Townsville’s six of best in hockey fest

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT -

SIX Townsville hockey tal­ents will be look­ing to make the most of their home­town ad­van­tage with Queens­land Coun­try when the city hosts the Aus­tralian Coun­try Hockey Cham­pi­onships from to­day.

New South Wales are the reign­ing cham­pi­ons in both the men’s and women’s di­vi­sions, with teams from Vic­to­ria, South Aus­tralia, Western Aus­tralia, and the Aus­tralian De­fence Force also chal­leng­ing for this year’s crown.

The Queens­land women lost to NSW 2- 1 in the gold medal game last year and Natar­lia Smith will be back on deck along­side fel­low Townsville prod­uct Car­lie Pearce.

The women’s team is coached by Townsville’s re­gional coach­ing direc­tor Mark Pike and in­cludes for­mer Aus­tralian Hock­ey­roos striker Kandice Olivieri.

Townsville’s Grant Dil­ger is vice- cap­tain of the Queens­land men’s team along­side home­town tal­ents Cody Rin­tala, Liam McKay, and Lach­lan Matschoss.

Queens­land lost their bronze medal play­off with Western Aus­tralia 1- 0 last year, but they have a new look side and are hope­ful of fea­tur­ing in the gold medal game.

Play gets un­der way to­day at Parks Hockey Club in the Mur­ray Sport­ing Com­plex and will run through­out the week be­fore the fi­nals next Satur­day.

Queens­land open their cam­paigns against arch ri­vals New South Wales this evening, with the men in ac­tion at 5.30pm fol­lowed by the women at 7pm.

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