The East Coast All-Stars, made up of players from QLD and NSW, travelled to Adelaide in early June to compete in the 2017 ALA Senior Nationals Tournament. While this was the second Nationals tournament for the women’s team, we were proud to also send a men’s team to compete for the first time. National tournaments are great opportunities for our players to receive high-level game experience and for us to remind the rest of Australia that lacrosse is actually played outside of the three main states!
The games against Western Australia was each team’s first opportunity to play together in a game situation and test team mechanics. In the first minutes of both games. both teams found themselves on their heels, but reacted by coming together to play with heart and intensity.
Friday’s games were against the home state, South Australia, with the men’s team playing a second game against New Zealand later in the day. In a complete turnaround from the previous game, the men’s team was able to score the first goal against South Australia and ended the close first quarter by notching a couple of well-placed goals. We always knew the NZ game would be close. We were even more eager to step up due to the fact that our president, fitness coach, and "friend" was playing for the opposition. The All-Stars struck quickly, netting the first two goals, and by the end of the last quarter we were 5-all. This meant sudden death over time. Nerve-wracking – YES! Entertaining - Also YES! Sadly, as the skies grew darker and darker, the Kiwis managed to clinch the game winning golden goal in the 2nd overtime.
Pool play was wrapped up on Saturday with each team versing Victoria, the 2016 champions of both the men’s and women’s tournaments. Both teams played with composure and pride, and saw improvements in possession and decision-making under champion level pressure. After the game, the women’s team was given the opportunity to hold a short clinic with the Victorian team (many of whom are also Australian national team players) which allowed our new and old players alike to pick up some tips and tricks.
Sunday saw both teams versing Western Australia in the #3 vs. #4 championship games. We all played to the best of our ability and left it all out on the field.
The finals scores of the games do not reflect the true value of the tournament to our teams – they don’t capture the vast improvements we made, the experience we gained, the fun we had off the field, and the friends we made. We envy the other states with their 8-10 clubs and multiple levels of teams at each club – this guarantees their players high-level competition every single weekend. The greatest thing we can take home from this tournament is the drive to return to our home states and grow our numbers locally. It won’t happen overnight and it’s going to take a lot of work, but eventually we can get there. #growthegame
We did each other proud during that week and left with our heads held high and memories to last a lifetime!
In the meantime, we’ll look forward to playing against our Queensland teammates in the annual East Coast Tournament, only to come together again in 2018 for another Nationals Tournament!
Danielle (#3) and Caroline (#4)
Team Managers/Sub-gate tyrants