James Magnussen’s former footy coach has revealed that the devastation of losing the under-16s grand final after the siren convinced the towering second-rower to ditch league and concentrate on swimming. Having juggled swimming as a “bit of cross training for footy” and studying for his HSC, Mayo said Magnussen was a late bloomer in the pool. Until that dreadful day.
Having gone undefeated all season, the Sharks were four points ahead of the Foster Hawks at the siren when the ref called for a scrum. The Sharks won the feed and their lock scooped the ball from the back of the scrum. Thinking the game was over, he kicked it away – only for a Hawks winger to recover it and score in the corner. “He was bitterly disappointed,” Mansour said. “I told him to throw himself into his swimming, give it your best and take that up professionally.”
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By the way … “Speaking from his kebab shop” ?!?