Locals receive expert polocrosse coaching

A coaching clinic has been running at the Hynam Polocrosse Club over the past week, with players from all over Australia getting set for a tournament this weekend.

The teams are comprised of local and interstate players, with approximately 18-23 teams taking part. 

The clinics have been run out at Hynam, three days a week (Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday), with the weekend tournament featuring ‘round robins’ until 11am Sunday. After that, teams will go head to head in exhilarating finals.

The clinics have been run with the assistance of Justin Hafey and Trent Collins, champion polocrosse players from Queensland who have represented Australia on the world stage.

Justin is a prolific polocrosse player, participating in successive seasons over 30 years. 

And the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, as the entire Hafey family is famous for their polocrosse prowess.

“In Darwin we were the only family where the whole six members represented our state,” Justin said. 

“Every one of our children has represented Australia at the moment.”

Trent Collins is a Queenslander who plays for the Tansey team, and has also never missed a season, having participated in the sport for the last 25 years. 

Trent played in the last World Cup, and is currently on the national polocrosse team. 

He will soon be competing in Aubrey, Victoria. Only three teams have been selected to compete, and out of those teams, only one will be picked to tour Zambia in July.

Australian players who are good enough to play internationally compete against teams from Zambia, South Africa, England, Canada, America, and Ireland. 

Only last year Trent and Justin were competing in South Africa, with Trent as a player and Justin as a coach.

The next World Cup will be held in Warwick, Queensland, in 2019.

Justin’s goal is to help Naracoorte polocrosse players improve their game and their general horsemanship.

“What we're here to do is improve these kids and adults throughout the week – if we can see improvement, then we can see that we've done not a bad job at our coaching clinic.”

Drew Gurney, who is a local player assisting the clinic with his wife Donna, is hopeful that Naracoorte will host an Australian national championship in 2022 at its Hynam base.

“As a state, we're trying to get a competitive group of kids and adults, so we're represented as a high as level as possible,” Drew said. 

“Donna and I have been talking to the council a bit, but the last nationals that they ran in Aubrey brought in $8 million into the community.

“A lot of people come in, they stay for a couple of weeks, it's a big show.”

Polocrosse has been played in the region since the 1950s, with Drew praising lifetime member Ross Clark for his involvement in the club.

The polocrosse club is always looking for more players.

“That's one of the most wonderful things about the sport, it’s family-orientated, people are friendly, and we promote our sport because we love it,” Drew said.

Justin agreed, stating: 

“Polocrosse is one of those sports where a lot of people, they may not have seen the sport. But once they see the sport, once they get involved in the sport, they become very involved in it.

“It's one of the most entertaining horse sports.”