Cameron set for World Cup glory
THE Warwick love affair with the Polocrosse World Cup is set to continue, with the selection of Cameron Shepherd to play in next year’s competition in the United Kingdom.
The sporting career of the Massie resident reached a new high early yesterday morning when he fielded a phone call from the Northern Territory-based chairman of selectors.
Cameron is one of eight players – and the only Queenslander – who will head to the UK to defend the World Cup on July 4-14 next year.
“It is exciting but a bit daunting to be in the World Cup team,” Cameron said.
“I have always maintained it is easier to be picked in the team – the hard part is performing.”
He expects to receive a training program in the next few weeks.
“Ross (Shepherd, coach) keeps raising the bar,” Cameron said.
“He is wary of the other countries improving and says we need to keep improving and not rest on our laurels.”
After starting in his four Tests, Cameron is in the running for a starting spot in the World Cup at number one (shooter) or number two (midfield).
“I prefer to play one, but it doesn’t make much difference,” he said.
Cameron doesn’t like naming names when it comes to people who influenced his career, instead he is just keen to pay tribute to members of the Quirindi (NSW) and Warwick clubs who helped him develop his skills.
It is second time lucky for the Warwick player who was in the squad of 16 for 2007 but not the final eight.
He travelled to New Zealand before the 2007 Cup with the Australian squad. Next year’s trip to the United Kingdom will be only his second time overseas.
As a 12-year-old, Cameron was like most young rugby league players who dreamed of playing the sport for Australia when he played fullback in successive Collegians teams from under-7 to under-16.
He first played polocrosse at the age of 13, and as they say, the rest is history.
“If I face reality, I was better at polocrosse than rugby league,” Cameron said.
“At the end of the day, rugby league helped our (Cameron’s and brother Stuart’s) co-ordination and how to play a team sport.
“We had really good coaches like Bill McVeigh.”
Cameron debuted for Australia in the 2009 Quad Polocrosse Series between the four highest-ranked countries in the world, which Australia won at Bowral last year.
He missed this year’s nationals after his horse died earlier in the year but impressed selectors as 16 players were put through their paces at the Bungendore and Young carnivals in New South Wales as a forerunner to the team selection.
Coach Ross Shepherd said the Warwick player made the team after playing well at Young on any of the borrowed horses he was allocated.
“His versatility to play number one or two, and commitment and determination to win were factors in his selection. Cameron also went well at Bowral in the Quadrangular Series last year,” Ross said.
The Warwick Polocrosse Club life member has coached Australia to two World Cup wins and has claims to be the most successful Australian coach in any sport, with a record of 18 wins and no losses in the past seven years.
Warwick was the focus of world polocrosse in 2003 and 2007 when the town hosted the first two World Cups in the sport.
In the inaugural Cup, Warwick player Sally McGrath was in the winning team.
Jodie Tiver (Foot Hills club, WA), Alison Mathie (Euro Coast, NSW), Suzette Thomas (South Midlands, WA), Sandra Weston (Tumut, NSW), Robert Sibley (Perth, WA), Will Weston (Jugiong, NSW), Lance Anderson (Cassilis, NSW), Cameron Shepherd (Warwick, Qld).