SPORTING SIDELINES: Tim Cahill supports his supporters

A PICTURE of Socceroos main man Tim Cahill giving his scarf to a fan as they left Sydney for Brazil brought back some World Cup memories for Herald sports hack Kevin Cranson.
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Our man attended the 2006 cup in Germany with a few mates. During the warm-up for Australia’s first game against Japan in Kaiserstauten, the boys noticed a small knot of English supporters chanting: ‘‘Timmy, Timmy give us a wave.’’

Cahill duly obliged. In fact, he ran over to the side of the ground where the supporters were and gave them the thumbs-up.

Next morning the Newcastle crew were having a recovery session at the local pool and got talking with some England fans.

Turns out they were Everton supporters, and it was them who had attracted Cahill’s attention the night before.

They had tickets to England’s games and also Australia’s matches – just so they could support Cahill.

‘‘We love him, and he understands how important the fans are,’’ they said.

When they draw 2-2 with Croatia in their last group game to qualify for the second round, the Socceroos did a lap of honour, and you could see Cahill make a beeline for a section of the crowd and throw his shirt to a supporter.

Cahill revealed that it was the Everton fans who had been at every game who got the treasured souvenir.

POKOLBIN harness racing sensation Lauren Panella has the Midas touch.

Since returning from a long suspension last month, the Holmesville-raised driver has been on a remarkable run of victories.

The 20-year-old saluted on five pacers at Menangle over the past two Saturday nights, which followed sets of three and five wins at Newcastle.

As the No.1 driver for premier Hunter Valley trainer Shane Tritton, many of the wins have come on his pacers.

But Panella has also helped bring out the best in horses trained elsewhere.

The pint-sized reinswoman steered home Barry Matterson’s Mile High Anvil, which had not won in a year, and Roy Roots snr’s Inception, which had not saluted since February last year. It had seven drivers try to break the drought over 16 runs before Panella sat behind it for a first-time victory.

Despite missing more than two months suspended, Panella leads the NSW concession drivers’ premiership with 106 wins, 17 clear of her nearest rival, and the overall metropolitan standings with 35, 14 clear of next best.

Needless to say, Panella’s is one the punters should be following.

THE Marsden family of Mount Hutton are paying a high price for their success in the pool.

Father Dan Marsden is a former Australian Olympic team captain who has player-coached the Hunter Hurricanes National Water Polo League side for the past two seasons.

This year, Marsden played alongside his teenage sons, Mitch and Keenan, in the Hurricanes’ senior side.

It costs the Hurricanes men’s side about $40,000 a year to compete in the national league and expenses are largely player-funded, meaning the Marsdens have had to dig deep.

On top of that, both sons were picked last month in the Australian team for the world youth championships in Istanbul in August. The bill for each player to make the trip is $10,000.

Their parents, Dan and Vanessa, are bracing for an even higher impost in the future because of the talents of their other child, 12-year-old daughter Jolie.

Dan believes Jolie could be the best of the bunch and all three kids may represent Australia at youth level at the same time.

FOR surfing stalwart Roger Clements, Merewether Surfboard Club’s 50th anniversary celebrations are doubly special.

The Merewether club hall of fame member is also celebrating 50 years of competitive surfing.

Clements entered his first event, the local Mid North Coast surfing championship at his local break, Crescent Head, at just 13.

Up against 18-year-olds, he was a first-round casualty.

Two years later, Clements’s family moved to Merewether, where he has become one of the surf club’s favourite sons.

He returned to his first home last month and surfed in the Crescent Head Malibu Classic, where he finished third in the over-60s, 50 years after his first competitive event on the break.

Clements has been a regular at the malibu event since the mid-80s, missing the contest just once.

‘‘I’ve surfed for well over 50 years and for 50 in competitions, and I still love it,’’ Clements said.

The Hunter Region Sporting Hall of Fame member said the Merewether club had been a big part of his life since finishing third in a junior event there at age 15.

As well as competing, he has also mentored many juniors, including former world No.2 Luke Egan.

He introduced them to competitive surfing and kept them on ‘the straight and narrow’’ during regular road trips up and down the coast.

He is still heavily involved with the club and was looking forward to its 50th anniversary dinner on June 28 at Newcastle City Hall.

‘‘The 25-year dinner was amazing, so I think the 50-year one will be even better,’’ he said.

Early bird $99 tickets are available until June 9.

LAMBTON Jaffas supremo Chris Sneddon accompanied good mate Michael Bridges to the recent Hong Kong Sevens tournament, where Bridgey turned out for his junior club, Wallsend Boys Club.

As our picture shows, Sneddo got to rub shoulders with one of the greats of the game, Peter Beardsley, another Wallsend Boys Club graduate.

The former Newcastle, Liverpool and England star still goes OK by all reports, but rumours that Sneddo has signed him up for a guest stint at the Jaffas are wide of the mark.

A BRAZILIAN court has sentenced football legend Pele’s son Edinho to 33 years in prison for laundering money for drug traffickers.

Edson Cholbi Nascimento, nicknamed Edinho, denies the charges in the case, which dates from 2005, and will be allowed to remain free pending appeal.

The Praia Grande criminal court in Sao Paulo sentenced three other defendants to 33 years and ordered the confiscation of all property seized in the police operation against them, including about 100 cars.

Edinho, 43, is accused of ties with a drug cartel led by Ronaldo ‘‘Naldinho’’ Duarte Barsotti. He admits buying drugs from the cartel but denies working with them.

Edinho had a relatively low-key career in the 1990s playing for Santos, the same club where his father shot to fame.

Pele has seven children. Considered one of the greatest footballers of all time, he won three World Cups with Brazil, in 1958, 1962 and 1970.