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Henare rules himself out for trans-Tasman wool handling test

Doug Laing, Shearing Sports New Zealand, September 19, 2022

World champion Joel Henare throws a fleece at the 2018 Golden Shears open wool handling. Picture – Golden Shears.

TOP New Zealand top wool handler Joel Henare has ruled himself out of competing in the trans-Tasman test at the Australian Shearing and Woolhandling Championships in Bendigo, Victoria, on October 21-22.

Both the winner and runner-up in the New Zealand Shears Open Woolhandling final in Alexandra on September 30 will represent New Zealand in the trans-Tasman series revival test match in Australia three weeks later.

The decision comes after 2021 winner Joel Henare confirmed he is unavailable for the 2022-2023 series and intends stepping back from a usually heavy schedule, which has included a series-record 14 trans-Tasman wool handling tests since his first in Hay, New South Wales, in 2008 – at the age of 15.

He has also won 113 individual open titles, including two world championships, that went with two world championships teams titles.

Joel Henare after winning the 2021 New Zealand Merino Shears Open woolhandling title. Photo – Barbara Newton

Henare will be at the two days of the Merino Shears Shearing and Woolhandling Championships which open the 2022-2023 New Zealand Shearing Sports season in Alexandra on September 30-October 1. He expects to both compete and commentate, with plans do the same at the Waimate Spring Shears in South Canterbury a week later.

Henare then intends returning to Gisborne to help with the season’s opening event in the North Island, his home Poverty Bay A and P Shears on October 15. But he is ruling himself out of most of the rest of the competition season, which includes being unlikely to contest an eight-show series to find New Zealand’s two wool handlers for the 2023 world championships in Scotland..

Shearing Sports New Zealand will send a team of three machines shearers, two wool handlers and two blades shearers for the separate trans-Tasman tests during the Australian shearing and Woolhandling Championships in Bendigo on October 21-22.

They will be the first tests since the New Zealand home leg at the Golden Shears in Masterton in March 2022, just three weeks before the first pandemic lockdown and a near shutdown of international travel.

Those already confirmed in the team are Southland machine shearers Leon Samuels and Nathan Stratford, winners of the PGG Wrightson Vetmed national shearing circuit in 2021 and 2022 respectively.

The third machine shearer will be the best-performing other New Zealand shearer in the Merino Shears Open shearing championship, and the blades shearers will be the 2019 world champion pairing of Allan Oldfield, of Geraldine, and Tony Dobbs, of Fairlie.

Team manager and shearing judge is Greg Stuart, of Alexandra, and Gail Haitana, of Bulls, travels as wool handling judge.

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