Australian polocrosse players have regained their status as best in the world, returning victorious from the Adina World Cup in Warwick, Queensland after an undefeated run into the finals.
Australia defeated current world champions, South Africa 34 to 21 in a hard-fought battle on April 28.
Australia outplayed Zimbabwe 24 to 11, the USA 29 to 14, Zambia 25 to 8, and NZ 29 to 15. According to two-time Australian World Cup coach Ross Shepherd, the dominance of the Australian women was a highlight of the game.
“They did it and they did it well! They played perfect polocrosse,” he said
Local team member Suzette Thomas from Muchea was one of the standout competitors of the series, winning Best Ladies Player of the Match in the grand final against South Africa. She was also awarded the Outstanding Leadership in Australian’s Women’s Polocrosse award while in Queensland.
“There is a lot of focus at the moment on women in sport and how we juggle the pressure of being a mum and trying to compete at your best. For me, it’s just part of the process. The award was a huge honour,” says Suzette.
While it may be mostly second nature to Suzette now, leaving behind the pressures of everyday life to be able to compete successfully at an international level did require extra focus from her, and a team effort from those around her.
“I was on the road for nearly seven weeks before the World Cup, including the touring test in New Zealand. I really had to shift my focus to just playing the World Cup, instead of trying to juggle my business (WaterPonyz Swim School), children and polocrosse. It was a huge ask on the support team involved in keeping all the other areas of my life afloat.”
While the Australian Polocrosse team have been equipped with techniques from sports psychologists and trainers to help them maintain concentration on the game, Suzette feels nothing can prepare you better for competition than on-the-ground practice.
“Keeping your head clear and focusing on the task at hand becomes easy when you have done all the preparation required to be at your A-game.”
With record crowds, the 2019 World Cup has been the largest international sporting event ever to be held in rural Australia. The event attracted over 50,000 spectators from all over Australia; the other seven competing countries of USA, UK, Ireland, NZ, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe; and other countries including Mexico, Canada, Norway and Holland.
Friends and family back home were able to watch the action through the event’s live stream, with more than 1000 viewers from over 15 countries taking advantage of the technology.
Generous horse owners loaned 150 of Australia’s best mares and geldings to the event for players to compete on, resulting in one of the largest horse recruitment drives in Australia’s peace-time history.
Suzette and her family are settling back in to normal life post-World Cup victory – although the kids are maybe not quite aware of the magnitude of their mum’s success!
“I think they are pretty pleased to have their mum home and back to normal. Their dad has done an outstanding job of keeping it all together at home,” says Suzette.
“They probably don’t realise yet just what I have achieved. I do hope in years to come they too can represent Australia and know what it is like to pull on a green and gold jersey.”