The Grafton Gorillas en route to the gold medal in Hobart.
The Grafton Gorillas en route to the gold medal in Hobart.

Tug team pulls its weight

THEY went, they pulled, they conquered.

Grafton’s stranglehold on the national tug of war scene continued after the Gorilla’s gold-medal effort at the Australasian Police and Emergency Services Games.

Andrew Morris and his six teammates, made up of local prison guards, pulled their weight to clinch the top prize in the open category in the beautiful location of Hobart on Friday.

An early stroke of luck with the draw all but ensured the team’s successful title defence.

“They did the draw and we drew the second-best team (Hobart Fire and Rescue) straight away,” Morris said.

“We were fresh and keyed-up and ready to go.

“If we had played them in the final it would have been a lot closer.

“The first pull we did was probably the best ever.”

A two pulls to nil triumph was followed by perfect rounds in both the semi-finals versus Western Australia Police and decider against Tasmania Aviation and Fire.

“It didn’t take very long although they were strong they weren’t as good as the other team,” Morris said of the grand final matchup.

“Most of the teams probably had one training session – we have been training for six months.

“We went back to the Hobart Fire and Rescue Social Club and they shouted us a beer.”

The team perfected the ‘tent-pegging’ technique for the games by pulling semi-trailers and against the Grafton Rhinos’ forward pack.

Now an even bigger prize could await.

But Morris isn’t holding his breath with the sport’s ever-growing popularity attracting an exciting blend of youth and power.

“We are going to train now for the Australian Titles in Aberdeen, NSW,” Morris said.

“We’re hoping to win more than we lose but it’s an experience thing.

“When you get into it it’s quite technical. If someone wanted to challenge us they’re more than welcome.”

The team plans on developing Grafton’s first tug of war club and hopes to field an open day in the coming months.

They have already begun to develop a more professional approach to the sport, which is fought out on grass.

Powerlifting gold for Morris gave cause for a double celebration. He hoisted 202.5kg in the deadlift leg – good enough for second - and a competition-best 95kg in the bench press to be one of the event’s stars.

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