Our Blues chase title defence

HOCKEY

ABIGAIL Doolan and Em Chaffey will be looking to make it a hat-trick of national titles for the year when they join fellow young Tamworth hockey tyros Alice Arnott and Jack Cruickshank at next week’s National U16 All Schools in Adelaide.

Tamworth's (L-R) Em Chaffey, Jack Cruickshank, Abigail Doolan and Alice Arnott are off to Adelaide to play for NSW in the All Schools Nationals. Photo: Gareth Gardner 010814GGE01

Tamworth's (L-R) Em Chaffey, Jack Cruickshank, Abigail Doolan and Alice Arnott are off to Adelaide to play for NSW in the All Schools Nationals. Photo: Gareth Gardner 010814GGE01

Doolan, Chaffey and Arnott will play for the NSW girls while Cruickshank will line up for the boys.

Both sides will be defending their titles after doing the double in Tasmania last year.

Arnott was selected in the Australian side to tour South Africa last month.

That is again on her radar.

“They’re picking an Australian team to go to Italy, France and Germany next year,” she said.

First though she’s got a gold medal to help NSW win.

They were pretty dominant last year and have several of that side backing up.

That’s been complemented by a number of the U15s side that won gold at the age nationals this year.

Doolan and Chaffey were both in that side.

Earlier in the year, they were also playing for the U15s indoor side that took out the nationals.

“I think we’ll have a good shot at winning,” Doolan said.

It’ll be her first time playing at the All Schools nationals but she knows what it’s all about.

“I went down the two years that (brother) Antony played,” she said.

“It was really good. It was always one of my goals to make the team and I’m looking forward to the 

tournament.”

Chaffey said it was a goal for her too.

She’ll play as a defensive midfielder and Doolan as an attacking midfielder or striker.

Arnott will also figure up front.

She expects Queensland to be their toughest opponents.

“They are always quite tough,” she said.

“Western Australia are also normally quite hard.”

Like Doolan and Chaffey, it will be Cruickshank’s All Schools debut.

He got the call-up to the side last week after being named as a shadow and is looking forward to the week.

It’s the first NSW side he has gone away with this year but he has been a regular in blue.

He wasn’t quite sure where he’ll fit in position-wise.

“I think I could be a bit of a utility,” he said.

At the trials he played in pretty much every position.

His preference is defensive midfielder.

They are flying down today with the tournament getting under way on Monday.

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