Aussie Blades hope is a machine gun as well

Australian World shearing and woolhandling championships blade shearing gun Johnathan Dalla (pictured) has been so busy on the farm at home he's barely had the chance to shear the sheep he would have liked to have going into the big event in Invercargill.

At 28, eight times Australian blade shearing champion and already in his fourth World championships, the farmer from York Peninsula in South Australia arrived in New Zealand only on Monday, having had to cope with a wheat, barley and oats harvesting season a month behind time at home.

He machine shore some young rams last Wednesday, ostensibly the last preparation for the championships in which he is competing in two warm-up events, the Southland All Nations machine shearing and blade shearing championships.

As he prepared his gear for the All Nations mean shearing heats today, he said he's shorn a few with the blades "just before" left on the week-long trip across the Tasman, but added: "That was the first for about five months."

Dalla, eight-times Australian blade shearing champion, with the last six in a row, has shorn in three World Championships blade shearing finals, finishing sixth in the teams final at his first championships in Norway in 2008, sixth in the individual event in Wales in 2010, and third with current teammate and southwestern Victoria shearer Ken French in the teams event in Ireland three years ago.

Clearly the goal in 2017 is to make another final, but Dalla wasn't looking too far into the future, focusing most on the first of two rounds in the World Championships blade shearing heats tomorrow. "One step at a time," he said.

Both he and French have however made it through to the All Nations blade shearing semi-finals being shorn today, but among those who missed the cut was ultimate enthusiast Richie Foster who has been driving a resurgence of blade shearing competition in Australia.


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