(Editors note: Let’s take a closer look at how the game is played internationally. Like he recently discussed on the LacrosseAllStars Podcast, writer Wheniwasakid has some stories to tell about living the lax life down in the land of koala bears and kangeroos )
Recognized across much of the Southern Pacific, ANZAC Day is a tribute to those who have served in the armed forces and is similar to our Veteran’s Day. In Perth, Australia, April 25th was also the day that the Western Australia Lacrosse Association kicked off its opening weekend.
The day featured a rememberance for those who gave their lives in service of their countries and an epic battle between Subiaco LC and Wembley LC.
In Australia, sports are most often organized through the club system and not through schools. You start playing for a club when you are under 13 and usually stick with the same club throughout your career. I played for Wembley in 2001 while taking some time off from College to make sure my head was on straight. The experience was a great one as I learned a lot about people, lacrosse and myself.
I played with and againsta bunch of the guys pictured below and also coached number of the younger stars for Wembley. They were on an U-13s team coached by Luke Oliver and have really progressed into a bunch of top-level players. I give Luke a lot of credit for that development because he really made them play and act older than they were and this prepared them for battle at an early age.
The Aussies play the game a little differently than we do. They use International rules [no ball advancing rules, different stick requirements, etc] and usually only have about 15 players per side. The action can be fast or slow and players have much more of a do-it-all as opposed to specialization attitude. The skill and athleticism of the Australians is top-notch and they play hard-nosed lacrosse. I would finish my games there with more bumps and bruises than I ever got in American college lacrosse.
The real difference between the Aussies and the Yanks is 1) depth and 2) defenseman. There are kids sitting on the bench in the US that would play [as role players] there and in general, the quality of D-man is much higher stateside. Wembley is somewhat of an abberationin that regard as they have the 3 Bentley brothers and Ben Reiger as their longpoles. All 4 of these guys are physical and can handle a longstick with the best of them.
Check out the pictures for a pictorial game story. Wembely [in the green and gold: sweet uniforms btw] topped Subiaco [in the maroon and gold] 11-7 for their first win of the young season. Chris D’Annunzio and Alex Brown led Wembley with 3 points on 3 goals and 2 goals/1 assist, respectively. Sam Ramsay and John Casey each added 2 goals for Wembley as well. Tim Chaney led Subiaco with 3 goals and Daniel Chaney added 2 of his own.
James Watson-Galbraith [who played collegiately at UMBC, I believe] scored a goal as did John Hayes to round out the scoring for Subiaco.
All lacrosse photos come courtesy of Jake Cutler from the Wembley lacrosse club.
Additional photos by Jake can be found here.