MORE than 50 bowlers from the Border and wider region were put to the test by Australian bowls icon Karen Murphy, from Shoalhaven Heads, on Tuesday.
The world champion and Commonwealth Games gold medallist took to the green at North Albury Bowling Club to run coaching clinics.
Murphy, who hails from Kiama and plays at Cabramatta, doesn't get many opportunities to visit the country, but was delighted to be on the Border.
Head of Riverina District Women's Bowling Association's match committee, Sue Thurley, crossed paths with Murphy at last year's state pennant finals on the Central Coast and got her on board.
"We got chatting and I mentioned I do coaching clinics and things like that," Murphy said.
"I'm quite time-poor and my schedule is very busy, but I had this week to come down.
"I'm doing two days in Albury and then Leeton, West Wyalong and Lake Cargelligo as well.
"It's a big trip, but I brought the winter woolies so it's all good (laughs)."
Murphy said her clinics are focused more around team training.
"We work on team culture and good, positive behaviours within teams. I do a presentation on the mental side of the game, which is really important I think," she said.
"Then we do an hour training outside to teach people how to train properly, productively and competitively, more importantly.
"I love getting out to the country and meeting new people and reconnecting with different people as well.
"It's also good for country people that probably don't get much of an opportunity with someone of my experience to come out and pass on some knowledge."
Murphy's 20-plus years at the highest level of the sport is littered with highlights, but back-to-back world singles titles in 2012 and 2016 and Commonwealth Games pairs gold with Lynsey Clarke in 2006 are her standouts.
She's also had plenty of success in the Bowls Premier League - a new, fast-paced format, including a 30-second shot clock for players.
Murphy is a two-time winner of the event with the Sydney Lions.
Related content:Wide Ward of Sports: Karen Murphy (Lawn Bowls)
"I think the game needed it. Every sport is heading into shortened formats of the game, people are time-poor," she said.
"BPL has been a bit of a revolution and Bowls Australia leads that really well.
"Short, sharp formats of the game are exciting, the UBC (Ultimate Bowls Championship) has come on board this year as well.
"You need to implement formats to keep your sport moving forward."
Murphy has a busy schedule ahead with the Australian Open on the Gold Coast in June and a trip to the UK to begin preparations for the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games in July.
"I don't complain, bowls has been fantastic to me over the years. It has given me a great lifestyle and career and I owe it a lot," she added.