ATTENTION to fitness helped Australia’s newest national open wool handling and shearing champions to success at the recent national championships.
Australian open shearing champion Nathan Meaney, 36, said it has taken him 15 years in the South Australian state team, with COVID in the middle, to finally take out the national title.
“But in the past 26 years, there has been only four of us ever win it.
“Shannon (Warnest) kept us out for a while, so it was quite good to bring it back into the state again.”
Before Meaney’s victory this year, the title of Australia’s top shearer has been held by Warnest, Victoria’s Jason Wingfield and more recently Daniel McIntyre from New South Wales.
Meaney said he made an extra effort with the championships being held in his home state. He said he got fit for the 2022 world titles in Scotland and carried that fitness forward to Jamestown.
He said didn’t do too much fitness work off-season, but kept working and watched what he ate and drank, staying off the soft drink and junk food.
“I just kept an eye on all that and I worked a bit harder in the sheds, but cut my work days back to five days a week from seven.”
Nathan said he went blank when he finished the final.
“I was a bit over half a sheep in front of Daniel and he was working with us all last week and we know what sort of a job he can do.
“I knew I could do a real good job, but I thought it’s going to need to be immaculate to come through and in the end it was 4.5 points, so it was quite a good win.”
In the open machine shearing final, Meaney was the second shearer to finish his 12 sheep in 17.57 minutes, but has the lowest quality penalty points to finish with a total of 73.27 points. Former Australian champion Daniel McIntyre was second with 77.93 points, ahead of Victoria’s Josh BOIne with 82.58 points, Western Australia’s Damien Boyle with 85.30 poionts, Jamie Boothman from New South Wales with 86.35 points and Souyth Australia’s Brtadon Waters with 90.20 points.
Slim pickings in the wool handling
The new Australian open wool handling champion Queenslander Alex ‘Slim’ Schoff, 25, has been working in the shed for seven years and shooting for national representation in competitions since 2015. He was excited and relieved to be crowned the national champion in his third stint in the Queensland team.
Alex said he started riding a bike every night after work in mid-2022 to get fitter for the nationals.
“It helped to get my speed going a bit.”
And success in Sports Shear competitions ran in the Schoff family at Jamestown. His brother Carl, 17, won the novice national shearing final and their sister Grace, 23, won the intermediate shearing final at Jamestown. Their father was a shearer and Mum was a wool classer.
In the open wool handling final at Jamestown, Alex was the last to tidy up after his fin al fleece, but made up for it with the lowest oddment, board and work skill penalty points, to finish with a total score of 46.83.
This put him ahead of Victorians Marlene Whittle on 47.3 points and Jayne Griffin on 49.47 points, fourth placegetter Janise Hebberman from South Australia with 56.63 points, Janelle Hauiti in fifth with 60.83 points and Kellie Hazel from Tasmania with 70.87 points.
Dalla retains blade shearing title
Current national and South Australian blade shearing champion John Dalla retained his title with 65.30 points; a clear 17.4 point margin from second placegetter Andrew Murray from NSW on 82.77 points. In third place was Victorian Daniel Rogers on 88.53 points, ahead of Mal Griffiths from Victoria on 120.98 points and Nicki Guttler from NSW on 125.03 points.
In the states team event, Victoria was first on 146.43 points, from NSW on 166.38 points and Western Australia on 200.18 points.