Ross' last chukka
ROSS Shepherd would love to regain the World Cup in polocrosse in South Africa in 2015 but reckons it is time to hand over the reins to a new coach.
That means more time in the family farming operations in the Warwick area.
Shepherd was appointed national coach in 2002 and coached Australia to success in the first two cups at Morgan Park in Warwick.
His unbeaten record as Australian coach was extended to four series in 2009 before his side finished third in last year's World Cup in the United Kingdom.
While nominations have not been called for a coach for future international series, Shepherd has phoned Australian Polocrosse Association president Gil Mathie to tell him of his decision.
"I would love nothing better than to go to South Africa and win the cup back," Shepherd said.
"It is common sense for someone younger and with different ideas to take over the role.
"They have got to take over now and do the job up to and including the next cup."
Shepherd said one lasting memory was the chance to work with the players.
"Polocrosse has been part of my life for a long time and there are no special occasions which stand out more than others. I enjoyed working with the Australian Polocrosse Association."
Australia went into the World Cup last year as favourites before losing to Zimbabwe and eventual winners South Africa.
"I am a firm believer that any one of five nations could have won the cup with the horses allocated to South Africa," Shepherd said.
Horses were graded and split into eight pools for the cup and it was generally considered that the luck of the draw favoured South Africa and Zimbabwe.
"There are not as many polocrosse horses to choose from in the United Kingdom as in Australia and I felt the people who graded the horses were inexperienced," Shepherd said.
He isn't about to advocate an international grading committee as horses are graded over many months in the run up to a World Cup draw.
While his involvement in the Warwick club and as a national selector will continue, retiring as national coach will free Shepherd up to concentrate more on his farming operations in the Warwick district.
"The biggest cost is the time away from our own farming business," Shepherd said.
"I was away from the farm for about eight weeks last year, including two weeks in the Ballarat area at a camp and for weekend carnivals."
He was appointed a national selector in 2008.
Shepherd was part of the selection committee which named open, intermediate and junior squads earlier this month.
Troy Henry was Australian vice-captain for two World Cup wins and said the coach was stern but fair.
"He was meticulous with planning and a deep thinker about playing the right players on the right horses," Henry said.
"Sometimes he was a bit hard on himself; he put so much into his role as coach."
As a player, he was an outstanding No.1 (shooter).
TEST COACHING CAREER
2003 World Cup - Australia 5 Wins, 0 Losses
2007 World Cup - Australia 5 Wins, 0 Losses
2008 United Kingdom Tour - Australia 4 Wins, 0 Losses
2009 Quadrangular Series - Australia 4 Wins, 0 Losses
2011 World Cup - Australia 3 Wins, 2 Losses
TOTAL 2003-2011 - Australia 21 Wins, 2 Losses
TEST PLAYING CAREER
Ross Shepherd - 12 Wins, 0 Losses
1977 - Four Tests versus New Zealand in New Zealand
1983 - Four Tests against NZ, Zimbabwe, Papua New Guinea at Gold Coast
1985 - (Vice-captain) Four Tests against Zimbabwe in Zimbabwe
1988 - (Captain) Australia v Rest of the World in Chinchilla - Withdrew after one lead-up game with back injury
Player and coach - 33 wins, 2 losses.