Henare rules out trans-Tasman wool handling test

World Champion Joel Henare throws a fleece during the 2018 Golden Shears open wool handling. Image – Golden Shears.

TOP New Zealand’s top wool handler Joel Henare ruled himself out of competition in the trans-Tasman test at the Australian Wool Shearing and Handling Championships in Bendigo, Victoria on October 21-22.

The winner and runner-up from 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 was unavailable for the 2022-23 series and intended to take a step back from a usually busy schedule, which included a record of the series of 14 trans-Tasman wool handling tests since his first in Hay, New South Wales, in 2008 – at the age of 15.

He also won 113 individual open titles, including two world championships, which went with two world team championship titles.

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

Henare will be present at the two-day Merino Shears Shearing and Woolhandling Championships which open the 2022-2023 New Zealand Shearing Sports season in Alexandra from September 30 to October 1. Waimate Spring Shears in South Canterbury a week later.

Henare then intends to return to Gisborne to help with the season-opening North Island event, his home Poverty Bay A and P Shears on October 15. But he rules out most of the rest of the competitive season, which includes being unlikely to contest an eight-show run 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 shearers, two wool handlers and two blade shearers for separate trans-Tasman testing at the Australian Shearing and Wool Handling Championships in Bendigo on October 21 and 22.

It will be the first tests since New Zealand’s home game at Masterton’s Golden Shears in March 2022, just three weeks before the first pandemic lockdown and a virtual shutdown of international travel.

Those already confirmed to the squad are Southland machine shearers Leon Samuels and Nathan Stratford, winners of the PGG Wrightson Vetmed National Shearing Tour in 2021 and 2022 respectively.

The third machine shearer will be the other top scoring New Zealand shearer in the Merino Shears Open shearing championship, and the blade shearers will be the 2019 world champion duo of Allan Oldfield, Geraldine, and Tony Dobbs, of Fairlie.

The crew chief and shearing judge is Greg Stuart of Alexandra and Gail Haitana of the Bulls travels as the wool handling judge.

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