October 3, 2023 Michael Court
IT takes something pretty special to push an Inter Dominion Championship trophy to one side.
But this time there were no ‘protests’ from ace young Sydney reinsman Josh Gallagher.
Indeed Gallagher, who famously won the 2021 Inter Dominion on protest with Boncel Benjamin, happily stood aside for a trophy just as coveted as his ‘Inters’ victory.
His younger sister Sheridan was the toast of the town after she helped steer Newcastle Knights to a famous win in the Telstra Women’s Rugby league premiership at Homebush.
Josh has driven 118 winners already this season but this time donned a Knights’ jersey and was on hand to cheer long and loud for Sheridan as she scored a try and helped engineer the 24-18 victory with a vital ball steal from her opponents, which helped set up the win over the Titans.
While the celebrations for Sheridan’s win went long into the night, Josh also gave his family even more reason to smile a day later when he announced his engagement to another harness racing ‘blue blood’ Aleisha Bond.
“It’s been a weekend to remember, for sure,” an ecstatic grandmother Odette Yen-Lamerton told National Trotguide on-line.
“I’m proud of them every week, but this weekend was that bit more outstanding.
“These kids are just amazing . . . and they work so hard.
“As Denis Wilson (former leading trainer-driver) once told me when someone suggested that he was lucky, he commented ‘well, the harder you work, the luckier you get’.”
“And when it comes to his driving, Josh has such beautiful hands.
“The kids all grew up riding and Josh and Sheridan have both won at the Sydney Show.
“The first year when Sheridan went to the US with her school, Felicity (his mother) told Josh that he’d have to ride.
“He wasn’t keen but went out and won his class. It doesn’t matter whether he’s riding or driving – he has beautiful hands.
“He’s very gentle and extraordinarily patient as well – and it shows in his driving.
“Josh will sit four fence and the run will come. He doesn’t hassle the horse and wonder when he’ll get out of there; he just waits – and he waits.
“He just amazes me.
“Sheridan is 14 months younger; they were very close as kids . . . and they still are.”
There is another sister McKenzie, who’s just 17 and played with the Macarthur Rams but is now with Gold Coast United in NPL1, which were under 16 champions last year and have their semi-final this Friday night in the Under 17s.
Odette goes to Menangle most Tuesdays and Saturdays to watch Josh in action – and occasionally Penrith on the occasional Thursday night as well.
“I enjoy being there [Menangle] for the social life too,” she laughs.
“It’s nice to sit there with the mothers’ group of a Tuesday and be there when they win.”
Josh continues to win and most would know he already has a Group 1 to his credit . . . only the greatest of them all, the Inter Dominion Championship at Tabcorp Park Menangle.
Sheridan has found a happy home in rugby league too, after captaining an Australian soccer team at the Under 20s World Cup before switching codes.
“She was picked as captain of the Young Matildas and went on to play in New Zealand, The Philippines and Mexico before going to Costa Rica, where they beat Costa Rica, which was a bit of a shock win,” said Odette.
“So, they acquitted themselves really well.
“She later decided to go in a different direction and gave rugby league a try.
“There was training day at Mounties with a lot of scouts there.
“She got an offer from the Swans to play AFLW but said she preferred the structure of soccer or rugby league.
“Then Canberra, Eastern Suburbs, Parramatta and the Knights offered her spots.
“She walked into the Knights and said she felt quite at home there – and the rest, as they say, is history.
“These kids are fairly quiet among themselves – but they are doing some amazing things.
“The wonderful thing is they are doing lots of different things and while they’ve had a few hurdles to get over in their lives – they are just getting on with it.
“And they continue to make me one very proud grandmother.”