THE Australian men’s lacrosse team will return to Dimboola at the weekend for a second training camp in the Wimmera.
The national team first visited the town for a two-day training camp in January, and will be back training at the Dimboola Health and Fitness Centre at Dimboola Memorial Secondary College for three days starting on Friday.
Players from the team – known as the Sharks – will run a free clinic for school children at 4pm, and will play a practice match open to spectators at 6pm.
Sharks head coach Glenn Meredith said the focus of this camp would be slightly different from the team’s last visit.
“Last time we were just a squad and hadn’t picked the final team, but now we’ve picked a team and we can be really definitive with the plays and structures we want to run,” he said.
“We just went to Japan for a three-match tour in early March and we got a lot out of that.
“From all the stuff we’ve done in Japan, we’re really hoping to get our structures down pat.”
During Australia’s tour of Japan, the team deafeated the host nation 9-2 and 16-4, and also beat Waseda University 24-4.
Meredith said it had been a positive response from the side.
“Japan beat us in 2010 in the world championships in Manchester for the first time, so when we went there we weren’t sure what to expect,” he said.
“They’re a Blue Division nation, which is the top division in world lacrosse.
“It’s hard to get a handle on these teams when you only see them once every couple of years, but the boys really came together well and it was better than we anticipated.”
Meredith said the team was looking forward to returning to Dimboola after a fantastic camp in January.
He said the hospitality of the town was the best the team had ever experienced.
Dimboola Memorial Secondary College principal Rob Pyers said Dimboola was equally thrilled to have the team back.
He said a recent match between Melbourne and Adelaide-based sides in Edenhope showed the Wimmera had excellent facilities to host lacrosse teams.
“We’re hoping that this is going to become a long-term relationship between us and Australian lacrosse,” he said.
“We think there’s some real upside in terms of not only national teams, but clubs coming up to the Wimmera and having training camps and the like.
“We’re hopeful that might even extend into other sports such as hockey, which we’ve got facilities for here.”
Mr Pyers encouraged Wimmera residents to make the most of the team’s visit by turning out to the free clinic on Friday and watching the practice match.
He said other sporting clubs in the region could also approach the Sharks for advice from the team’s dieticians and physiotherapists.