OFTEN playing two years above his age, Tamworth’s Sterling George was recognised for his outstanding goalkeeping efforts at this year’s New England Hockey annual presentation night in Armidale last month.
School holidays meant George, a boarder at The Armidale School, was not able to attend the official presentation, but his term got off to a great start when the Arthur Adams Junior award for best junior (11-16s) boy or girl goalkeeper was presented to him at school this week.
Introduced to hockey in Tamworth three years ago, the Year 7 student has always enjoyed goalkeeper and this year scored a berth with the NSW under 13s side as number two goalie, securing a game for his state team in the national titles against Queensland, winning that game 3-2.
In addition to playing for his school team for both the 13s and 15s, he also played for the Tamworth under 13s rep team.
“It’s a really great sport – it’s a very fast game and you just don’t want to give up,” he said.
George’s schoolmate Sam Wright was awarded under 13s player of the year, and the pair, along with Sam Behrend and Liam Matherson, also from TAS, make up half of the Hunter New England under 13s Indoor Hockey rep team.
The growth of hockey at TAS was also recognised, with MIC Alex Portell awarded the competition’s Di Watson Memorial Award for the person who best exemplies the values and ideals of the sport.
During Portell’s time at TAS, the number of hockey teams has nearly tripled from three junior teams (originally mixed with PLC and NEGS) in 2008, to eight full teams from under 9s to Men’s A grade sides in the Hockey New England competition.
The TAS Hockey Club was also formed to facilitate player mentoring and coaching by staff, parents, Old Boys and other community members.
“This has definitely been well received in the Hockey New England community for expanding the depth of the local competition as well as helping to increase the profile of the sport within the TAS community,” he said.