Three Players Return for Second Consecutive Trip Down Under
Saskatchewan players, Mason Williams (Moose Jaw, SK), Cashton Seaborg (Moose Jaw, SK), and Roman Marshall (Saskatoon, SK) competed in the 2023 IIJL Commonwealth Cup. Only 330 days after arriving back in Canada, they are headed back down under to Australia for the second consecutive year.
The three Saskatchewan natives will return to Melbourne, Australia with the Canadian Lacrosse League (CLL) Canada Development Team (CANDT) to compete at the 2024 IIJL Commonwealth Cup, February 17-20, 2024 in Altona, VIC.
Williams is "very excited to go back to Altona Lacrosse Club and play in their outdoor box facility". "Last year's trip was amazing." Williams added. "[It] was awesome being able to tour Melbourne and the surrounding beaches."
A trip across the globe is all about balance. "I'm gonna try to top my points from last year and see some kangaroos" said Seaborg when asked what he's looking forward to about this year's trip.
Marshall said that he's "looking forward to being back and playing lacrosse in another country. When you play internationally you feel wanted and it gives you a taste of what it must feel like to play in the NLL." Marshall added "people adore Canadians."
[PHOTO: Roman Marshall transitions the ball up the floor during the gold medal game at the 2023 IIJL World U18 Lacrosse Championship in Utica, NY.]
The IIJL Commonwealth Cup is a join venture between the CLL and Australian Box Lacrosse in an effort to aid the growth of box lacrosse in Australia. The CLL uses the event to work with younger players as part of the Canada Development Team (CANDT), identifying players for the IIJL World Junior, U18, and U16 Lacrosse Championships.
"Last year was my first junior season" the 2006 born Marshall explains. "Playing at a higher level in the Commonwealth Cup helped me prepare for my first year with the Saskatchewan SWAT significantly."
In Australia, CLL coaches identified Marshall as a hard nose defender, who needed to build confidence transitioning the ball up floor. Proving his 'coach-ability', Marshall was selected and played an intricate part in Canada's run at the 2023 IIJL World U18 Lacrosse Championship in Utica, NY finishing with a silver medal.
Williams (Transition) and Seaborg (Forward) are both 2006 born as well. The Moose Jaw duo played their first year of junior with the Regina Queen City Kings of the Rocky Mountain Junior B Lacrosse League (RMJBLL), and represented Saskatchewan at the 2023 Lacrosse Canada Founders Cup Junior B National Championship.
[PHOTO: Mason Williams surveying the floor in round-robin action against Perth. Williams was dominant in transition and was second on the team in scoring with 8 Goals and 6 Assists in 4 Games.]
Getting an early start on the season helped both players "Last year I really benefited from the trip and the coaching staff, they helped my lacrosse IQ - where to shoot, when to picks, and when to pass." Williams explained.
"Last year's trip gave me the confidence I needed going into my first year of junior, playing with guys who have done it at a higher level already." Seaborg echoing the importance of playing with experience players in a heightened environment.
While in Australia players spend more than 50 hours on the floor playing and coaching local Australian youth lacrosse players the intricacies of the box game.
"I think I’d like to move to Australia, play, work, and maybe do some coaching to help grow the sport of box lacrosse." Contemplated Marshall, already thinking about what's next.
[PHOTO: Cashton Seaborg ripping it from the outside on a power player. Seaborg led Canada in scoring at the 2023 IIJL Commonwealth Cup with 13 Goals and 6 Assists in 4 Games.]
"I’m looking forward to learning from this year's coaching staff and playing with a new group of guys." Said Williams. "Besides the lacrosse, Australia is the best place I’ve ever travelled, from the people to the super cool places we visited - there's nothing like it."
"The CLL is a great organization that provides lots of different opportunities for players - the overall experience last year was cool." Proclaimed Seaborg.
While the event was moved from March to February to accommodate provincial lacrosse associations, to no avail, the competition format remains the same.
The CLL, along with city/state teams from Adelaide (South Australia), Melbourne (Victoria), and Perth (Western Australia), will compete in a four-team round-robin over the first three days. On the fourth and final day, Australian Box Lacrosse will select the best players from the three city/state teams to compete as Australia against Canada for a one-game winner-take-all final.
Games will be streamed live for free on the Victoria Box Lacrosse Facebook Page. Fans are advised to use caution when navigating Facebook and clicking links as there has been a rise in spam accounts on the Meta social media platform.