Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Aussie rules alpaca trainer.

World: The heck did I miss this story.

LITTLE Rory Matthews doesn't have any brothers or sisters to play footy with – so he trains with an alpaca, a dog, a pig and a cockatoo. And they have turned the once-timid footballer into a tackling machine. The energetic eight-year-old, who lives on The Children's Animal Farm at Tarneit in Victoria, trains every day with his animal friends. "Chicky" the alpaca tackles Rory at every opportunity while border collie Jet retrieves the balls. Pictures Rory in action Hamlet the miniature pig just darts around having fun while cockatoo Lu Lu jumps up and down on the sidelines cheering them all on. The unlikely training partners are a godsend for Rory. As an only child he often cast a lonely figure on the large property belonging to his parents Najida and Rodney. The footy-smart animals have toughened Rory up for the Westbourne Warriors in the Western Region Football League Under-9s. "Because he's such a small guy, when he first started playing he was too much of a gentleman and would let everyone else get the ball," Mrs Matthews said. "So I just threw Chicky out there one day when he was kicking because Chicky has an attitude, and it just started from there. "Now Rory is a tackling tiger. He is a fierce tackler on the field now." Rory admitted only a few teammates knew about his training partners. "Some said it was cheating and others said it was great," he said. "They think it's cheating because I've got someone to tackle and they don't because their dads are working and their mums are having a snooze. "It's helped me a lot. I can't tackle Dad because he is too fast so I grab Chicky. Maybe all the other kids are jealous."
Video here.

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