SO Surf Life Saving Australia has finally decided to move the national titles from Kurrawa Beach, where three young athletes have died, south to North Kirra on the Gold Coast.
The move, announced Monday, is too late coming, after Matthew Barclay, 14, from Maroochydore drowned at Kurrawa during the under-15 board race in March, two years after Sydney lifesaver Saxon Bird died on the same beach in treacherous surf conditions.
And after 15-year-old Robert Gatenby was killed when thrown from a surf boat which collided with another in 1996, I was among thousands on the beach that day and, in my opinion, no 14 or 15-year-old should have been battling that surf.
The current was so swift that his body was quickly swept away, and not found until three days later, many kilometres away.
Kurrawa is very open and the waves quite wind-affected, so you have to wonder why it took 16 years, and the loss of two more lives, for officials to finally make the move.
Might it be because the beach is within walking distance of the enormous Surfers Paradise/Broadbeach unit accommodation which caters for the bulk of the 11,000 surf lifesavers from across Australia, and gives the Gold Coast economy a $25 million windfall?
That's big bucks. And under an agreement between SLSA, the state government and Events Queensland, it is is likely to return to North Kirra and Tugan for 2015, 2017, 2019 and 2020.
AND while the main surf season might be over, some North Cronulla lifesavers will battle it out in the final round of the NSW IRB premiership at North Wollongong this weekend. Leaders Kiama Downs have North Cronulla and Thirroul chasing them.
SEEMS the only way to encourage New Zealand league stars to play for their country of origin is to duplicate our Origin series, in New Zealand, and pay them accordingly. League Commission head John Grant says we can't prevent Kiwis like James Tamou and Sam Kasiano being "poached" by NSW and Queensland, or even for the Australian Test side.
The NZ League wants to set up an Auckland v The Rest Origin series. But the NRL clubs would only release their players if there's a weekend free of NRL games for Origin — on both sides of the ditch. Origin IIs average 1.199 million viewers was the biggest Sydney audience in the history of OzTAM ratings for any program on the Nine Network. So what will the Origin III decider fetch? With the July 4 decider in Brisbane set to top all records, there's no doubt Nine executives will be sweating on winning league's new TV rights.
THE recall of Southern Districts' towering Tongan, Sitaleki Timani, to the Wallabies boosts to eight the number of NSW Waratahs named for the third and final Test against Wales in Sydney this Saturday.
Five of the eight-man Waratah pack will scrum down. Then there's Timani's Southern Districts teammate, outside centre Rob Horne, who scored his team's only try in the Wallabies' 25-23 second Test win in Melbourne and fly-half Berrick Barnes, with Dave Dennis again on the bench.