Success with selector
Taelar Samuel and Matt Symonds admit making their respective national under-18 hockey squads was the easy part – now the hard work really begins.
The duo are among just a handful of Wellington players to make the grade following the recent under18 national tournament. While Samuel’s young Wellington side came 10th, below their own expectations, Symonds’ team played out of their skin, narrowly losing to Auckland in the final.
Although he plays in the tough centre-half position, he says being part of a team that was performing well did his chances the world of good.
Earning New Zealand selection was not at the forefront of their minds, more of a reward after excellent seasons.
‘‘It’s not something I was really thinking about a lot, but I was pretty happy when I found out,’’ Symonds says. ‘‘They actually announced it on the [NZ Hockey] website, so I was getting texts about it before I even knew myself.’’
Both will go to a training camp in Christchurch in October, where numbers will be culled before a test series against Australia.
‘‘Making the New Zealand team was the easy part, now we have to work hard to keep our spots,’’ Samuel, one of three goalies selected, says. Neither can wait to take on the Aussies, pitting themselves against a country that regularly produces world champion hockey sides.
The former Plimmerton School pupils, now at Mana College ( Samuel) and Wellington College (Symonds), will spend the rest of winter playing club and school hockey, with a training regime in place to ensure they stay at the top of their games. Samuel is already a Wellington representative, while this is the next goal for Symonds.
Hockey reps: Matt Symonds and Taelar Samuel will likely don their country’s colours against Australia later this year, after both caught the selector’s eye during the nationals last month.