THE move of Lauren Cant from Western Australia to the Cunningham club means the host club will have three Australian squad members in action in this weekend's carnival at the Bony Mountain Recreation Reserve.
Better still, she will have the chance to play in a women's competition with fellow Australian squad member Ryle Waugh and her teammates from Cunningham.
In the juniors, Anthony O'Leary will play in only his third carnival since being named in an Australian squad after the nationals in Darwin in July.
While women's competitions are held at the nationals, the majority of club carnivals are played in open or mixed grades.
In the mixed competition, one chukka (three players) will be women and the other men.
Club secretary Robyn Cooper said there were five teams with six players each nominated in the women's competition.
"Players will come from Maitland and Cassilis in New South Wales as well as from Queensland clubs," she said.
Cunningham has 24 registered women players, 20 men and 15 juniors.
She said it was becoming a lot more common for clubs to have more women than men.
"This will be the first carnival this year in the zone where clubs have been asked to field women-specific teams," Cooper said.
Forty teams are expected for the carnival with competitions in open, women, junior and sub juniors.
Last month, five Cunningham players finished first or second with Queensland teams at the nationals.
"The club is very proud of the five players," she said.
"It is an added bonus for Australian squad member Lauren Cant to join the club; she is very popular with the members.
"She is the first national open player for our club for more than a decade."
Last year, Carly Cooper (juniors) and Ryle Waugh (intermediate) from the Cunningham club played for Australia in series wins against Ireland in Tests at Bony Mountain and Morgan Park.
Cooper said the club was getting stronger.
"The main emphasis is still on family," she said.
"We are building a strong open team which will challenge the best in a year or two."
A '70s retro night will be held on Saturday and organisers hope patrons will dress up. Members of the public are welcome to turn up from 6pm for the meal and entertainment. Cost is free but patrons pay for their meals.
Play starts at 8.30am Saturday and 8am Sunday with finals from mid morning Sunday.
State representatives at nationals
- Open mixed - Player Ella Waugh and coach Allan Waugh (Qld runners-up)
- Intermediate women's - Ryle Waugh (Qld runners-up)
- Junior girls - Player Sophie Forster and coach Robyn Cooper (Qld winners)
- Junior boys - Dougal Strahley and Anthony O'Leary (Qld runners-up)
- World Cup squad - Lauren Cant
- Intermediate women's - Ryle Waugh
- Junior boys - Anthony O'Leary