FOUR Wonthaggi Underwater Hockey Club players were recently selected to represent Australia in the Under 19 men’s and Under 19 women’s divisions.
The players, Clay Duke, Ben Robinson, Caterina Alleway and Kasey Hoskins will now wear the green and gold of Australia when they compete in the Trans-Tasman Competition against New Zealand at Rotorua in October.
Players were put through their paces over three days of intensive training at the try-outs in Perth, covering strength and conditioning, skills, drills and games against elite Australian players.
“It was a great training camp,” Ben Robinson said.
“This is my first national team selection and I’m excited to play against the Kiwis.
“They play a different style of hockey to Australia, so it will be interesting to see how we go.”
This is Caterina Alleway’s second national team selection. She represented Australia in the 2017 World Age Group Underwater Hockey Championship in Hobart.
Caterina was Australia’s leading scorer and usually plays as a forward, however in New Zealand she will be playing as a defender or back.
“I’m really looking forward to playing the Trans-Tasman. It’s a relatively young team we are taking across and I look forward to sharing my experience and mentor some of the younger players.
“I have a new role to play in the team as a defender and I am loving the challenge,” Cat said.
For many players the Trans-Tasman competition is a great opportunity to play International Hockey in the lead up to next year’s Junior World Titles in Sheffield, England.
Clay Duke has been training hard for the selections and is keen to continue this level of preparedness – looking ahead to the World Titles mid next year.
“The selection camp was a fantastic opportunity to compete alongside interstate players that are usually my opponents.
“The coaches were great and we were tested by Australian elite players. We all improved, learnt a lot and look forward to putting it into action across the ditch,” Clay said.
The youngest of the Australian women’s team, 14-year-old Kasey Hoskins, is excited to have been selected to wear the green and gold.
“I really can’t believe it,” Kasey said about her selection.
“I have been playing for about two years at Wonthaggi – we won gold with the Victorian Under 15 team earlier this year but this is another step up again.
“Many of the players on the Australian team are players that I have looked up to and now they are my team mates – it’s awesome!”