Big con­tin­gent for Thun­der­sticks

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - SPORT -

SEV­ERAL lo­cal play­ers have been an­nounced for the WA Thun­der­sticks team to com­pete in this year’s Aus­tralian Hockey League (AHL).

Wes­ley South Perth play­ers Kiel Brown, Bryn de Bes, Bran­don Gibbs, Trent Mit­ton, Dun­can Pearce, Daniel Rayney, James Richard­son and Cale Walsh are all part of the pre­lim­i­nary squad.

Vic­to­ria Park Xavier play­ers Ian Burcher, James Collins, Brodie Sarre and Sasha Thomas are also in the squad, along­side Old Aquini­ans play­ers Daniel Robert­son and Aran Zalewski.

As the coun­try’s pre­mier do­mes­tic hockey tour­na­ment, the AHL al­ways fea­tures a wide range of top class ath­letes – in­clud­ing play­ers from the Kook­abur­ras and the Hock­ey­roos – as each of the coun­try’s states and ter­ri­to­ries go head to head in search of glory.

Last year the Thun­der­sticks thrilled home crowds with some stun­ning per­for­mances and dra­matic wins, in­clud­ing a shootout vic­tory over NSW, be­fore fin­ish­ing run­ners-up to Vic­to­ria af­ter los­ing the gold medal match 53.

The Thun­der­sticks se­lec­tion panel, chaired by John Bestall and with the as­sis­tance of Mur­ray McIn­tyre, Paul Ar­mitage, Stephen Davies, Chris O’Reilly and Ja­son Butcher, has un­veiled the pre­lim­i­nary list of names it hopes will do WA proud again.

Bestall said he was im­pressed with the level of the play­ers he had seen.

“It’s a lit­tle bit of a tran­si­tion pe­riod. We’ve been up there but are hav­ing a tran­si­tion from an older group to hav­ing some younger play­ers com­ing through but we’re aim­ing to win,” he said.

The se­lec­tors have left out a num­ber of po­ten­tial squad mem­bers in the cur­rent WA un­der-21 team with a view to as­sess their per­for­mances at the up­com­ing Na­tional Cham­pi­onships. The fi­nal squad will be up­dated af­ter the con­clu­sion of the tour­na­ment.

The WA Thun­der­sticks squad in­cludes lo­cal hockey play­ers.

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