Love of horses, polocrosse are in rider’s blood
LANCE Anderson has played competitive polocrosse throughout the eastern states of Australia for more than 25 of his 32 years.
While his heart lies in NSW, Anderson’s latest move from Cassilis, Northern NSW, to Bairnsdale in Victoria will see him preparing for his next big goal of World Cup team selection with a Victorian club.
Anderson has been named as a top 10 polocrosse player in Australia and is vying for one of eight places on Australia’s 2019 World Cup team.
The team will compete against the best in the world at Warwick, Queensland, in April 2019 – but first he had to take on Africa.
Across July 6–8, Anderson and seven other players took out the exhibition test series against Zambia as part of their training and preparation for the Australian Polocrosse Nationals, to be held in Perth in October, and ultimately selection on the Australian World Cup team.
Ahead of the series, Anderson said he was looking forward to seeing how the Australian team fared against some of Africa’s best players.
“Polocrosse is an Australian-made sport – one of only three alongside AFL and campdraft – and it is great to see it being played so competitively throughout the world,” he said.
“Polocrosse and horses have always been in my blood. I started playing at seven, following in the footsteps of my parents, who both played polocrosse.
“My dad represented NSW on a couple of occasions and I have also represented NSW and Australia.
“A big highlight was playing in the 2011 World Cup team in England.
“I’ve been lucky enough to travel the world with my polocrosse, playing in the UK, USA, NZ and Zimbabwe. I don’t know that I ever would have seen these places if it hadn’t been for the sport.
“I work as a cattle station manager and horse chiropractor, so there isn’t much time off for travel.
“It’s great that I can combine my love of horses and riding with my career.
“It doesn’t really feel like work when it is something that you’re so passionate about.”
Anderson said it was all systems go for the team on their return from Africa.
“After Zambia, it will be full steam ahead towards the Nationals in October, which the NSW men’s team is hoping to win and achieve back-to-back championships,” he said.
“The adrenaline and competitiveness of polocrosse is like nothing else.
“It’s not only the players either – the horses are innately competitive. They’re purpose-bred for the sport and love getting involved in the action.
“Coming up with good horses is probably one of the biggest challenges of the game, as outside of the World Cup players need to provide their own horses.
“There are certain characteristics you look for, like physical toughness, speed, agility and horses that are good-winded. The horse and the player must be up to scratch in order to play at your best.”
The Polocrosse World Cup will be held in Warwick, Queensland in April next year and will attract 300 competitors, 2000 guests and 60,000 spectators, making it the largest international sporting event ever held in rural Australia.
POLOCROSSE CHAMP: Working hard in the 2017 Queensland v New Zealand Coopers Cup Test are (from left) Lance Anderson, Stuart Shepherd, Trent Collins and Chris Sillitoe. PHOTO: CAROLYN LINE