The second day of the Nutragrow Australian National Championships at Ballarat got underway with the opening ceremony (many people might expect this to take part on day 1 but we can only imagine that the Mayoress of Ballarat wasn’t available yesterday). The opening ceremony was a very impressive site with all the players parading in their state colours. After they had assembled in orderly lines we were treated to some traditional aboriginal dances from some slightly untraditional looking aboringines (the one with bleached blonde hair was particularly unusual). However, full marks must be given to them for bravely performing the dances clad only in their traditional loin cloths as the weather was overcast and chilly (by Australian standards anyway). After they were finished Lyric Anderson of New South Wales arrived on a grey horse to sing the Australian national anthem, showing that she is talented singer as well as a talented polocrosse player.
After all this was over play got underway and the first match was a thriller. It was the first match in the Junior Open and saw Victoria go looking for their first win against the Northern Territory. The Victorians got off to a good start and lead 6-5 at the end of the second with good play from Thomas Ford and Ted Forbes in particular. However, then Jack Cooper, playing number 1 for the Northern Territory, produced a chukka which will probably live long in his memory. He had threatened Victoria in the first with a couple of goals but in the third he linked up beautifully with his number 3 Jake Burgdorf to score a seven goal chukka and make the score 12-6. Victoria seemed shell shocked by this and some mistakes crept into their game. They fought to the end but could never pull back the 6 goal difference. Every time they scored Northern Territory matched it and at the end of the game Northern Territory had won 18-12.
This was the start of a good day for the Territory as their Under 21 Mixed defeated South Australia 14-7, without using their best number 1 Lorin Ascoli, who they decided to save for their match with Queensland tomorrow. Their final side the Senior Men were involved in the opening match of the Senior Men championships which also got underway today and although they lost to a strong New South Wales side they went down fighting. NSW are the defending champions and have within their ranks a number of Australian National side players, including Lance Anderson and Will Weston so it was always going to be a battle for the Northern Territory to overcome them but they fought hard all the way to the end and the final score was 21-12 to NSW was fairly honourable.
In the other match in the Senior men today Queensland took on the might of Western Australia in a match which many thought might be an absolute classic. However, in truth WA were simply too good for Queensland today and won it 19-13. It would have probably be more but WA took Aiden Thurkle out of the number 1 spot for the final chukka and Clayton Sargood, who had played well all match when he had the ball, took the opportunity to grab back a few goals. Queensland didn’t help themselves by giving away a number of free goals for wild swings but Western Australia were on pretty devastating form with Rob Sibley and Thurkle firing in goals and players such as Trent Cooper and Wayne Woods winning them a lot of ball.
Elsewhere in play today the NSW Masters Men team continued their good form with a comfortable 24-5 win over Victoria. Ross Turnbull looked on particularly good form in the number 3 shirt and with Queensland losing to WA by 12 goals to 17 in the other Masters Men match today it looks like NSW might be a good tip for the title.
Victoria continued to struggle on day 2 of their home Nationals as they still failed to find a single win. In particular NSW hurt them, as they also beat them in Under 21 Mens (which also got under way today) 26-8, and in the Under 21 Mixed by 26-13. In the Masters Mixed Victoria went down to Queensland by 16 goals to 5. In the other Masters Mixed game NSW defeated SA by 19 goals to 8.
In the opening Under 21 Mens match it was Queensland who won out, defeating WA by 23 goals to 8. WA were guilty of some mistakes but this was partly due to the pressure Queensland put them under when they were on the ball. WA could not really repay the favour and players such as Colten Preston and Beau Moore linked well to pump in the goals.
Tasmania also ended day 2 still searching for their first win as they went down 31-4 to Queensland in the Under 21 Mixed and 26-5 in the Senior Mixed. WA looked on fine form but as yet they have only faced a couple of the smaller states so it will be interested to see how they do when they clash NSW on Thursday. The other match in the Senior Mixed today was between SA and NSW and it was NSW who again emerged victorious by 26 goals to 5.
So at the end of Day 2 NSW are the only state to have not lost a single game but with some big clashes with Queensland tomorrow it remains to be seen if they can keep that record for another day. Tomorrow also sees the start of the Senior Women and the Under 24 Women, after the official breakfast takes place (our reporting team will not be attending, we will content ourselves with an unofficial breakfast and a lie in as play doesn’t start till 10.30 am).
Full Results from Day 2
NSW defeated VIctoria – 24 – 5
WA defeated Queensland – 17 – 12
Queensland defeated Victoria – 16 – 5
NSW defeated SA – 19 – 8
NSW defeated NT – 21 – 12
WA defeated Queensland – 19 – 13
NSW defeated SA – 26 – 5
WA defeated Tasmania – 26 – 5
Under 21 Men
Queensland defeated WA – 23 – 8
NSW defeated Victoria – 26 – 8
Under 21 Mixed
Queensland defeated Tasmania – 31- 4
NSW defeated Victoria – 26 – 13
NT defeated SA – 14 – 7
NT defeated Victoria – 18 – 12
Queensland defeated WA – 12 – 7
NSW defeated WA – 17 – 11
Queensland defeated SA – 19 – 6