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POLOCROSSE is a uniquely
Australian sport, often described as
a mix of polo, lacrosse, and netball.
The Naracoorte Polocrosse Club,
established in 1952, has a significant
national presence in the game, hav-
ing produced four national players.
Past president, current player, and
'unofficial coach' Andrew Cameron,
Hynam, said it was "the only
Australian sport which is played
"Up to 20-odd other countries play
it, including South Africa, the Unites
States, Canada and New Zealand,
and every two years there is a world
cup," he said.
In the national squad were Mr
Cameron's father Craig, Ross Clark
and his sons Phillip and Stephen.
"It's a big achievement, especially
for such a minnow state such as SA,"
Mr Cameron said.
Explaining the nuances of the
game, Mr Cameron said horses had
to be similar to Australian Rules
"Like aussie rules, horses have to
have a range of skills," he said.
"They need to be able to gallop,
stop, turn, take a bump or give a
bump, and be fit enough to last the
A polocrosse match is divided into
chukkas which differ depending on
the tournament or game. For exam-
ple, there can be four four-minute
chukkas, or eight six-minute
There are six players to a team, this
team is then split with players play-
ing alternate chukkas, so the first
three players generally play the first
chukka, then the second three play-
ers play the second chukka, and so
"It's not like polo where you play
every chukka but swap horses con-
tinuously," Mr Cameron said.
"In this game you ride one horse
the whole time.
"It's still high intensity, the horses
are highly trained and very skilled."
Mr Cameron said the sport was
fun, affordable and riders of all ages
could take part.
"Polocrosse is the king of the one-
horse sports," he said.
"In this day and age people want
value for money and polocrosse
delivers -- all you need is a horse, and
the means to transport it."
During the main season from
January to May tournaments are run
every fortnight, in South Australia
"Generally our club tends to send
all teams away to the one tourna-
ment," Mr Cameron said.
To ensure horses are fit for the sea-
son's start, Mr Cameron begins work-
ing them in November. They are put
through their paces five to six days a
week, and fed quantities to match
their fitness levels.
"By the end of it, they are more aer-
obically fit than a racehorse," he said.
"It's like comparing a sprinter to an
aussie rules player, you need them to
have that all-round fitness and stami-
Mr Cameron said while good
polocrosse horses came in all shapes
and sizes, depending on the grade
required, at the higher end of the
sport he preferred to ride an
Australian Stock Horse or
Thoroughbred, or a mix of the two,
because of their athleticism and train-
"Ideally I prefer an Australian Stock
Horse with a preponderance of
Thoroughbred blood," he said.
One of his horses, a young five-
year-old ASH gelding from Scone-
Hunter Valley bloodlines, Cameron's
Reignite, was voted best horse at the
Royal Adelaide Show polocrosse
competition in 2012.
"A lot of time, money and effort
goes into getting a horse match-
ready," Mr Cameron said.
"Horses are worked constantly,
bandaged and bell booted, tails plait-
ed, rugged and fed.
"Quite often you will see A-grade
horses being led about by young chil-
dren, they are essentially very quiet
horses to be around because of all the
work that goes into them."
Mr Cameron said animal welfare
was a big consideration in the sport.
"People are loath to see their hors-
es being badly used or knocked
about," he said.
"Polocrosse has shifted with the
times so training regimes and animal
welfare considerations are para-
"Umpiring is a lot stricter and any
untoward contact is penalised.
"Every club also has a welfare offi-
He encouraged anyone considering
polocrosse to give it a go.
"It's an affordable horse sport that
anyone with ball skills, team work
and horse skills, can do," he said.
"A tournament is a wonderful
weekend away with your family,
camping out from Friday night to
Sunday afternoon, that people from
all walks of life enjoy heading along
to and competing."
Mr Cameron said he was not a nat-
ural athlete but had, instead, spent a
lot of time to 'upskill'.
"In my prime I was classed as a
(grade) nine (player), you have to
almost captain Australia to be classed
as a 10. Nowadays I often play as an
eight," he said.
"If I preach anything it's the per-
centage plays. Polocrosse is a very
simple game: They have the ball, we
have the ball and the ball is in dispute
so it comes down to what you do
when they have the ball, you have the
ball ,and when the ball is in dispute.
"Go by the KISS (keep it simple
stupid) principle and keep percent-
ages on your side and hopefully at
the end of the day you'll have done
Naracoorte Polocrosse Club past president, current player and 'unofficial
coach' Andrew Cameron, Hynam, says anyone with ball skills, team work and
a way with horses can easily take part in this one-horse sport.
Four players in national teams
Affordable family sport
Main season from January to May
IN the first of our series on horse sports, we profile one described as a combina-
tion of netball, polo, and lacrosse -- polocrosse. smartfarmer's MIRANDA KENNY
spoke to a rider from South Australia's oldest polocrosse club at Naracoorte.
Polocrosse on the ball
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