Playing for VIC U19’s, by Clay Duke
After a less than ideal lead up to the Nationals, with limited training as a team and the sad resignation of Kat and Craig as coaches, everything did finally come together for the U19’s team in Bunbury. With Stuart McCallum jumping in as coach and Dave McFee joining him as assistant, we got back on track.
Everyone played well and we had a dream run the first day winning our first 2 games (NSW, TAS (B)), but we had yet to play TAS (A) and WA (A) teams. In the following days we defeating WA (B), but our skills were tested against TAS (A) and WA (A), being defeated by both these teams. We learnt from our experiences and were able to lessen the gap later in the competition when again we met these two teams.
Ending up third on the ladder we played NSW for the Bronze medal. The team was fired up and with the support of not only our coaches but some of the senior players, we defeated NSW 7-0 to secure the bronze medal.
Now all that was left was for the team to take their punishment (push-ups) which Dave had accumulated for us during the week. Push-ups were dealt out for being put in the ‘SIN BIN’ as well as NOT being put in the ‘SINBIN’, for being the smallest player or the youngest player or for being late for a meeting. Lachlan and I received one each for looking like each other and Deb (our chaperone) even received some for getting everyone to look for the keys while she was sitting on them. Everyone had a great laugh!
Playing for QLD U15’s – Lee Duke
After many emails going back and forward we met our team for the first time on the Sunday for training. Our team was made up of 4 WA players and 3 Victorians (Ben Robinson, Brad Peters and myself, Lee Duke) and 2 Queenslanders. The parents nicknamed us ‘THE MONGRELS’.
At the first training session our coach Luke had a look at us and decided what position we would play and we worked on some game strategy. It was a bit weird playing with kids we didn’t know and we hardly talked to each other that first day.
On the first day of competition we were beaten soundly by Tasmania and WA. I think the score with Tasmania was 9-1. When Luke wasn’t refereeing he hung out with us and the team started to get to know each other. By the second time we met Tasmania we were starting to work as a team and were beaten by only 2-3. We then beat WA (B). We were starting to get excited.
No one could believe it when we got to the Bronze medal game against Tasmania. At half time the score was 1-1. Tasmania was worried! Unfortunately, Tasmania got a run on and we were beaten 2-5 (I think). We had the Bronze but got soooooooooo close to the Silver.
We were the only QLD team to win a game at this Nationals and the first QLD U15 team to win a medal, ever!
I had an awesome time. My team were all great and our coach Luke was fun and enthusiastic. My first Nationals competition was awesome!
Another year, another nationals by Kaiah Jones
Another year, another nationals. Another few months spent chasing that black line up and down the pool. The pool lifeguards are on first name terms and your family start to forget yours. The long drives up to Warragul and Melbourne to play against other elite Victorian and Australian representatives and the somehow infinitely longer drive back. The phrase “hockey isn’t a sport, it’s a lifestyle” has been thrown around, but when you spend half your year training for one competition or another it makes an absurd amount of sense.
The 2016 nationals were held in Bunbury, Western Australia. So after stuffing in my bathers, towel, hockey kit and a few litres of sunscreen I was ready to head off. It was fairly hot over in WA, partially due to the scorching sun and some part due to the bushfires. Fortunately though, our accommodation was right next to the beach and 5 minutes from the pool, which made for an easier trip after some tiring games.
We had our ups and downs throughout the competition, however we played tremendously well as a team and improved together with every match. We came through to win two of our games against Queensland and drew against New South Wales, placing fourth overall in the competition.
Whilst the outcome may not have been the one we were chasing, I found myself learning more and more with every game. And with that, I’d like to throw a big thank you to the rest of the Women’s teams players: Suan Adorni, Lucero Perdomo Cruz, Stephanie Goodrick, Zoe Canavan, Belinda Watts-Keeley, Kirsten Reed, Amy Barry-Macaulay, Nina Barry-Macaulay, Felicity Blackwell, Camille White and last, but not least, our amazing coach Todd Canavan; for not only putting up with me forgetting the team basket almost every day, but for constantly supporting me throughout the course of the competition and welcoming me in as part of the family. You guys really are a great group of people and I can’t wait to try out for next year’s nationals.
Kev Chisholm’s reflections on the men’s team in 2016
It was a strange and different year at nationals this year. Callum had bravely left the closet and revealed himself to be a Tasmanian. Craig recognised that he was now the weakest link and quickly left the country. Todd was injured in a heroic keg stand attempt. Thorsten and Hamish celebrated their joint 56th birthdays by turning their focus towards the masters division of cheerleading. Dave BM hasn’t been sighted in years.
Coach Rees was understandably ecstatic. With these scratchings, he now had room under the salary cap to recruit a mighty ducks style bunch of rag tag misfits, who just might have the talent to pull off the impossible; if only they could get past their differences and work together as a team.
Of course they didn’t. Life isn’t Disney. We didn’t have a deaf guy. I haven’t even seen the mighty ducks.
But it was fun. Rees, AJ and Joel played a great comp in the back half. Dave proved again that not training is no barrier to smashing through a bunch of limp wristed hippies. Juan and Ramiro fulfilled their stereotypes as drug fuelled Columbians. Luke got smashed in the face and bled everywhere. Jayden ran out on his fines but other than that did a serviceable job as team bitch. Wolfy is the worst person I know.
And me? I actually had a great time and decided that THIS is the year when I will train really hard and really give it a shake. Really.
Big thanks to Rees for coaching, Zoe for managing and to Ramiro; we’ll miss you, mate!