DIMBOOLA could become a training base for Australian lacrosse after the national men’s team had a successful two-day camp in the town at the weekend.
The team, known as the Sharks, used the Dimboola Health and Fitness Centre at Dimboola Memorial Secondary College to train in preparation for this year’s World Lacrosse Championships.
The championships are in Denver in the United States, and Australian head coach Glenn Meredith wanted to use the Wimmera’s hot conditions to mimic those his players would face.
After two days of drills and practice games on the synthetic pitch, Meredith said every coach and player left Dimboola impressed.
“The facilities were first class – we couldn’t fault them,” he said.
“The change rooms, the conditions and the ground itself to train on was pretty similar to what we’ll have in Denver, which is another advantage.
“They’d be lucky to have those conditions at a lacrosse club in Melbourne, so they were almost world-class conditions for us.”
Despite the Sharks being comprised of entirely amateur players, the team is one of the highest ranked in the world and finished with a bronze medal at the world championships four years ago.
Meredith said he and the rest of the team were so impressed with the training camp they would seek a continuing relationship with the town.
“When I get back I’m going to write up a report and send it to the Australian Lacrosse Association and suggest that there’s an ongoing relationship between Dimboola and all future Australian teams,” he said.
“Hopefully this is the start of a great relationship, not just with the Australian men’s team but with Australian lacrosse in general.”
Meredith said it was not only the facilities but the people of Dimboola that made the team’s trip worthwhile.
“The Dimboola people were outstanding, from the people involved in preparing the food and our accommodation to just how they went out of their way to make us feel welcome, it was unbelievable,” he said.
“We’re looking forward to coming back in April because we’re definitely locked in to coming back then and we’re going to try and extend that one and make it longer because we’re so thrilled with the way they treated us.
“It was a typical Australian town and a typical Australian welcome.”
Dimboola Memorial Secondary College principal Rob Pyers said the town was equally keen to continue the relationship.
He said a link with the Australian Lacrosse Association could be mutually beneficial.
“One of the good things about their trip was that most of the food and stuff they used was bought in either Dimboola or Horsham so it worked out to be a good thing on the economic front,” he said.
“The manner in which the players and officials went about it and the work they did with the kids was an absolute credit to their sport.
“We’re very hopeful we’re going to be able to build some strong links with them into the future.”
Mr Pyers said Wimmera sporting clubs could also learn much from the professionalism of a national team training in the region.
“Just in the context of our local footy club, I think there’s things we could pick up on such as how they manage themselves in terms of recovery and nutrition,” he said.
“Off-field I think there was a lot to be learned from how they approach things across the board.
“You’re silly not to have a look at other sports and how they go about things and we have a lot of admiration for how they conducted themselves.”