Grafton books hockey Test match
By TONY WHITE
FOLLOWING the success of the weekend's Australian Hockey League (AHL) games in Grafton, the Grafton Hockey Association (GHA) intends to lobby strongly to stage a Test match between the Kookaburras and a visiting overseas team.
"We're hopeful of going one better and staging a Test match between Australia and an international team," GHA president Bruce Carle said.
"We'll do an assessment over the next month then write to the relevant authorities."
Carle intends to approach Hockey NSW and Hockey Australia officials to stage a Test match and he has received great support from Kookaburras captain Brent Livermore and Australian coach, Barry Dancer.
Dancer was in discussion with several Australian men and women players in Grafton over the weekend and Carle said by all reports the national coach was very impressed with the set-up.
And the fact over 1500 people attended the weekend's hockey extravaganza, augurs well for future national and international games.
"We had people from everywhere," Carle said.
"There were plenty of Queenslanders who came down from Brisbane, Ipswich and other areas and apart from locals we had people from Taree, Ballina, Inverell, Coffs Harbour and other towns.
"It shows putting on high-standard games of hockey will attract people to Grafton."
Livermore said support for hockey in country areas, particularly Grafton, had grown enormously.
"Grafton has a top-class facility and hockey in country areas is growing and growing," he said.
"Staging a Test match in Grafton is a perfect way to further lift the country profile and I've got no doubt it could become a reality. The area has already been given a vote of confidence with the AHL allowing matches to be staged in Grafton."