Steel Determination

Emily takes on the might of The Black Ferns 2018

My job takes me to many different locations. Not only around Sydney and NSW but Australia wide. Obviously, there’s an opportunity to meet a lot of different people, but rarely do you meet someone like Emily Robinson.

On the job for the Waratahs 2011

We crossed paths on a work site at Kemps Creek a few weeks ago. She portrayed herself as an enthusiastic, hard working type who’s keen to get on with the task at hand. But with all that aside, I hadn’t the faintest idea that Emily plays rugby union and greater still, has played for Australia!

Ambition begins at the Narrabeen Tigers!

Originally from Manchester in the UK, Emily moved to Australia with her family when she was just six years old. Of course, being a former “Man U” resident, Emily had a keen interest in soccer much to the delight of her father. But after the Robinson’s took up residency on the northern beaches, Emily was introduced to another game.

Wallaroos in pre-match ceremonies prior to the world cup fixture against Japan in 2019 world cup.

Emily’s passion for the game of rugby began when she was nine years old. She suited up for the Narrabeen Tigers and played in the boys competition until she was 13. Since there was no woman’s competition a frustrated Emily was then forced to quit the game she loved. It was three years later as a sixteen year old that Emily found an opportunity with the Warringah Rats in the competition known as the Jack Scott cup. Then injury hit and Emily had to endure consecutive knee reconstructions over the next two seasons.

It’s a tough game. But a broken nose was never going to stop Emily.

Remaining undeterred despite her injuries, Emily then decided upon what she believed to be, an achievable goal. Which was to make the Wallaroos squad and represent Australia. All of which took a step closer in 2011 when she was picked for the Sydney representative team. In 2014 her dream was almost realized after she was picked for the Australian World Cup squad. Then injury raised it’s ugly head again and Emily had to endure another knee reconstruction.

But despite all the adversity she faced, Emily’s determination stayed hard like the steel she works with and in 2016 she was again selected to play for her country. This was followed by the news that Emily would make her Australian debut against the Black Ferns at Eden Park on October 22nd.

Emily and another debutant in utility back Shontelle Stowers. Shontelle also plays for Warringah.

Most of us would say that Emily had one hell of a dream. But that dream, through hard work became reality with a career spanning twelve years. But the most important thing to remember is, it was Emily who made it all happen. Of course, having a boss that understands your passion is a big help. Emily is employed as a steel rigger with AWI Steel Fabrication. Managing director Paul Mirabito has been very understanding with regards to Emily’s ambition and his flexibility with her hours etc. has been a contributing factor to her success. 

Aspiring players in any sport, often need guidance and inspiration. Sometimes it’s just a few words from someone who has been “there” and done “that”! For Emily, it was a great advantage to have regular contact with great players like Tui Ormsby an Australian fly-half. Another Wallaroo in the shape of Cheryl Soon, who also played half. Chris Ross, who is originally from the United States represented Australia in the 2010 World Cup.

What was once a dream is now reality.

However, with all the success Emily has enjoyed, I find most of the inspiration is in her will and relentless determination. I could quote pages of cliches but the greatest thing to remember when chasing your own dream is “if it gets too hard, you don’t want it bad enough”.  To her credit, Emily never gave up! The agony she went through with three knee reconstructions and the rehabilitation afterwards would have ended the dream for a lot of potential champions. But that’s what separates a champion from the rest. To her credit, Emily never let her determination wane, she never lost focus on what was needed and the rest is history.

The picture says it all.

From a personal perspective I’m proud to have met Emily and grateful that she allowed me to write this article. Her achievements are truly inspirational and I hope in the years to come, that people like her tell their stories. So that anyone chasing a dream can hear it and hopefully be inspired enough ” to give it a crack and have a go”! Because for me, achieving your dream is the track to true happiness. 

Cheers to a Country Mudgee Escape

A lot of us look to destinations across the globe when we think of travel. But if you reside in Sydney and want a relatively quick escape to a friendly country destination, look no further than Mudgee. Recently, I ventured a few hours hours west of Sydney and found a town filled with welcoming locals. There’s also plenty to do. This particular weekend featured the Mudgee Show and the Charity Shield. But there’s also the museums and to top it off, Wine Tours! Connoisseur or not, there is a service available that takes care of everyone.

See the Land and Taste the Wine Through a Country Escape Tour

You might have a group of friends that want to see a bit of the local landscape and also taste the “fruits” of Mudgee’s wineries. But which ones are the best? When are they open and more importantly, who will drive? Country Escape Tours have the solution and offer comprehensive wine tours with a difference. We were treated to not only to the best of Mudgee’s wineries, but also to a friendly and professional service.

Mudgee Wine Tours with a Difference

Country Escape Tours offer outstanding customer service and are completely focused on delivering a wonderful day out. You can choose a full or half day tour  where you will discover award winning wineries that are immersed in breathtaking vineyards. All of which are carefully organised by two experienced guides in Sandy and Maritza. All you have to do is sit back and enjoy the beautiful array of wines and ports!!

Flexible Tours That Cater for Everyone

Also on offer, is a trio tasting tour, where you can sample not only wine, but beer and spirits as well. Or perhaps you’d prefer to “saddle up”. The horse riding tour includes a horse ride, lunch and a half day Mudgee wine tour. For the undecided there’s the “Mudgee Hopper”. This is the tour where you can hop on and hop off at whichever destination you choose.

Create Your own Mudgee Wine Tour

If you have particular wineries that you’d like to visit in mind, why not create your own tour. The available options are endless and include not only wineries, but cheese tastings, honey tastings, a distillery, craft beer, local produce and more. The fun is guaranteed!

Country Escape Tours will collect you from your accommodation and groups are kept to a maximum of 11 people. You will receive a personal and knowledgeable service that will create a Mudgee Moment that you and your friends will remember forever. I know we will. Private tours are also available.

A Story With A Kick To It


Taekwondo is the Korean style martial arts that was developed in the 1940’s and 50’s. But Taekwondo is very different from other martial arts. Physically, it is very dynamic with active movements that include a mirage of foot skills. The principle physical movements are in simpatico with the mind and life as a whole.

The Student

2nd DAN Black belt
Sam Evans 2nd Dan Black Belt in Taekwondo

Since he was just seven years old, Sam Evans has had a passion for martial arts and the a fore mentioned elements is what attracted him to Taekwondo. Six years later and Sam is now a second DAN black belt who has represented Australia in the Oceania Championships in Fiji where he took the silver medal. But the awards and victories don’t stop there. Sam has won the New South Wales State and Gold Coast championship titles in his division for the past two years.

Sam’s record

2018 NSW State Champion

2018 Gold Coast Champion

2017 Sydney Taekwondo Championships, Gold Medal

2017 Cool Climate Classic Canberra, Gold Medal

2017 Gold Coast Champion

2017 NSW State Champion

Sam trains at, and is a member of the Five Dock based Musa Taekwondo club. The club proprietor Alex Sootho is a 5th Dan black belt and has also coached at national level. Alex and the tutors under him, offer a range of coaching techniques that suit any age. The club has a disciplined, yet relaxed environment and an atmosphere that inspires students like Sam to perform and succeed.

While most of his opponents are of similar weight, Sam often encounters taller competitors. But as he pointed out, that while height is not intimidating it sometimes means a change in tactics. A lot of his mental preparation starts the night before a tournament. Sam has learnt the standard of discipline needed to be completely focused on how he sees the fight playing out. So come tournament day, Sam is completely in tune with his coach’s instructions and ready for action.

A lot of Sam’s inspiration is simply staying fit, but he also likes to set new goals and face new challenges. Of course, representing his country has been a major achievement and a proud moment for Sam. But returning with a medal really put the icing on the cake. However, Sam still has both feet firmly on the ground and explained, “this all came about through the discipline and self-belief that I’ve learnt through practicing Taekwondo”.

Sam also credits his chosen sport for gaining valuable skills that assist in his everyday life. The discipline and restraint of knowing when and how to react in different situations. Taekwondo has introduced Sam to new friends and it’s also given him the opportunity to give back to the community. When he’s not preparing for upcoming tournaments, Sam passes on the skills that he’s acquired to younger students through teaching.

So while Taekwondo is an effective form of self defence, it’s also an opportunity for young people like Sam to gain self confidence and achieve personal goals. Sam Evans has already done his country proud, through his own personal efforts. But in turn, he also offers his knowledge to help others achieve their goals and that makes him a real winner!

Taekwondo champion Sam Evans

Brobes Keeps You In The Picture

Paradise Waters

Paul Broben is a freelance photographer based on the Gold Coast in Queensland Australia. With an outstanding career spanning over 30 years’ Paul has become one of Australia’s most respected and sort after photographers. Early in his career Paul “Brobes” cut his teeth as a Gold Quill and Walkley award-winning media and press photographer. With his work regularly enhancing front page news headlines all over the world. His obvious talent quickly gained him respect and notoriety, which pushed him onto film and television sets. Whether it was capturing the subtlety and nuance in an actor’s expression or the sheer scale and magnificence of a Hollywood explosion, Brobes’ became an expert in telling the story.

Aria Las Vegas
Aria Las Vegas

In the years that followed, Brobes’ built a career in an industry that has seen some major advancement in technology, making it an environment where only the best survive. He boasts a wide range of national and international clients that have built their visual identity on the imagery that he produces. His areas of speciality and service include (but, are not limited to) commercial, architectural, film and television production stills, editorial, advertising, culinary, product, event and conference photography as well as mining and general industry photography. One-on-one tuition and training is also available as well as short video production.


One Hell Of A New Toy

It doesn’t matter what walk of life you’re from, most of us at some stage want that special item. That gift that takes a life time to acquire and is often only dream’t about. Lets face it, life is short and most of us have worked all our lives just to get the basics. So if the opportunity arises where you can purchase that special something, boat, car, a yacht perhaps, then do it! Recently, a friend of mine took such an opportunity, with the result being a brand new Ford Mustang GT Coupe with the 5.0 litre V8 engine. Of course these cars have changed quite a bit since the actor Steve McQueen sent one down the notorious Lombard Street in San Francisco. The modern Mustang is beautifully appointed, with a superb sound system and luxurious interior. This particular model has a six speed auto transmission but also offers manual shift panels on the steering wheel. In addition, the instrumentation is the first all LCD ever offered on a Mustang. It’s easy to view, fast and responsive.

Mustang 2017 GT Coupe
Real performance machine

Just talk to it and the technology does the rest. There’s the obvious abundance of power, 339KW to be precise and when you couple this with handling that feels like your driving on rails, you have one hell of a machine. It’s true that these cars have come along way since the one featured in the movie “BULLITT” which was made in 1968. But there is still one key ingredient that makes every Mustang model closely related. The sound!! They still sound like a V8 should. Rich and mellow at the idle. Then ruthless and deadly as the pedal hits the metal. To my mate and his wife: I hope this car takes you both to the edge of your dreams and may you both enjoy it for all eternity.

Mustang GT Coupe
A speed and style combination.