ARMIDALE’S James Abbo will join the throng of North West hockey players on state representative duties this weekend.
While junior and masters nationals are in full swing across six different states, Abbo and his NSW Over 40s team-mates commence their campaign in Tasmania today.
He’ll join Tamworth’s Andrew Davy and Doug Truman down in Hobart after their sides both started their championships this week.
Davy is with the 45s and Truman the Over 65s.
The 40s start a bit later, with only five teams in the competition.
It will be Abbo’s second time at the nationals.
He played in Canberra last year but with Tasmania.
“I was going to nominate (for NSW) last year,” he said.
“I was going to nominate at the tournament but you had to have nominations in the week before.”
But he didn’t miss out, with Tasmania picking him up.
“It should be great fun,” he said.
“It was fantastic last year, another step up. It was a high standard across the field.”
His Tasmanian side came fifth.
The expectations will be a bit higher this year, with NSW taking out the title last year.
Abbo is one of four new faces in that side and was selected after impressing for New England in B Division of the 40s competition at the NSW Men’s State Championships held back in June.
He’ll play in the midfield somewhere.
It’ll be his first time playing for any NSW team.
“I expect it to be tough,” he said.
Western Australia and Queensland loom as their biggest threats but Abbo expects the Tasmanians to be pretty strong being at home.
Davy and his Over 45s made a good start to their campaign opening with a 4-1 win over Victoria.
He’s stepping up from the 40s last year and is one of a handful of players from the Australian 45s side aligned with NSW.
“Last year (NSW) got beaten in extra-time by Queensland in the final after being undefeated,” Davy said. “They’re hoping to go one better.”
But while they continue next week, the U13 and U15 boys and girls’ nationals, and women’s masters conclude today.
Tamworth’s Namoi Spark and Kate Perrett, and Armidale’s Megan Davis, Carolyn Beresford, Cyndy Slade, Annabelle Cheery, Angie Dean, Ann Martin and Kaylene Osborne are all involved in the women’s masters championships in Melbourne.
Tamworth’s Andrew Finch, Isaac Farmilo and Antony Doolan are in Adelaide at the 15s boys’ nationals and, with a game to play against ACT today, are in the gold medal position.
Brittany King and Alice Arnott are assured of the 15s girls’ title in Canberra after a 7-1 win yesterday.
They are uncatchable with only ACT to come, with six wins from their six games.
In Nowra, Ehren Hazell and Brady Curry and their U13 boys are also on top.
The U13 girls’ side containing Abigail Doolan, Emily Chaffey and Gabbi D’Ambros over in Perth is the only side not in title contention.