August 2017 Sportstar nominees

By Riverine Herald

Paddy Mathers has already set himself for international success having travelled to Japan this month to tour with the 2017 under-14 Victorian regional representative soccer team.

The 14-year-old Moama Anglican Grammar School student was overseas for eight days as part of the tour, taking on representative teams from three different regions in Japan.

His under-14 side went on to win the Yaizu Cup, which is contested between local academy and school teams out of the Yaizu regions of Japan.

Mathers was one of five representatives from Bendigo City Football Club (BCFC), where he plays in the National Premier League (NPL) under 14s, to make it to the final squad after participating in the country state trials in Melbourne.

Mathers had played for Bendigo City for three years, training three nights a week and playing in Melbourne, Bendigo, Geelong and Ballarat on weekends, prior to which he’d spent a year with Golden City in the Bendigo Amateur Soccer League (BASL).

He started as a junior with the Moama Echuca Border Raiders, having taken up soccer at five-years-old, and has dedicated much of his time to the sport.

He had previously been selected in the Victorian under-12 and -13 sides to play in the national championships in 2014 and 2015.

The title of the 2016/17 Victorian leading lady trainer was awarded to Gwenda Johnstone this month after finishing with 21 winners.

The Echuca horse trainer had 164 starts this season which included four metropolitan wins, 17 country wins and 29 placings.

She was presented with the award by the Victorian Wakeful Club on Thursday, August 31, at the Emerald Hotel in South Melbourne.

Her most notable wins included one at Moonee Valley and Ladbrokes Park Hillside and two at Flemington and a win at Echuca Racing Club Cup Day with Lika Shadow in the $30,000 Shadoways Sprint (1000m), named in honour of her 2008 Goodwood winner – her stable’s only group one winner.

It was the fourth time Johnstone has been named leading lady trainer of the year.

She has already seen one country win this season with She’s Just Lika in the benchmark 58 handicap over 1200m at Swan Hill in August.

She puts in numerous hours training most days, usually starting from 4am and rarely finishing before 6pm, beginning with track work and ending with a lot of paperwork.

Johnstone also owns about 15ha near Koyuga where her brood mares are agisted.