Love of horses, polocrosse are in rider’s blood

Central and North Rural Weekly - - BULL RIDER PROFILE -

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

PHOTO: JOE MCINALLY

Lance An­der­son.

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