Players, horses make epic 4500km journey to play for Qld
SOUTH Burnett riders have crossed the country with their horses in tow to do their state proud.
Players from Tansey Polocrosse Club travelled 4500km to Western Australia to compete at the national championships next week.
Queensland teams have featured a large number of Tansey players in recent times, and this year is no exception, with 18 players from the club to take the field.
Five players from Tansey will pull on the maroon in the men's competition, four women will play in the women's competition, and the remaining players will be scattered throughout the under-21 and mixed teams.
The Queensland women's team finished on top at the barastoc earlier in the year, and with the likes of Australian world cup squad member, Beth Hafey from Tansey, in the team, the women in maroon are in contention to take out the championships.
President of the Tansey club, Justin Hafey, believes Queensland are the favourites heading into the competition but said they would face tough opposition in NSW and WA.
"It is the best women's team Queensland has ever put out,” Hafey said.
"We are not normally strong in the women's but we have a lot of young players coming through. The oldest person would be 27 so it is a very good, young team and it is the best opportunity we have ever had to win nationals.”
In the men's competition, Hafey believes Queensland will face strong competition from the home team and expects a young side from Victoria to be the dark horses of the championship.
Spending six days on the road and crossing state borders with horses comes with its challenges.
The first for the team was finding accommodation on the Nullarbor Plain for such a large group.
Then, when they reached South Australia, they had to drop off their Queensland hay and at Port Augusta.
When they got to WA, the horses had to have an oral drench to prevent liver fluke.
The animals were later stripped of their feed at the WA border before it was replenished at Kalgoorlie ahead of a six-hour drive to Perth.
The home state will have a definite advantage at the championships as both horses and their riders will be more rested.
But Hafey said the WA teams deserved the advantage for once as they faced the challenging distance at the nationals every two years.
"When they go to a nationals they are a bit disadvantaged and they don't often get the edge because it is only in WA every 10 years,” he said.
The Tansey players have started training in Perth ahead of the first day of competition on Monday.