Last year was meant to be a crowning moment in Shae Moate’s short lacrosse career.
A rising star who started the sport when he was six, Moate was selected to represent Australia’s under-19 lacrosse team in Limerick in Ireland.
But that event, along with all lacrosse in the state, was cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It was good and bad,” Moate said of 2020. “It was good to have a break from the intense training we had been doing.
“But it was tough trying to build a schedule and not being able to go too far from the house.
“There were no gyms available. It was hard not being around the mates who I’d formed a bond with the last three years.”
“At the time, when I found out that I wouldn’t be playing for Australia in 2020, it was a bit upsetting.
“It’s been a long ride and roller coaster.”
Moate was one of eight players from his home club Williamstown to have made the Australian under-19 team.
Others include Edison Pyke, Harry Gibson, Brock Gourlay, Chinaka Egbujor, Lachlan Warren, Will Olver and Lachy Hodge.
Moate said having so many other players in the area who he had grown up playing with, had some benefits during lockdown.
“The Willy guys met up for running sessions and have a throw,” he said. “That was a great advantage for us.
“It was great to have everyone on the doorstep. People would say ‘do you want to go for a run?’ and it would go from there.”
Moate and his Williamstown teammates are still likely to get the opportunity to represent Australia in the next couple of years. The under-19 event that was due to be held last year has been postponed until at least next year. It will now be an under-21 event, to ensure everyone who was part of the team can still be part of the event.
Moate had said previously that making an Australian team was a dream come true.
“Coming from under-12 lacrosse to playing in state sides and eventually a national team, it’s something you couldn’t even dream about,” he said.
“All the work over the 18 months of trials and camps and the long days out in the field and the work put in the gym and building to become an elite athlete, it’s a great feeling for it to be able to come good and be able to make the team.
“It’s just been hard work and a commitment to the game.”
While the team is waiting for next year’s event, Moate’s first official game back was on Friday night.
The long stick midfielder, said it was exciting to get back onto the field.
As well as his local lacrosse commitments, he is keen to throw his name into the ring for selection for the senior Victorian lacrosse team for the national championships.
It will be the first time he has tried out for the senior team.
“I’m not sure of the exact date,” he said.
“I’m going to put my name down and try and make the team. I’ve been in the under-15s and under-18s before.
“Who knows what will happen, there’s a lot of talent around. I’ll just put my head down. ”
Moate is the Don Deeble Sports Star for March.
He was announced as last year’s March winner before COVID-19 prevented the award presentation from going ahead.
The Don Deeble award is named after ex member and outstanding baseball legend Don Deeble who was an Australian baseballer while representing Sunshine Baseball Club in the 1950s and 1960s.
Hosted by Sunshine Western Region Sports Club and Star Weekly, made possible by donations from Yarraville Club Cricket Club, Strathmore Community Bank and Deer Park Club., the monthly award is given to athletes aged between 13 and 20 who are achieving a high level in their chosen sport, competing at state level or equivalent.
The athletes can be nominated by family or sporting clubs and associations or even themselves.
Each January an overall winner is selected from ten monthly winners. In previous years the winner has received $5000 and two runner-ups each get $2500. Winners from 2020 and 2021 will both be eligible for the next final.
SWRSC president Barry Watson said COVID-19 had been a trying period for the club’s sponsors and it was grateful for their ongoing support.
Any sports person that may not be reaching state level, but needs financial assistance for travel, can also apply for special funding from the club.
The club is hoping to this year celebrate its 30th birthday, which occurred last year during the pandemic.
Anyone wishing to nominate an athlete for a Don Deeble can email firstname.lastname@example.org or text 0408556631