Ehren Hazell’s feet had barely touched the ground after his golden Sultan of Johor Cup campaign and he was strapping on the shin pads again.
The talented teen was on Tuesday training with his Tamworth under 18s side ahead of their State Indoor Championship tilt in late November.
He and long time Workies and Tamworth team-mate Isaac Farmilo had only arrived back in Tamworth on Monday, after helping the Australian U21s defeat Great Britain 2-nil in final to defend their title.
The Brits had upset them during the round games, but Hazell and Farmilo never really doubted they could bring home the gold.
“From the start I didn’t really feel worried, we had control of the game the whole time,” Hazell said.
“We changed things up for the final. In the round game we didn’t go at them, we fell away in our press. In the final we went right up to the ball and pressed them really hard and put them under a lot of pressure.”
That yielded a lot of turnovers.
It was his first time overseas and “a real eye opener”.
The atmosphere for one was electric.
“Every team got allocated a school to cheer us on and they all had drums. You could hardly hear each other talking,” he said.
One of the biggest challenges was coping with the humidity but the week they had over there before the tournament helped them acclimitise. That’s not to say conditions weren’t tough and it was common to lose one or two kilograms a game.
It was something Farmilo had experienced when he played for the Australian men’s under 18 team in Vanuatu back in 2014.
No stranger to wearing the green and gold, the tournament has only strengthened his drive to pursue his hockey dreams.
“I’m definitely looking forward to the next time I get to wear it. Hopefully it’s not too long. I’ve still got one more year in the side,” he said.
He said the whole thing was amazing.
“Most of the games they were close but we felt pretty comfortable and capable most of the time,” he said.
Playing up front he and Hazell had some good interplay through the tournament, although both probably didn’t play as well as they would have liked.
Farmilo was not that happy personally with how he performed, despite managing to bag four goals in their opening win over the USA.
“The first half of that game was probably one of the worst shooting performances I’ve had,” he said.
It was a ruthless attacking display from the Burras, but the radar wasn’t quite there.
The relief of scoring that first goal gave him a bit more freedom and it became a bit easier after that.
He and Hazell will have the chance to reacquaint themselves with their Burras team-mates in December when the National Junior Squad meet in Canberra for a five day training camp at the Australian Institute of Sport.
Hazell will then in January represent NSW at the under 21 national indoor championships.
The side was named while he was in Malaysia, Hazell earning an exemption not to play in the state championships due to his Burras commitments.