Meander Valley Gazette

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Dominic Grose

Tasmanian Juniors keeping afloat

SportJoanne Eisemann
The team in action against a strong attack from Queensland A during the National Canoe Polo Championships at Penrith.  Photo by Teresa Wilson

The team in action against a strong attack from Queensland A during the National Canoe Polo Championships at Penrith.

Photo by Teresa Wilson

By Teresa Wilson

THE TASMANIAN Junior (U16s) Canoe Polo team, including Dominic Grose, 16, of Blackstone Heights, have been commended for their performance and sportsmanship in the recent Australian National Canoe Polo Championships at Penrith, NSW.

Competing for the first time in 20 years, Tasmania was ably represented by U16, U21 and Masters. Competing against New Zealand, South Australia, Queensland, Victoria and the ACT, the juniors achieved a very commendable fourth place after being beaten by the ACT in a very close and gripping play-off.

Each team consists of five players on the water with one or two reserves. The ball is passed between team members as they try to score a ‘goal’ defended by the opposing team. The game is full-contact although within strict rules. Tackling by ramming or pushing your opponent over is permitted, so good kayak skills are essential. Each ‘half’ is only ten minutes long, but it’s an intense and physically demanding game.

The juniors had a baptism of fire with a ferocious first game against NZ. They used this experience to have good wins against Victoria, Queensland U16 girls and Queensland B.

‘It’s just been an amazing experience,’ said Dominic. ‘The team have come such a long way over the summer and the Championships have been a great learning experience and an opportunity to compete against some really top class players. The winter season in the pool will never be the same again.’

‘So many people have welcomed Tasmania back to the national scene,’ said team manager Jenny Purtell. ‘It’s been friendly on the sidelines, but fierce on the water. We really didn’t know what to expect. Players from other states have been so helpful offering coaching advice and support.’

Players are already back in the winter domestic season, developing and honing their skills, passing on their experience from Penrith.

The property where the teams practiced over summer has been sold and it is uncertain whether they will have access to it next summer.

This hasn’t stopped Dominic, however. ‘I can’t wait to do it all again next year,‘ he says, ‘though I expect the competition to make the team might be tougher.’

The Tasmanian U16 Squad.  Photo by Teresa Wilson

The Tasmanian U16 Squad.

Photo by Teresa Wilson

A bigger splash!

SportJoanne Eisemann
Patrick Munnings (right) and Dominic Grose paddling hard, without a pony in sight!   Photos | Chris Grose

Patrick Munnings (right) and Dominic Grose paddling hard, without a pony in sight!

Photos | Chris Grose

Dominic Grose has been selected for Tasmania’s Junior Team at the National Canoe Polo Championships held over Easter.

Dominic Grose has been selected for Tasmania’s Junior Team at the National Canoe Polo Championships held over Easter.

April 2019 | Chris Grose

NESTLED IN the hills behind Lilydale is a picturesque and peaceful farm dam. Peaceful, that is, except when the ducks and platypus give way to a small group of dedicated and enthusiastic people busy training for the National Canoe Polo Championships in Penrith NSW, where they will represent Tasmania over Easter.

“It’s been twenty years since Tasmania last sent a team to the Nationals,” says team manager Jenny Purtell as she watches what appears to be the chaos of a dozen or so kayaks bumping and bashing as their occupants attempt to toss a ball into a goal set 2 metres above the water, or wrestle the ball from the opposing team.

“This year we are sending a Masters and a Junior team, with the emphasis on participation, learning new skills and having an enjoyable time.” Dominic Grose, 17, from Blackstone Heights, has been selected for the Junior team and is excited to be representing his home state. “I only started playing canoe polo with Tamar Canoe Club last year,” explained Dominic, “but there is only a relatively small number of players around in my age group so I put my hand up and was fortunate enough to be selected.”

Sending 17 athletes and kayaking gear interstate is proving to be a challenge but the teams feel it will definitely be worth the trouble and are busy fund-raising to purchase new, competition-standard gear. With financial support from Tamar Canoe Club and local businesses, the group are also receiving help from an unexpected quarter. “We are so lucky to have the support of Australian canoe polo team member Jade Kerber,” says Dominic.

Jade has volunteered his time to give extra coaching in the month prior to the competition. “Jade’s dedication and generosity sets a great example for our junior players as they start their journey towards high level sport,” Jenny adds. “The forming of the team has had many more benefits than purely physical gains – it has built friendships, a sense of camaraderie, developed team work and built self-confidence within its members.” Canoe polo is a relatively low-profile sport, particularly in Tasmania.

While not anticipating great success this year, Jenny hopes that the experience will stand the teams in good stead for the future competitions and boost interest in the sport.