly.

Months of training and fundraising have come together for fourteen lads from the Bega Valley and Eastern Victoria competing in the Launceston Soccer Tournament last weekend (Sept 22,23,24) in Tasmania.

The group of thirteen-year olds came from Bega, Merimbula, Eden, and Mallacoota, playing in the sky-blue jersey of the Far South Coast Soccer Association (FSCSA).

It’s been somewhat of a tradition for the local association who have sent an under 13’s rep side to the far-flung competition for over 20 years, however this year is the last for the time being.

Coach Toby Willington was pleased with his team’s efforts.

“It was great for the boys to come up against some tough competition, they learned lots that will benefit them and they handed out a few lessons of their own,” Toby said.

“They can be very proud to come away with two wins from four starts.”

The ‘Coasties’ finished second in their pool and came up against the Hills Hawkes from Sydney in the playoff for third spot.

The Tassie rain and wind was coming in sideways at kick-off, with the Coasties first to score. An evenly contested match played out with the Sydneysiders two ahead early in the second half.

The Hawkes managed to hold off a spirited charge late in the game to down the Coasties 4 – 3.

“These boys love their soccer and have had a ball playing in such a big competition,” Toby said.

Toby who was part of the winning 2012 Under 13’s Coasties side in Tassie interrupted his HSC preparations at Bega High to coach the side.

The Launceston Tournament attracts teams from New South Wales, Victoria and across the Apple Isle.

“In our 27th year we’ve attracted a record number of entries, which augurs well for the future of our beloved sport,” Dale Rigby, President of the Northern Tasmanian Junior Soccer Association said.

The trip south was only made possible through the generosity of the local community who supported the team’s fundraising efforts.

“The boys want to thank everyone who bought a raffle ticket or made a donation, we couldn’t have done this without you,” Will Roberts, Coasties Captain said.

The connection many local families have with ‘The Tassie Trip’ was evident during the team’s fundraising, with mums, dads, nannas, and grandpas buying tickets in 2017 because in years gone past it had been their kids on the street selling raffle tickets or chocolates.

FSCSA Rep Convenor and Under 13’s Manager, Craig Howker said it has been a big decision not to go to Tassie in 2018.

“Interest in soccer across the Bega Valley is growing, and we want to support more girls and boys playing at that higher level,” Craig said.

“The fundraising will continue, but we’ll be investing that money in better equipment and training, and creating more opportunities for teams from under 12 to Seniors to represent our region.

“We have some great local talent, and the Association is keen to back these kids and see them succeed,” he said.

The Coasties, first to the ball against the Hills Hawkes from Sydney.
The Coasties, first to the ball against the Hills Hawkes from Sydney.

The Under 13’s Coasties will return home in time to complete in the Karl Posselt (KP) Cup at Merimbula’s Berrambool Oval this coming weekend (Sept 29, 30 & Oct 1).

Now in its ninth year, the KP Cup is geared towards under 12’s and under 13’s boys and girls, and usually attracts around 30 teams from NSW, Victoria, and Tasmania.

The tournament recognises the outstanding contribution of Karl Posselt to the development of youth soccer not only at the Merimbula Grasshoppers, but also with Football NSW.

“The KP Cup is a huge effort for the local soccer community, but so worthwhile, thank you to all those helping out this weekend,” Craig said.

Glowing oceans and starry skies: Bioluminescence at Mallacoota

Sailing at Mallacoota. By Kate Burke
Sailing at Mallacoota. By Kate Burke

Warm summer nights, beach dreaming, magical skinny-dips in sparkling coastal lakes…and with every kick and splash, the dark water around us lights up like magic.

Many of us describe it as “phosphorescence”, but it is something more exciting than a mere glow – it is bioluminescence, evidence of tiny marine creatures and their remarkable way of shining a light on their predators.

Tonight, my man Pete and I are counting our lucky stars (figuratively – there are millions visible) as we leave the kids with Pete’s parents and head out in our little Investigator trailer sailer to spend the night by ourselves on Mallacoota Inlet.

Motoring through the narrow passage from Mallacoota Wharf to the main lake, red port markers blink to our left, green to our right, and up ahead the bright white beacon marking the channel entrance.

As we move away from the town, a waxing sliver moon sets behind the warm lights that glow from living-rooms and verandahs to the west.

The lake darkens, and as we set our sails and switch off the motor we are somehow sailing by the light of Venus and the Milky Way.

Even the tiniest light source suddenly seems alive, powerful, attractive.

The sky and the storms out on the far horizon are also alive. So alive that as we gaze at them as our keel runs aground on soft lake mud and we’re suddenly without steering. So alive that it happens again about ten minutes later. So alive that it takes us a good while to notice the bright green streams of water stretching out behind the rudder and fanning out like wings from the bow of the boat.

Bioluminescence at the Gippsland Lakes. By Phil Hart
Bioluminescence at the Gippsland Lakes. By Phil Hart

Pete and I tied our boat up to a jetty in ‘The Narrows’. I dropped a rock in the water. Light spattered like sparks – at first on the surface, but then settling into a gentle twinkling that revealed a sparkle all through the water.

Stars twinkled above, and the lake was its own galaxy of billions of lights, off and on, tiny.

Then we saw the hive of fish activity along the shoreline. Flickering of tails, each movement trailing a shower of light. Splats and runnels of luminescence. All movements, the paths of all living lake life, traced in shining light.

Tiny plankton known as dinoflagellates, the food of many whales, emit light – not phosphorescence but rather bioluminescence – in a clever play, a kind of lure.

But why draw attention to yourself, little plankton?  Why be a target?

It seems that it’s about a chain of events. Tiny plankton are hunted by predators such as crustaceans, and crustaceans are hunted by larger creatures such as big fish.

When crustaceans move to attack plankton, the plankton light up – “over here, over here!” – larger predators are attracted by the commotion and make a good feast of the crustaceans, effectively taking care of the plankton’s predators.

Dinoflagellates feed on algae and other plankton, and their populations can grow when there are high nutrient levels in coastal waters.

Bioluminescence is not limited to tiny organisms;  in fact, there are bioluminescent species of sharksAnd bioluminescence can hide some species instead of attracting attention (as described in the wonderful kids’ science book The Squid, the Vibrio & The Moon).

According to Ferris Jabr of Hakai Magazine, bioluminescent crustaceans called ostracods were dried for storage by Japanese navy personnel during the Second World War, then made into a paste and used as a covert light source for reading maps.

But here at Mallacoota, it’s the tiny plankton who are shining a light on their predators.

Pretty darn cool, sadly too cool for a midnight swim. Maybe another time.

All the same, Mallacoota Inlet is a stunning place to wake up.