Selection a ‘great’ problem for NIAS

NIAS boys hockey might struggle to field a team next April at the Academy Games, although manager Ian Woodley said it was a nice problem to have.

The Academy Games are set to be held in Wollongong and Illawarra in the middle of April next year, although that is the same time as the National Championships.

Both the U15s and U18s National Championships are on at the same time in April, and that may leave NIAS short of players.

Very short, based on the high calibre of player the region is currently producing.

“We won’t know for sure exactly how many players will not be available because the NSW trials are in February,” Woodley said.

“There is at least seven boys trailing for the under 18s side for starters.”

The NSW U15s trials have an open invitation to a development camp in February.

“We have five boys eligible for that camp,” Woodley said.

“We have so much talent and depth in the area at the moment that it wouldn’t surprise me at all if several boys made both teams.

That depth is reflected throughout the state.

NSW will be selecting and taking two sides to the National Championships this year, increasing the chances that NIAS will lose more players.

“It is a great problem to have,” Woodley said.

“Obviously we would like a strong NIAS team in the games but we would rather have them all playing state.”

NIAS will still field a team in the games regardless of how many are called up on rep duties.

“For the sake of the players that aren’t eligible or don’t make the sides we will send a team,” Woodley said.

“With the depth of the area they will be very competitive as well.”

“We may have to call extra players up into the NIAS squad and that is something we need to look into.”

NIAS will not be the only Academy with this same issue and there is a chance that the hockey section of the games can be postponed or brought forward.

“Either way we have to look at it as a positive if we are missing players because of state representative duties,” Woodley said.

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