Editor’s Note: Please welcome Shendelle Oliver back to LAS! Shendelle keeps up filled in on all things Australia Lacrosse, and has been a friend of the LAS nation since before LAS even existed! It’s time to check in on the progress that the Aussies are making as their prepare for the World Lacrosse Championships in 2014.
As the Denver World Games draws closer, the Australian Men’s Lacrosse Squad are really kicking preparations into full speed as eight players were cut from the squad after the National Training Camp, held in Melbourne last weekend. The team spent two days on the park, while the coaching staff analysed players and tactics. The key outcome of the camp for the coaches was to identify the players that have worked hardest on the strength and conditioning program, and adapted best to the offensive and defensive team philosophies since the last camp, which was held 3 months ago.
According to the coaching staff, key standout players were South Australian Defender Ross Hamilton, West Australian Alex Brown, and Victorians David Gal and Ben Newman, who each performed exceptionally over the weekend (although they did mention that all players had adapted really well to the style of play the coaches were looking for).
Since the weekend camp’s recent cuts, 28 players remain in the squad: 11 Victorians, 11 South Australians and 4 West Australians, plus 2 West Australian players who are currently in the U.S college system.
Lacrosse Australia has engaged the best people in their fields from day one, with Ted Polglaze and Stuart Cormack looking after the players weight training and running programs. Experts Tyson Tripcony (Sports Nutritionist) and Paul Furtado (Team Building Specialist) were introduced at the camp and are eager to develop the players both mentally and physically.
So what is next for the Aussies???? Well, the next squad camp will be in the country town of Dimboola, which is half way between Melbourne and Adelaide, in January of 2014 to start the new year. Then a tour of Japan is scheduled for late February 2014. Only 26 of the 28 current squad members will travel to Japan to compete.
Coach Meredith said: “After a really impressive camp from the players, the coaching staff are excited about the team being selected to go to Japan, really proud of the players response over the weekend and the work rate steps up again from here.”
One of the biggest challenges for the Aussies moving forward will be putting together a team with 2000 kilometers separating West Australia from Victoria, with South Australia being in-between. Players and staff will come from all over.
“What the players go through to put themselves forward to be selected in this country is simply amazing and the bond they share builds up automatically from that. They have already become an extremely close unit and by the time we land in Denver this will actually become a positive for us,” said Meredith. He also mentioned that for Australian Lacrosse, national players finance and time off work are added stresses which the players need to address themselves. “The will of the group is already evident in sacrifices’ for the team,” Meredith said.
It really is an exciting time for the Aussie fans who are pumped about the World Games and obviously have share faith in the team that will represent their country. 175 fans have already signed up to the “Green and Gold Supporters Club” and it is predicted that more than 500 Australians will travel to the US to support to Aussie men on at this championship campaign.
“Denver is Only 8 months away and our squad has been working extremely hard as a group over the past year. I am looking forward to continuing the process of delivering a proud, fit, committed Australian team onto the field in what will be an fantastic World Championships,” said Coach Meredith.