'Tunza' fun times in Cairns
HE could give any NSW forward a bad headache, but nowadays Tonie "Tunza" Carroll much prefers to take on the throw of a fast pitcher.
The former Test, Queensland Origin and Broncos hardman arrived in town yesterday to promote baseball in Cairns, where he will host a "Come 'n' Try" day at Balaclava State School from 9am today.
"There'll be plenty of kids and plenty of fun," Carroll said.
"We'll be showing them techniques and teaching them the right way to grip a baseball and how to throw it."
Able to convert his traits of "power" and "speed" into the hard swing of a bat or chase of a ball, Carroll said he had relished the return to a game he grew up playing before his switch to rugby league.
"It's always been a dream of mine to come back and play," he said.
"I got the opportunity late last year to join up with a local club in Brisbane and I grabbed it with both hands."
The 37-year-old just missed out on a spot in Australian Baseball League sideBrisbane Bandits after a stellar season with Pine Rivers Lightning in the Greater Brisbane League.
"They (the Bandits) ended up fourth this year, but it's a top three competition so we missed out on the finals unfortunately," Carroll said.
"I've competed all my life and it doesn't stop when you retire from football.
"It's a game I love and a game I really want to succeed in."
Kerry Ahlberg, Baseball Queensland regional director of coaching North Queensland, said Carroll's presence in Cairns was a perfect opportunity to "promote the sport".
"Baseball in Cairns has been here since 1982," Ahlberg said.
"It's starting to come back again and build again as an alternative sport to the major football codes."
Meanwhile, Carroll refused to rule out a guest stint in the Cairns Baseball League, if his busy schedule as a personal trainer permitted it.
"I will be more than happy to lend a hand," he said.
The Cairns Baseball League "Come 'n' Try" day will be held at Balaclava State School oval and undercover sports centre between 9am and 1pm today.
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Batter up: Tonie Carroll will be dishing out tips on baseball today to the juniors at Balaclava State School. Picture: STEWART MCLEAN