The start of the National Orienteering League 2006 is now less than a month away! Which means even less than a month to finalise and send in your theFOOL team. Entries have started trickling in already, but perhaps most of you are waiting for that extra bit of inside knowledge…
Round the Grounds
ACT – The reigning champions are seemingly unbeatable. But a few things have changed this year. A training camp in Beechworth may have been a good step for granite practice but it revealed a few holes. A few of the big names are just coming back from injury and maybe not in time for the first races. Other team members are now living overseas, weakening any depth they might have had. The summer series in Canberra has revealed good form for Anna Quayle though.
VIC – Runners-up last year taking that title away from NSW at the last race of the season. They are relying on some aging stars but have the advantage of quite a number of races at home. Of course Troy de Haas is back in Australia and he can make a massive difference. And they have some promising juniors coming up, as well as those versatile mountain bike types. There is some cluckiness around.
NSW – If anyone can challenge the Cockies, it’s the Stingers, or so you might think. A few of the men raced the Overland track, a 82km run! This may seem a little silly to some and presumably isnt the best preparation just over a month before the start of the season. The purchase of kayaks suggests some may be concentrating less on orienteering these days. An extremely high quality sprint series in Sydney will add good preparation though and has seen the return of Orla to Sydney which should boost the Sydney women’s scene. And then there are the distant cries of babies…
QLD – Is a team that may be the best prepared going into this coming season. With Geoff Peck playing an influential role in coaching, the squad seems to be active at training camps and preparing specifically for the coming races. All this and more are hinted at on their website. And in case you are wondering who will be running for them, even their team selection is on the web!
SA – Has a big training camp this weekend and a renewed push to take on the likes of the Cyclones and even sneak into the top 3 overall. With ideas for a new uniform as well, the team is hopeful they can encourage more out to the races. Because there is a lot of talent in SA, its just whether they make the start line, either through not being able to travel or being injured. Did someone say injured?
WA – To be honest, I have no idea what is happening out West. There is plenty of talent for solid results, maybe the silence is a sign they are too busy training. Despite the distance I can hear something though… is that more babies??
TAS – The Forester women are getting awards left right and centre. Hanny of course picked up a state award and Grace won the Overland track race. Some concern over operations and long races/adventure races may come into play. The men are a different story though, and the Foresters didn’t finish last last year due to their women. Although there are some young ones with promise there is a sense they may not be too keen to develop it.
The views expressed here do not necessarily represent anyone, particularly Orienteering Australia or theFOOL.