FIT CREW: The Tannum Sands under-23 men’s surf boat team, the Luggers - Nelson Corones, Blake Neat, Matt Rowe and Matthew Strike.
FIT CREW: The Tannum Sands under-23 men’s surf boat team, the Luggers - Nelson Corones, Blake Neat, Matt Rowe and Matthew Strike. Jake Jones

Big smiles as Luggers represent Qld for first time

A QUARTET of larrikins playing cricket before training, the Tannum Sands Luggers surf boat crew cannot be accused of not enjoying their sport.

Through all the hurt, pain and sacrifice the four rowers make, the smiles rarely leave the faces of the under-23 men's crew.

And why should they? Having been together for just two years, the current season has been a breakout for the Luggers who have scored two wins and two seconds already, to thrust them into the Queensland Representative role at the Australian Open, which began on Friday and finishes up Sunday afternoon.

Made up of Blake Neat, Nelson Corones, Matt Rowe and Matthew Strike, the Tannum Sands crew is unsure how they will perform in Newcastle's big event.

"It is the first time we have represented. We didn't expect it," Neat said.

"We will be happy with the final."

Under this insecurity about their performance, an unlikely motivation shines through.

The Luggers are a fan of a rugby league player who they claim plays average all year, and then steps up when it matters to help his side, exactly what the four rowers are hoping to do.

"Our inspiration comes from a champion in another sport, Brent Tate in rugby league," Neat said.

A little closer to home, sweep and trainer Phil Massingham is also a huge motivator for the Luggers, who may get a special request if the crew returns as winners from the Australian Open event.

"For all the effort he puts in, we thank him. We just rock up and do what he says," Strike said.

"If we win, he is going to have to get a Luggers tattoo somewhere," Rowe said.



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