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NSW vow to do it for ‘Tezza’ in Origin Greyhound Series

10 June 2024

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By Jordan Gerrans

If not for the late Terry Hill’s enthusiasm and voice behind the Origin Greyhound Series – the concept would not be as popular and well-known as it is leading into the 2024 edition.

That is the opinion of an array of greyhound industry figures south of the Tweed as the series rolls around for another year this week.

Hill’s beloved New South Wales will be aiming to wrestle back the Origin title from the locals for the first time in three years on Thursday evening at Albion Park before the state-against-state concept heads to Capalaba’s grass track for the straight track version of the series on Sunday.

The vocal and prominent dog man was always pushing the merits behind the Origin Greyhound Series and was a proud coach of his 'Blues'.

The 2024 series will be the first run since the former NSW and Australian rugby league player and prominent greyhound owner died, aged 52, in late April of this year from a heart attack while in the Philippines.

According to NSW trainers and Hill’s close friends, he cherished his role as mentor of his state and was always looking forward to getting back to Brisbane every year.

Hill’s Blues went home with their tails between their legs the last few years, which he took personally.

“He was always disappointed still a few days after they lost the last few years so that shows what it meant to him, he wouldn’t say that to me if it didn’t worry him,” trainer Darren Sultana said.

Dubbo dog man Shayne Stiff – who trains in partnership with his partner Charmaine Roberts – was a close friend of the late larrikin for decades.

Shall Not
Mr. America
Cindy Keeping
Tom Keeping

While Hill made his name in rugby league, it was the greyhounds that were closest to his heart, Stiff believes.

“He was one of my best mates and I said this at his funeral – Terry loved the dogs more than footy,” Stiff said.

“That is the easiest way to explain it. And, he loved nothing more than his Origin – he was talking about it for three or four months every year leading in to it.

“He just loved being at Albion Park on those Thursday nights, he would talk to everyone. He loved all the crew at the club, they all made him feel so welcome.

“He liked that night more than the Easter Egg or the Million Dollar Chase night.”

While the visitors could not get the chocolates at Albion Park the last couple of years in the Origin series, they have enjoyed success at Capalaba.

And, it was Hill that was front and centre for that, as well.

Hill owned Shall Not who claimed the $40,000-to-the-winner Straight Of Origin Final over 366 metres at Capalaba last year.

The late Terry Hill at Albion Park for the Origin Greyhound Series last year.

Shall Not – an amazing 49-time career winner from 71 starts – has again been selected for NSW in Sunday’s Origin showdown on the grass.

This Sunday at Capalaba Greyhound Racing Club, the first 'Terry Hill Straight of Origin' will be contested after it was named in his honour. 

The passionate greyhound man won the Capalaba event back in 2022 as well with former champion straight tracker Mr. America.

After copping another defeat on the Thursday night of Origin week in 2023, Hill bounced straight back on the Sunday with a smile on his face when Shall Not scored under the guidance of trainer Sultana.

“That was a huge buzz for him, he was actually so stoked after the race,” Sultana said.

“He came up to me on the way to the presentation and he gave me the biggest bear hug you would ever see, he just kept thanking me, he really loved it.

“He was really, really happy. I was very fortunate to have two very good dogs with Terry and George Kairouz (close friend and business partner) with Shall Not and Mr. America.

“It was a good ride the last couple of years with Terry.”

Hill owned dogs for much of his life and Kairouz recently told The Greyhound Recorder that Shall Not might just stand out above the rest.

"He was Terry's favourite – by far, he just loved the dog," Kairouz said.

The late Terry Hill at Albion Park for the Origin Greyhound Series last year with former Maroons great Ben Hannant.

"Right back to Placard he's had some great dogs but he just had a real soft spot for Shall Not. 

"If he could go on and win the Straight Of Origin again with the club naming the race in Terry's honour, it would be something really special."

Stiff and Kairouz are on the same page.

“Since Christmas, all he was saying was that we will have Shall Not back for that race, for sure and certain,” Stiff said.

As of Monday morning, Sultana says the reigning champion of the straight series was under a slight injury cloud to defend his title on Sunday but is confident he will be there to race in Hill’s honour.

Following Hill’s sad passing, the Blues have elevated Laurie Daley to the coaching position for the 2024 series.

Darren Sultana and Mr. America after winning the prize in 2022.

Daley said there was added motivation for the NSW team following the tragic passing of the team’s inaugural coach.

“We all know ‘Tezza’ was a long-time greyhound fan and he loved going up to Queensland every year to take part in this series, and getting amongst the punters on Origin night,” Daley said.

“It's an impossible task to fill his big shoes but I will do my best to honour him with a victory for the Blues.

“I’m confident we can wrestle back the Origin shield and take it back to where it belongs in New South Wales.”

The overall series tally sits at three-two in Queensland’s favour after its introduction in 2018.

The Queenslanders are chasing a three-peat this week.

“Terry was a main driver for it all, the popularity of it all,” Sultana said.

“The main thing about Terry was that he just loved the dogs – anything that involved them he was happy to put his hand up for.

“The concept of it all, he loved going up to Brisbane for the week and staying for the straight one.”

Former Origin great Ben Hannant and the late Terry Hill.

The Roberts and Stiff kennel will have representation on Thursday night at Albion Park with last start Listed winner Cindy Keeping nominated while Tom Keeping will tackle a masters race.

They hope to be at Capalaba on Sunday for the straight event, as well.

The kennel also has some progeny of Mr. America they are working with from a She's A Hotshot – who is a litter sister to Shall Not – mating.

“He has two here with us,” Stiff said.

“All he has been waiting for the last 14 or 15 months has been those dogs, he was always asking about them and what I thought of them.

“They look really nice and Terry would be chomping at the bit to get them broken in and get them to a trainer.”



Capalaba | Capalaba Greyhound Racing Club | 2:22 PM

Straight Of Origin F