Region's hockey juniors hit national stage

THE region’s hockey players aren’t just excelling in the field game.

Ten Tamworth and New England players will be representing NSW at national indoor tournaments over the next couple of weeks.

The U15s Championships kick things off.

They’re being played in Brisbane from January tomorrow to Wednesday, and will involve Tamworth’s Ehren Hazell, Abigail Doolan and Emily Chaffey.

All three are stepping up from the U14s last year.

The U18s will follow from January 17-20, also in Brisbane.

Tamworth’s Josh Worpel and Armidale’s Katrina Rekunow will feature in those. 

While Worpel will be playing for NSW, Rekunow has been recruited by Tasmania.

“I was called up by them,” Rekunow said.

“I was a shadow for the NSW team and Tasmania was looking for players.”

It will be her first experience of a nationals – either an indoor or field.

“I’m pretty excited,” she said.

“The experience should be good.” 

She’s been in preparation travelling down to Tamworth one or two days a week to train with the representative training squad Richard Willis and Greg Doolan look after.

“I’ve been to most trainings. Mainly the Tuesdays but I’ve made a fair few Thursdays,” Rekunow said.

“I’m trying to prepare myself and make sure I’m pretty fit.”

She’s also eyeing off a state U18s field berth.

The final squad – Rekunow is in the extended squad – will be announced after trials next month.

“They’ll pick two teams from there,” she said.

She is hoping to make one of them.

She has been playing indoor hockey since she was about 12.

“They’re two different games (indoor and field) but both good.” 

“I enjoy both of them,” she said.

Indoor does see her change roles a bit. More of a midfielder in the field version, she plays more of a striker in indoor.

Tasmania will be looking to improve on last year’s result.

It finished bottom.

“Hopefully we can go a bit better,” she said.

“And if I play my best, NSW might hopefully pick me up next year.”

The attention will then turn to Canberra for the invitational U14s championships.

The region will have a particularly strong representation in the girls.

Tamworth and New England players make up a quarter of the side, with Tamworth’s Tayla King and Kate Reynolds and Mia Emmanuel and Sarah Askey to wear blue while Hamish McAdam will play for the boys.

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