Sport

Former Bronco Tonie Carroll returns to baseball with Bandits

Former Broncos player Tonie Carroll looks on from the bench during the NRL Preliminary Final match between the Melbourne Storm and the Brisbane Broncos at Etihad Stadium on September 26, 2009.
Former Broncos player Tonie Carroll looks on from the bench during the NRL Preliminary Final match between the Melbourne Storm and the Brisbane Broncos at Etihad Stadium on September 26, 2009. Quinn Rooney / Getty Images

FORMER Brisbane Bronco Tonie Carroll is so serious about his baseball comeback, he wants to go all the way to the Australian Baseball League and represent the Brisbane Bandits.

Amazingly, it is 36-year-old Carroll's first year back in the sport since representing Queensland at under-17 level.

That was when he got the call-up to the Broncos system, meaning he had to cut short his other passion, but he hasn't wasted any time so far this summer.

He is already playing for Pine Hills Lightning in the Queensland Majors competition, just below the ABL, and it's not just for a social hit either.

"I always wanted to get back into baseball after my rugby league career, and now I want to play for the Bandits," the former Maroons, Kangaroo and Kiwis representative said.

"My throwing and batting skills are still there, but it's just the little one per cent things that I'm trying to re-learn.
"I've had four shoulder reconstructions, so my throwing isn't what it used to be.

"But I just love hitting the ball."

Carroll isn't serious enough to keep detailed records - he said he's played five or six games in the Queensland Majors and couldn't name his best one.

But Paul Campion, the director of Queensland Baseball, said Carroll has had many in the baseball fraternity talking about his exceptional talent.

"He's still getting used to the game again, but Tonie's been hitting the ball a long way, and he's not far off playing for the Bandits," he said.

Carroll's two sons play little league with Pine Hills and he helps out with some coaching at the club, along with former Australian legend Dave Nilsson.

"I idolised Dave growing up and what better person to have at the club than him?" Carroll said.

Carroll said he had no doubts about his fitness - he was still in good shape through his own personal training business, and his work in schools teaching rugby league.

Topics:  abl, baseball, brisbane bandits, brisbane broncos, rugby league, toni carroll


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