Doing an Inglis in reverse
IT WAS a physiotherapist's dream as competitors lined up for the 2014 Australian Goanna Pulling Championships at Wooli Sportsground on Sunday.
Ice packs later adorned the neck and shoulders of many a viewer watching Greg Inglis do his own goanna impersonation for his NRL grand final try celebration.
But while there's an uncanny likeness to Inglis' representation of the forward motion of his Aboriginal totem, at Wooli it was all about going backwards as men and women faced off in six divisions attempting to pull one another into submission.
"I'm sure there's a few burly fellas who'd like to put the challenge out to Inglis to get his goanna going backwards instead of forwards," three-time heavyweight champion and current referee Wayne "Tank" Phillips said.
This year, the $500 for the Men's Heavyweight title went to Scone bricklayer Gavin Smith, who was forced to fight hard against South Grafton council worker Ben Logan in the final.
"In previous pulls, Gavin hit his opponents hard and fast, but Ben changed his technique and forced it to three pulls," Phillips said.
Grafton's Alex Jefferies fended off some tough competition to secure his third Men's Middleweight title in a row. Meanwhile, Cathy Black, formerly of Glenreagh, took out the Open Women's title.
Wood chopping, brick carrying and tug-o-war were among many other activities. Seasoned Brooms Head announcer John Norris said he enjoyed hosting the unique event for the first time.
"Considering it was the long weekend and the Grafton Bridge To Bridge and NRL grand final were on at the same time, they'd have to be happy with the numbers," Norris said.
"There were some interesting characters and from doing festivals, shows and race meetings, it was something different. I'd say some people have very sore shoulders and necks today. I thought one fella's eyes were going to pop out of his head.
"Max The Goanna was the drawcard. A fella from Australian Reptile Park at Gosford came with his reptile display, which included a massive 15-year-old goanna. I come from the bush and I've seen some goannas in my time and he'd be the biggest I've seen.
"He nursed this goanna on his shoulders and he put him up on stage for the finals and put him on Tank's shoulders."
Wooli Sports Club's Debby Thompson reported about 2800 people popped in for the cost of a gold coin donation with proceeds going to Wooli Yuraygir SES, Marine Rescue Wooli and Wooli NSW Rural Fire Service.
Ladies U70kg: 1st Liz Dredge (Sydney), 2nd Michelle Redshaw (Greenbank, Brisbane)
Ladies Open (over 70kg): 1st Cathy Black (Red Hill, Brisbane), 2nd Wendy Ross (Central Coast)
Tyro U63kg: 1st Samuel Parkes (Coffs Harbour), 2nd Tory Taylor (Pillar Valley)
Men's Lightweight (63-82kg): 1st Lachlan Ricketts, 2nd Andrew Phillips (Wooli)
Men's Middleweight (82-95kg): 1st Alex Jefferies (Grafton), 2nd Brent Wilshire (Northcote, Brisbane)
Men's Heavyweight (over 95kg): 1st Gavin Smith (Scone), 2nd Ben Logan (Sth Grafton)