Come and try ... clay target shooting with Monarto Clay Target Club

John Bretag invites you to come and try clay target shooting.

“Come and Try” aims to promote fitness and wellbeing in the Murraylands – and it could promote your business, too. Murray Bridge News is seeking an ongoing sponsor for this fortnightly feature. Call Peri on 0419 827 124 or email peri@murraybridge.news.

Murray Bridge has produced more than its fair share of Olympians over the years, from the Murray Cods of 1924 to trampolinist Ben Wilden and rower James McRae.

Now John Bretag reckons there’s another up-and-comer you should keep an eye on – his daughter Molly.

He’s not talking nonsense, either.

Molly is one of 32 juniors named to Shooting Australia’s pathways squad for 2021.

The squad is for “athletes who are considered capable of achieving national team selection based largely on their performances in domestic competition and demonstrated commitment to becoming a high performance athlete”.

It sits below a high performance squad, made up of 10 current international competitors, and a performance squad, 12 shooters who are on track to reach that level.

Let’s get one thing straight, though.

Regardless of whether Molly’s run of success continues, John is clearly super proud of her already.

Murray Bridge News spoke with the dad at the Monarto shooting range last week.

When did you first start clay target shooting?

When I broke my knees playing footy in 1981. I tore the ligaments in my knee but still felt the need to do something a little bit competitive. I was always interested in shooting anyway. I stumbled across this (range) out here in 1983, I was a founding member and I’ve been here ever since.

What do you get out of it?

We’re like a big, happy family, and everyone is keen to help one another – until you get out on the range. Then it gets a little bit serious for a while. It’s highly, highly addictive seeing the targets explode. Nothing is left if you hit them right. It’s difficult to start off with, but given the right people coaching you and giving advice, we’ve had people come out here who’ve never picked up a gun before having 20 shots over there and we were getting them to break targets consistently. It’s very much a mental game: 10 per cent ability and 90% mental, keeping your concentration and your cool over a 20-minute or half-an-hour period.

What has been the greatest achievement of your shooting career so far?

I’ve always been an also-ran. Probably the biggest achievement has been seeing what my daughter’s now achieved in the sport. She started shooting five years ago, at age 12 ... now she holds state titles in every state and territory other than Western Australia and Queensland. She came home with nine state ribbons on the weekend. My biggest achievement is watching her achieve.

How are you going this season?

It’s all year round. We hardly even stop for Christmas – there’s usually a shoot on either day either side. You could shoot at any one of three or four clubs in the state on any weekend, depending how far you want to drive and if you want to go. The last time I shot was in Alice Springs in 2019. I’ve had a few health issues since then. But I'll get back to it sooner or later.

What do you hope to achieve as a shooter?

My days are over, really. I’m old enough to be content with maybe winning the club championship if I could. I’d be happy to win my grade these days.

Why should people come and try clay target shooting?

It’s just good fun. A lot of people are scared of guns, but it’s no more dangerous than a cricket bat or a golf club. If they come and have a go, they’d soon realise just how much fun it is. You start to bust a couple (of targets) up and all of a sudden you just want more and more. You never get tired of seeing targets explode, even if someone else is shooting them. You see them explode and think “hell, he shot that well”.


“Come and Try” aims to promote fitness and wellbeing in the Murraylands – and it could promote your business, too. Murray Bridge News is seeking an ongoing sponsor for this fortnightly feature. Call Peri on 0419 827 124 or email peri@murraybridge.news.