By HARRY CLARKE
QUEENSLAND polocrosse queen Sydnee Johnson, hailing from the local club in Tara, will tomorrow begin the Maroons’ campaign to win back-to-back national women’s titles in regional Victoria.
Johnson has represented Queensland since 2012 and first captained the team in its ‘State of Origin’ victory over NSW at last year’s Barastock Interstate Polocrosse series in Warwick.
The Maroons will face off against the Blues again tomorrow in the opening round of the open women’s competition at the Petstock Australian Polocrosse Nationals in Ballarat.
“NSW has got a very strong strong side and we’ve got a few new faces in our team, so we’re starting out against the big guns and we’re very eager to get going,” Johnson said.
“It’s really exciting. There’s really great atmosphere down here and the grounds are just buzzing. It’s quite chilly, so the Queenslanders especially are freezing our butts off!”
For a small organisation, Tara Polocrosse is well represented across the Queensland contingent of 11 teams which have travelled Ballarat.
Many players come from the polocrosse capital of Warwick, some from the Gold Coast and Toowoomba, and plenty more from across the state’s country towns.
By nature, those in team horse sports are spread over vast geographic areas, so all of those competing at Ballarat this week will have to overcome the challenge of distance and limited amounts of squad training.
There have been no national title carnivals held for the past three years but Johnson was part of the first Queensland women’s team to win a national title in the most recent event in 2018.
Her younger sister Lindsay Doolan, of Miles, is also part of the open women’s team and has represented Australia in the sport.
“We’ve had two training weekends prior to this, trying to play together as a team and preparing out horses and making sure they’re fit to play,” Johnson said.
“It’s been a bit challenge to get everyone together to practice, especially with the amount of rain everywhere, but we’ve done the best we can.
“I think the team’s coming together very well. It’s fortunate that I’ve got my sister in the team and we’ve got second set of sisters in the team, so we’re very used to playing together and linking up.
“We’re a bit nervous but I’m feeling confident and I think we’re definitely capable of winning the title.”