Bronzed Aussies may row on

3 August 2012

ROWING: Now that they have avenged their fourth place in Beijing by winning a bronze medal in London, Australia’s men’s quadruple sculls team members have a big decision to make – whether to keep rowing together or call it quits as a group.

Dan Noonan, 32, Karsten Forsterling, 32, Christopher Morgan, 29, and the youngster of the group, James McRae, 25, were delighted with having grabbed a medal on Day 7 after their lead-up to the Olympics had been interrupted at a critical time by a rib injury to Noonan.

Germany led all the way to win in 5min 42.48sec, from Croatia (5:44.78) and the Aussies (5:45.22).

Forsterling is the only member of the quartet who wasn’t on the quadruple sculls team in Beijing in 2008, but the determination of the other three to not miss out on a medal again had clearly rubbed off on him.

“We weren’t going to finish fourth again,” he said. “I wasn’t in that crew, but I remember heading home after the Games and thinking it was another four years until the team was going to get another crack.

“So we really talked about making the most of our opportunities, and trying to make possibilities happen. We gave it everything. We were on the chase and really trying to throw everything at the leaders, and we did that by leaving nothing in the tank.”

Noonan said the third placing left him feeling “very relieved and very satisfied”, adding: “We really would have preferred a gold medal today, but we couldn’t have raced better. We knew Germany would come out hard - they’ve been doing it all week, they’ve been doing it all season.

“We just had a goal to stick to our own race and make sure we didn’t get too far behind the leaders. We did that, but just ran out of gears in the last few hundred metres.”

McRae was also comfortable that the Aussies hadn’t left anything out there on the water.

“We were really happy with the way we raced today,” he said. “We had an excellent race. We couldn’t match the other two crews, but we’re very happy to pick up the bronze medal.”

The Australians won the world championships last year, and had a settled season then, but it was not so settled this season because of injury.

“This was our best race this season by a long way,” Noonan said. “It wasn’t the smoothest of seasons this year, a bit of an injury and that, but it came good at the right time.”

Asked about the future of the crew, and whether they were keen to stick together, Noonan replied: “Oh, I don’t think so. We’re sort of getting on a little bit, so a couple of us will probably retire. But, who knows, we might get bored and be back in the boat in a month or so, so you never know.”

Morgan added: “Some of us have family commitments, so we’re obviously looking to get some careers established and on track. I say ‘never say never’, because before Beijing I said I wasn’t coming back from that. I think we’re all delighted to have pulled out a good result, so we’ll see how that resonates over the next few weeks, months, years, and who knows.”

Greg Prichard in London

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