Melissa set to shine bright for Di­a­monds

Southern Telegraph - - Sport - Ai­den Boy­ham

Bal­divis’ Melissa Luff has been se­lected in the WA Di­a­monds squad for the 2017 Aus­tralian Hockey League, with the com­pe­ti­tion to take place in Perth through­out Septem­ber and Oc­to­ber.

Luff will join 27 oth­ers from WA for the coun­try’s pre­mier hockey tour­na­ment, which fea­tures a wide range of top-tier ath­letes in­clud­ing play­ers from the Hock­ey­roos and the Kook­abur­ras.

Each State and Ter­ri­tory will face off dur­ing the AHL, with the WA Di­a­monds look­ing to im­prove on their per­for­mance in 2016.

Last year’s per­for­mances pro­duced a mixed bag of re­sults, with Luff scor­ing a last-minute win­ner against Tas­ma­nia in a thrilling game as well as a stun­ning vic­tory over even­tual cham­pi­ons Queens­land. How­ever, these wins were tem­pered by in­dif­fer­ent re­sults against lower-ranked teams.

The WA Di­a­monds se­lec­tion panel, which was chaired by coach Colin Bran­dis with help from Troy Kelly, Jeremy Davy, Scott Good­heart and Tris­tram Wood­house, hope the new squad will put the Di­a­monds back at the sum­mit of Aus­tralian hockey.

“We have been very con­scious of the level of player needed to win the cham­pi­onship while also con­sid­er­ing the po­ten­tial of oth­ers for the fu­ture,” Mr Bran­dis said.

“It’s been a lit­tle while since we’ve been up there com­pet­ing for gold but with a ma­ture group and some tal­ented younger play­ers com­ing through we’re aim­ing to win.

“The se­lec­tors bring a wealth of knowl­edge and ex­pe­ri­ence at AHL level and know what is needed to be suc­cess­ful.”

Pic­ture: Hockey WA

Bal­divis' Melissa Luff (cen­tre left), is flanked by Kathryn Slat­tery, Roos Broek, and Jemma Buck­ley af­ter scor­ing a last-minute win­ner against Tas­ma­nia in 2016.

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