Sally McGrath will play in the seniors mixed and Matthew Shepherd in the men’s division.
Sally McGrath will play in the seniors mixed and Matthew Shepherd in the men’s division. Georja Ryan

Veterans on the circuit

IF EXPERIENCE is anything to go by, there will be a few competitors shaking in their boots this week as Sally McGrath gallops into her 24th consecutive Polocrosse Nationals wearing the Queensland colours.

Growing up in North Queensland, Ms McGrath moved to Warwick when she was 18 to further her polocrosse skills and years later, she is still here.

Ms McGrath said she was pumped to compete in the mixed seniors division at Morgan Park next week.

"I love it. It's competitive, a challenge and the fact it's one of the few sports you can play with such a broad range of age groups and with men and women," she said.

As with most polocrosse players, Ms McGrath was bred into the sport with generations of her family also spending a lot of time in the saddle, and it was only fitting she follow the same path.

Also jumping on the Queensland bandwagon is Matthew Shepherd from Tannymorel who will compete in the men's competition for the fourth time.

He said the calibre of players in such an elite competition was one of the best parts about it.

"There are pretty good players in all of the other states so it should be good to play against everyone else who is sort of at your level," Mr Shepherd said.

"You definitely rise to the occasion and as they say 'when the going gets tough...'."

After three months of preparation, the Queensland teams are ready to show the rest of Australia the talent in the Sunshine State.

Mr Shepherd said the players were focussed, the horses were fit and the team spirit was strengthening.

"When the pressure is on, you do seem to click and the mental side kicks in," he said.

The Queensland side had only met to train together three times before this week because they come from all over the state.

Ms McGrath said despite that they were confident they could mesh well together.

"Some of the other players you've played with before or played against, so you do get to know their play," she said.


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