NSW chase indoor double
THE world can wait.
A European tour and selection for a third World Cup beckon for Albion Park’s Emma McLeish.
But before packing her bags, McLeish has a national title to reclaim in her own backyard.
NSW were outgunned in a tense final last year, losing 5-3 to Queensland at Illawarra Hockey Centre.
But as the dominance of their male colleagues looks set to continue again at this year’s Australian Indoor Hockey Championships, McLeish said the women’s team is better prepared than ever.
“We’ve trained really well, I think we’re better placed this year than we were last year,” McLeish said.
“You never know exactly how the other teams are coming together, but we’re ready, so come and get us.”
Using their home advantage, NSW have had several training sessions before Christmas to find a competitive edge on the Unanderra surface.
With a similar squad to last year, McLeish, Claire Rieck and goalkeeper Elanor Woods make up the Illawarra contingent in sky blue. Illawarra dominate a star-studded and international men’s line-up, out to continue a decade of NSW dominance.
Rio Olympian Blake Govers, brother Kieran, who played for the Kookaburras in London and Flynn Ogilvie make up the cast of Australian elite talent.
It’s a family affair during the tournament, with Kurt Ogilvie the team captain and brother Heath are also included, as well as Scott Govers.
“They were a great team last year and this year look even better,” McLeish said.
“It’s pretty hard to see how to beat them really. I’ve played indoor with Kieran as a junior, so it’s not like they don’t have any experience in the different format either.
“Their success certainly motivates us to perform and win both competitions for NSW.”
After winning outdoor and indoor titles with Albion Park this season, McLeish will focus on her own international duties after the Australian indoor campaign.
McLeish is part of a squad to tour the world champion Netherlands, Belgium and Germany.
The 2018 World Cup squad will then be chosen in July.
“I’d love to go again,” she said.
“Hopefully I can play well here and over in Europe and make sure I’m selected.”
The Australian indoor men’s final will be played on Sunday at 2.45pm, after the women’s decider (1.30pm) and third-placed playoff (12.15pm).
- AUSTRALIAN INDOOR CHAMPIONSHIPS
Day one, Thursday
Illawarra Hockey Centre
10am: Victoria v ACT, 11am: NSW v Western Australia, 12pm: Tasmania v South Australia, 3pm: Victoria v Queensland, 4pm: ACT v WA, 5pm NSW v Tasmania, 7pm Queensland v SA. NSW squad: Emma McLeish, Elanor Woods, Claire Rieck, Rachel Divall, Amelia Leard, Caitlin Burns, Lisa Farrell, Erin Burns, Tamsin Bunt, Tegan Risk, Jemma-Mae Laverty, Makaaela Potts.
8am: Victoria v ACT, 9am: NSW v WA, 1pm: Victoria v Queensland, 2pm ACT v WA, 6pm: Queensland v NSW.
NSW squad: Kurt Ogilvie, Heath Ogilvie, Flynn Ogilvie, Kieran Govers, Scott Govers, Blake Govers, Simon Beaton, Jack Hayes, Craig Coulson, BJ Bruton, Nigel Croke, Alexander Mackay.