Packer finishes Nationals in style

by Clive Adams on October 27, 2023

Warwick, Sorrento and Joondalup can take a bow following the very successful running of the Nationals 2023 – the Showcase of Bowls that celebrates everything that is great about our sport.

A big congratulations and thank you to the huge number of volunteers involved in bringing the event together, and of course to all the players that put on a great show, we also say thank you.

Finally, to Tourism Western Australia, the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries including LotteryWest, and to the City of Joondalup thank you for your amazing support in bringing the Nationals 2023 to Western Australia.

Let’s take a look through everything that happened in a massive fortnight of bowls…from a WA viewpoint of course…


Jack East and Chris Ace-Watson took to the greens for the first event of the Nationals, and with the Champions of Champions being a full round robin event, it is a marathon not a sprint.

East started slowly, trailing 13-3 in his first match against Queenslander Glen Pitts, but turned it around to charge back narrowly going down 21-20 to open the tournament. A narrow loss to the near unbeatable Lee Schraner (NSW) was East’s only other blemish for the series, claiming a very well deserved SILVER medal.

Ace-Watson burst out of the blocks with two solid wins over Queensland’s Julia Brownie and NT’s Elisa Rigoni, however losses to the three key movers in the event, Sam Ferguson (NSW), Cassandra Millerick (VIC) and eventual champion Laini McGorman (SA) ended Ace-Watson’s run for a medal.


WA’s biggest under 18 team for many years did battle at Sorrento, with our five boys and three girls joined by two ACT representatives to form a full girls team.

Our boys team of Callum Alberti, Cam Wellington, Zac Parker, Dante Burnham and Jarrod Steele did us proud, as did Charlotte Byfield, Drew Gunson and Sophie Hays, joined by Telara Edwards and Abbey Boardman.

Callum’s effort in winning his three sectional matches and then pushing Queensland’s Riley Gerick all the way in an enthralling final shows the experience he has gained from another year in the sport. Alberti will have another big year under his belt next year and is sure to be one of the favourites for the title.

Other highlights included bronze medal playoffs for our combined WA/ACT girls fours team of Edwards, Gunson, Boardman and Hays, as well as the all-WA triples team of Byfield, Gunson and Hays. While neither came away with the medal, it was a wonderful effort for the team to feature in the medal rounds, and augurs well for future events.

Check out all the Under-18s results here:

Boys: Singles | Pairs | Triples | Fours
Girls: Singles | Pairs | Triples | Fours

A big thank you to Under-18’s Coach Kelli Wray and Assistant Coach Anthony Burnham. A fantastic job done by both of them leading this wonderful group of young people.


Eddie Gollan’s performance to narrowly miss a medal in the Men’s B7/8 Singles event was a highlight, even if unrewarded with a medal. Gollan pushed Commonwealth Games Gold Medalist Josh Thornton all the way in the semi-final eventually going down 21-19 in a high quality match.

There were plenty of notable performances from the entire team with many combinations and individuals only missing medal round matches by margin countbacks.

Warwick, as host, can be very proud of its volunteers and members, for putting on a wonderful show for the Para-Nationals with plenty of praise heaped on the club both during and after the event.

Check out all the Para-Nationals results here:

Men’s Events: Singles B5/6 | Singles B7/8 | 14pt Pairs | Open Pairs
Women’s Events: Singles | Pairs


The Women’s Senior Side flew out of the blocks, recording three big wins in the first three matches of the tournament, however three losses from the final four matches put a dent in WA’s final finishing position. The team’s rink wins show they were very much in the mix for a top three finish, however 4 wins just wasn’t enough to get there.

Best performing rink for WA was Noelene Abe, who with Irene Leahy, Jill Adam and Lee Poletti claimed 5 wins from their 7 matches to finish 6th on the event rink table.

The Men’s Side was quite the opposite – a slow start with losses to South Australia and Tasmania on day one, but then solid performances against Queensland (for a draw) and New South Wales (a last bowl victory) saw the team finish 4th on the final standings.

In an even performance across the rinks, WA’s best performed quartet was John Goddard, with Gary Caffell, Kevin Pickering and Steve Cerff who collect 4 wins with an 18 shot margin across the tournament.

Women’s Senior Sides Series – Results Summary
Men’s Senior Sides Series – Results Summary


A fine display at Sorrento saw our Men’s Open Side achieve it’s best results for many years, with a third place finish, and 5 wins from 7 outings. Losses to New South Wales and Queensland the only sides to finish above WA precluded a higher finish, but the performances across the board were very impressive. Cody Packer’s 100th game, with many more to come, was another highlight.

Blake Nairn’s crew of Clive Adams, Bill Brandsma and Scott Walker were WA’s best rink with 4 wins and a very healthy 62 shot margin.

The Women’s side was a case of so close, but so far with two narrow losses to Victoria and Queensland curtailing what was a great display by our side. A one shot loss to Victoria and then a three shot loss to the Maroons were the difference between a gold medal finish and 4th on the table.

A highlight for WA came in the first round with a big 67-55 over the powerful New South Wales team – particularly special as it was Lisa Featherby’s 100th game for WA.

Kristina Krstic’s rink of Chris Ace-Watson, Lisa Brannan and Lisa Smith won 6 matches from the 7 outings to finish second on the overall rink tally, and WA’s best.

Women’s Open Sides Series – Results Summary
Men’s Open Sides Series – Results Summary


Cody Packer’s victory in the Australian Championships Singles event was an amazing way to finish a wonderful fortnight of bowls here in WA. Packer didn’t have it all his own way throughout the event, having to survive a thriller against NSW’s Jack Lewis just to make the final. With everything on the line, the game went down to the final bowls, with Packer getting a conversion with his third bowl of the final end, and that being enough for a 25-24 victory.

That setup an enthralling encounter with former WA representative Trystan Smallacombe, now of NT fame. Another quality affair, with all the shots on display saw Packer home 25-19, scoring 7 shots in the final four ends of the match.

The Women’s Fours combination of Laura Butler, Therese Hastings, Kaitlin Tyrrell and Lisa Smith narrowly missed playing for a gold medal, but made amends in fine style getting off to quick start in the bronze medal match and despite a comeback from Queensland, it was our WA crew that took the bronze.

Other teams to play off for bronze were the Men’s pairs combination of Warren Holt and Mark Wunnenberg, and also the Men’s Fours team of Bruce Eagles, Murray Hulbert, Peter Flack and Peter Morgan. Despite neither of them tasting success, making the medal rounds of an Australian Championships is still a fine effort.

Check out all the Australian Championships results here:

Mens Events: Singles | Pairs | Triples | Fours
Womens Events: Singles | Pairs | Triples | Fours
Mixed Events: Pairs