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Thread: Little takes big step back

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    Little takes big step back

    Arthur Little deserves some success and enjoyment, it's been a tough year.
    Glad Jamie Pandaram has apparently taken over the SMH ARC reporting too...

    Little takes big step back

    Jamie Pandaram
    Friday, August 17, 2007


    WHEN Arthur Little walked away from his Waratahs contract two years ago, he knew he would return to rugby one day.

    He wasn't sure when, because his only concern was his older sister Natalie, who was left brain-damaged and disabled after being bashed by her former boyfriend.

    The contracted Australian Sevens star dropped everything, including the opportunity to establish himself as a Waratah, and moved to Wagga Wagga to help his parents care for Natalie and her two sons, Jya and Trae.

    "At the time, it was just about my family," Little said. "I was thinking about what I walked away from. I thought about it 100 times a day, but I always knew I was going to come back and give it another crack."

    As luck would have it, the talented fullback/winger was asked to sign with Italian club Parma earlier this year and decided to resume playing. Then came a call from Randwick coach Mark Giacheri, who urged him to return to the Greens. Little couldn't refuse the chance to reunite with many close former teammates.

    With some impressive performances in this year's Shute Shield, Little has earned the fullback spot in the Sydney Fleet side taking on Ballymore on Sunday, taking another step forward after his sudden departure left his career sliding backwards.

    "It has been sweet - we have been training as usual, most of the boys know me and I know them," Little said.

    The tragedy is that Natalie no longer knows him, nor her sons. Following the attack, for which her former partner was jailed for 12 years, Natalie lost the ability to walk, talk and see.

    "She is not walking around, that is the way the accident has left her," Little said.

    "My family is doing the best we can - that's the sort of family we are. We stick tight in the tough times and we move on together."

    Little has an overwhelming sense of sadness for his two nephews. Jya is 11 and Trae seven. "I can't imagine what it would like if I lost my mum. For them not to be able to spend time with their mum, as we all love to do, to have it taken away from them, I can't even explain what that would be like," he said.

    He wants to publicly thank the Bronte Surf Livesavers Club, Waverley Council and the Charing Cross Hotel for organising the purchase of a van for his family , but plans to raise more funds after the season for a bigger one.

    There will be no better test for Little, who pushes Gavin DeBartolo to the wing, than playing against Ballymore and Reds fullback Clinton Schifcofske to gauge his progress.

    Fleet coach Col Jeffs said he was expecting "big things" from Little, who played all four games on the 2004 Waratahs development tour of Argentina before quitting.

    "Arthur has been one of our best contributors since coming into the squad and he's more than earned this opportunity," Jeffs said.

    "He's a pretty selfless individual; he gave up rugby without hesitation to look after his family at a time when he was on the cusp of bigger things. That selflessness comes out on the field - he creates opportunities for players around him. He's a dynamic talent and we expect big things from him."

    Little's chance came after exciting winger Alfred Mafi was suspended for two games for a dangerous tackle during last Friday's win over the Central Coast Rays.

    Also new to the starting side this week is second-rower Matt Whittleston, who replaces Will Caldwell, who is still overcoming a slight groin strain.

    Former Australia under-21 prop Ben Alexander has been elevated to the Western Sydney Rams team for the clash against the Rays on Saturday in Gosford. Alexander replaces Wallaby Benn Robinson, who had surgery on Tuesday on a broken foot sustained in the Rams' round-one loss to the Perth Spirit.

    Prop Al Baxter (not now, he's injured) and fullback Peter Hewat will make their first appearances for Central Coast, while Wallabies back-rower Wycliff Palu hopes to play an entire match after straining his hamstring last weekend.

    "Cliffy's expressed his desire to play and we're hopeful he'll be right come Saturday," Rays head coach John McKee said.

    "He made a huge impact in the first half against the Fleet and he really generated some go forward for us."

    Melbourne Rebels coach Bill Millard has made just one change to the 22 for his side's first home match, against the East Coast Aces at Olympic Park on Saturday night, with Sydney University breakaway David Haydon coming in for Felipe Manu on the bench.

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    That's horrible...good on him, i hope he plays an absolute blinder!!!

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    Bummer

    Little dealt cruel blow

    August 17, 2007 - 6:02pm
    Story by: Sportal


    A hamstring strain has denied Sydney Fleet fullback Arthur Little his chance to make his Mazda ARC debut against the Tornadoes at Ballymore on Sunday.

    The mishap occurred at the Fleet's captain's run on Friday forcing coach Col Jeffs to make changes out wide.

    Little, a former emerging Waratah, had earned a mid-week call up following the suspension of winger Alfi Mafi but must now play a frustrating waiting game.

    Gavin Debartolo returns to his original position at fullback while Andrew Barrett moves on to the wing with Jackson Mullane earning a spot on the bench.

    "It really was just one of those things," Fleet head coach Col Jeffs said.

    "He was just putting the ball down when it went."

    "It's a shame for Arthur as he's been training the house down but on the upside it gives a couple of young guys in Andrew Barrett and Jackson Mullane a go so it's not all bad."

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    Veteran Contributor frontrow's Avatar
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    Someone upstairs obviously has an evil streak, poor bugger...

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    How unlucky can you get?...keep persevering buddy!!

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    Unlucky for the lad. Keep going - it'll all come good for you soon. Big respect.

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