Tamworth teen makes Australian U18 hockey side

ISAAC Farmilo will get to wear the green and gold sooner than he thought.

Already set to tour South Africa with the Australian Schoolboys in June, the talented Tamworth teen has been selected in the Australian men’s U18 team to play in the Youth Olympics qualifiers in Vanuatu next month.

The 16-year-old’s selection came after spending a week up in Brisbane at the Hockey Australia Men’s National Futures Camp.

Workies team-mate Sam Liles was also part of the camp but was ineligible for selection in the Australian team because of his age.

They were among 31 of the country’s brightest prospects between 16-18 involved in the camp,  in the middle of which they played the New Zealand U18 men’s team. 

The Aussies won both games.

Farmilo played the second game and scored a goal.

It’s his first year in the Futures program.

The week in Brisbane was the first camp for the 2014 intake and was pretty full-on.

“We had two two-hour sessions every day,” Farmilo said.

It was a good week, made all the better by being named in the nine-strong Aussie squad that will be looking to secure Australia a Youth Olympics berth.

To do that, they have to finish in the top two of the four- team round robin qualifying tournament being held in Port Vila from March 8-11.

“I was shocked when I found out about it and very excited and very hopeful,” Farmilo said.

It puts him in the frame to represent Australia in Nanjing, China in August.

The selectors will pick another squad from the 18s nationals, with the final squad being drawn from that.

If successful, it could be a busy couple of months for Farmilo, with the South African tour as well.

In Vanuatu the Aussies will meet Fiji, New Zealand and the hosts in what will be one of the first official international Hockey5s competitions.

Hockey5s is the official FIH modified version of the game and will be the format for the Youth Olympics.

As the name suggests, there are five players from each side on the field at a time including the goalkeeper.

“It’s pretty much indoor but with outdoor rules,” Farmilo said.

Like indoor, there are boards surrounding the pitch, which is reduced in size to half a full-sized pitch, the idea being to keep the ball in play longer.

“You pretty much have to play every position,” Farmilo said.

He got a taste of it  in Brisbane.

“Defensively it’s a lot harder.

“You’ve got to stick with your man pretty much the whole time,” he said.

Aside from the number of players on the field, one of the most notable differences is there is no shooting circle.

Instead there is an “attacking zone” 11 metres in front of each goal, although goals can be scored from anywhere on the pitch.

Penalty corners are also replaced by a challenge, which is a one-on-one contest between the attacker and goalkeeper within the 11m area.

Farmilo’s focus was back on the 11-man version on the weekend. He was  in Sydney trialling for the NSW U18s.

From the weekend, two sides will be selected to contest the nationals in Canberra in April.

Farmilo was one of several local players involved.

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