Anyone who has followed football reporter Tom Morris’ career will know that he understandably harbours some regrets.
A controversial figure who was forced to step aside from his role in 2022 after leaked WhatsApp messages revealed homophobic and racist slurs, Morris found some joy at the weekend when he opened the batting with teammate Brad Erasmus for South Caulfield in Cricket Southern Bayside’s Championship division in Melbourne.
When they both left the crease, some 428 runs later, Morris had scored an impressive 203 not out alongside Erasmus’ who, remarkably, finished on the exact same score.
However, it was Morris’ emotional response to his innings which really caught our attention, paying tribute to his mother who had recently died and reflecting on his heartbreak surrounding the last time she saw him play the sport he loves.
“My mum (Gilly) passed away in June. She had brain cancer. And she used to watch me play all the time — she loved watching me play,” Morris said.
Morris made 98 (run out) in the last game of cricket his mum saw him play before she died.
He says he’s regretted not making a hundred that day.
“It burned me all winter, one of the little things that sort of got to me is that I knew it would be the last time she watched me play, and I stupidly ran myself out for 98,’’ he said.
“It probably affected me that I’d done that. Why couldn’t I have just made a hundred and salute her?”
Morris’ story was just one of several great sporting stories revealed by our regional and community sports reporters around the nation this week.
Some of our other favourites include:
Wrong place, right time
You know how Superman, in the movies, always seems to be nearby just when a calamity is about to happen?
Hannah Sculley, a surf lifesaver from Wagga, is fast becoming our aquatic equivalent.
Sculley had just finished competing at Maroubra recently when a deadly rip pulled 25 swimmers out to sea sparking a mass emergency response.
Joining other top ironwoman and ironmen – including women’s winner Lana Rogers and Newport’s Jackson Borg – Hannah jumped back on board to assist in the huge rescue operation.
Reflecting upon that effort this week, Sculley revealed it’s far from the first time she has been unexpectedly cast into such a life or death response.
In fact she revealed other times where she has been thrust into action including once while working in a surf club restaurant and another time when she was just a “nine or 10 year-old Nipper”.
Moral of the story: if you’re ever in trouble in the water, just holler for a Hannah and hope she’s close by.
Globetrotting to Ballarat
Spectators at this week’s hugely successful Basketball Australia Under 20s Nationals, being hosted in Ballarat, could have been excused for thinking the Harlem Globetrotters may have dropped into town for a minute.
While breathtaking highlights are expected when the nation’s future Boomers and Opals stars on show, one particular piece of play from the NBA Global Academy team shot straight to the top of the charts.
Playing against Queensland, this no-look, alley-oop, double-handed dunk would have had the army of talent scouts on hand reaching for their notebooks in an instant.
A reminder too that if you want to watch more amazing highlights showcasing our nation’s best ballers, the tournament finals are being streamed live across the weekend at this link.
Matches made in heaven
Local footballers and matchmaking apps: what could go wrong?
Not a lot according to one enterprising new start-up which has launched a new recruiting app aiming to partner up clubs with players looking for a new team.
And, so far, it seems Trainstop is proving popular.
More than 130 clubs across the country have already signed on but as company secretary Greg Dennis points out there are some kinks that need to be ironed out.
Like those on Tinder and Hinge know all too well, people often lie to paint themselves in a more favourable light.
As such, if anyone is looking to recruit a 205cm, 100kg, ambidextrous power forward who can run 100m in 10.5sec and complete a 3km time trial in under ten minutes, then hit us up.
Lightning strikes twice
In an Olympic year, the sports fan in all of us can’t help but wonder where the next fairytale, rags to riches story will emerge from.
The past week has thrust forward two young sprinters from southern states who are now both on track (literally) to perhaps, one day, being made of the right stuff to be that fairytale character.
In Victoria, 20-year-old Cooper Sherman (aka The Shermanator) blitzed the field on a bush track in Ballarat to run a 100m in 10.45sec – the fastest time by an Australian this year.
Not content, Sherman then backed it up with a PB in the 400m with a time of 46.8sec – times which now have him coming into calculations for a possible spot in the relay teams for the Paris Olympics if he can maintain that form.
Meanwhile, further south, a new Tassie tearaway is quickly marking her mark with some lightning fast times.
Chelsea Scolyer caught the eye of the athletics world as she broke through to claim the Tasmanian 100m open women’s record in a time of 11.50s (+0.3) at the Capitol Athletics State Track and Field Championships in Canberra.
In doing so, she took out the under-20 race and now has all the 100m Tasmanian records from under-13s to open to her name.
But she wasn’t done there after running a 24.02s (+1.3) in the 200m to claim another state record and World Junior qualifier time.
You get a stadium, you get a stadium, everyone gets a stadium!
Talking about Tasmania, the biggest talking point in the Apple Isle continues to be the debate over exactly what should happen at Macquarie Point with varying designs clamouring for the right to be the chosen final product if, and when, the ground is first broken for construction of the proposed new AFL stadium.
However, amidst all the AFL headlines, another football code this week also pitched up its plans for a new $80m home in Hobart, featuring elite playing surfaces and new grandstands.
Football Tasmania is aiming to grow the sport of soccer and has unveiled their dreams for a hub that would cater for both elite and community football and drive forward the state’s push for men’s and women’s A-League sides.
Tasmanians generally bat about their average when it comes to producing first-class Australian sporting heroes, particularly in AFL and cricket, however soccer stars from the state have been few and far between.
Hopefully such an investment can only help unveil the next generation of Matildas and Socceroos.
Gaza battle lines drawn
Given world events it’s probably not ideal that Adelaide’s Gaza Football Club finds itself in a high-profile fight for survival against its overarching body, the SANFL.
The naming could have been better.
Late last year, the once-mighty local footy club was hit with the biggest fine in South Australian sporting history for alleged salary cap breaches dating back several years.
The $380k penalty was $80,000 more than the Adelaide Crows copped from the AFL for their own salary cap breaches at AFL level in 2012.
Not surprisingly, given it’s perhaps their only avenue for survival, the powers that be at the Gaza FC have appealed the penalty and their hearing is scheduled to be heard in front of a KC over three days starting from Monday, February 5.
Watch this space.
Local sports star of the week
Our shout out this week goes to Shaylah Pershouse, a 15-year-old netball dynamo from Mackay, who this weekend will find out if her dreams come true when the Queensland Under 17 netball team is named.
We’re backing Shaylah in merely because of the incredible efforts her and her family have exhausted to give her this opportunity.
Every weekend for the past ten weeks, Shaylah has flown from Mackay to Brisbane and back to attend all the lead up games and trials, travelling more than 20,000km in the process.
Surely the selection panel can’t question her commitment and passion for the game so our fingers are crossed in the hope her efforts are duly rewarded.
Quote of the Week
“I’m a mother of three boys and I reckon from the day they started prep to the day they finished Year 12 there was a fair chance they’d been concussed a lot of the time.” – Independent Workers Union of Australia secretary Sarah Tuohey said when talking about how schools need more information to manage proposed concussion protocols.
Originally published as Controversial AFL reporter Tom Morris reveals his great sporting regret following epic batting feat