Written by Kade Matthews
This Friday, Josh Gosse lines up for his first tournament with Melbourne’s inclusive wrestling team the Melbourne Wranglers. As he prepares to hit the mat competitively against fellow team mate Chris Gooden, he sat down with the Star Observer and reflected on his wrestling journey so far.
After playing rugby for a number of years in NZ, Josh arrived in Australia in August 2017 and promptly found Melbourne’s very own Melbourne Chargers to continue his love of the sport. As the following offseason hit in 2018, he needed a new challenge to keep him fit and competitive. Searching for a sport that would require a new skill set but also compliment his rugby skills, Josh found the Melbourne Wranglers.
“After the rugby season ended, I wanted to try something new and fresh – but also something that could compliment my tackling as well. Melbourne Wranglers seemed like a good fit,” Josh told us.
In Melbourne’s home of fully inclusive freestyle wrestling he felt welcomed with open arms and appreciated the diversity of the club. Different genders, sexualities, ethnicities and sizes were all visible and brought together with their passion for wrestling.
Everyone had strengths – while Josh cast an imposing shadow with his 6’4” frame he simply didn’t have the speed or flexibility to counter much smaller, nimble opponents. To hone his skills, Josh welcomed the extra time senior members and coaches would put in to development – not only towards building the community but with focus spent on his skills, enabling him to feel confident in technique in a safe environment.
“A lot of what I have been learning is really starting to come together now, I’m starting to feel a flow in my wrestling abilities. What the coaches have taught over the last year is making sense.”
Spring Friday night training. Photo: Melbourne Wranglers Facebook page.
Under the guidance of the Wrangler’s team and the commitment Josh had put in to developing his technique, and this Friday competes in the teams annual Wranglers Challenge instead of their weekly training. The tournament sees players go head to head in a social yet serious bout regardless of skill level. Allowing everyone to put our wrestling skills into practice, giving them an insight to wrestling competition and rules.
The Wranglers challenge will be Josh’s first chance to put that time, effort and support to the test and hopefully, come out with a win. His personal goals is to just to make it through to the end of the competition and continue the cycle of learning and practicing to become a better wrestler. With that knowledge – he hopes to compete in a tournament against Sydney just before Mardi Gras next year.
Want to know more about inclusive wrestling? You can check out the Melbourne Wranglers at training every Friday or find out more details via their website.