Back where it all began

AUSTRALIAN hockey star Brent Livermore has played almost 300 games for his country, but he has never forgotten where his career began.

That's why the former Kookaburras captain is always willing to help grow the sport in his home town of Grafton. This weekend Livermore, who broke back into the Australian team late last year, will return to Grafton to hold a free 'come and play' session for beginner players at the Grafton District Men's Hockey Association junior sign-on, before running an advanced skills session on Sunday.

It is a golden period in Clarence Valley hockey - Grafton alone boasts five Australian Hockey League players and two internationals - and Livermore, 32, is determined to help ensure it continues well into the future.

“Hockey was quite small when I was playing ... but it opened the door and now there is a lot of talent in Grafton,” Livermore said.

“Before there was lucky to be a handful of very strong players. If we don't do these types of clinics it could flatten out and I don't want that to happen.”

Livermore said the advance session was not just for local junior players, but would also help coaches and parents guide talented youngsters to the next stage of their careers.

“It is hard to teach everything in a two-hour block ... hopefully the parents and coaches can pick up some of the skills and help re-enforce it with the kids,” he said.

“It will really help the game come along in Grafton.”

Grafton Hockey Association president Bruce Carle said he also hoped to see parents and coaches lending a hand on Sunday.

“The coaches help the kids and Brent helps the coaches ... shows them what to do,” he said.

“Plus the parents will help with words of encouragement to the kids.”

Carle said it was a boon for the Clarence Valley to have such a famous identity ready and willing to help the next generation of hockey stars.

“He is forever passing on information ... and helping us tap into the talent pool,” he said.

“It's a bonus when he comes back and we have to take advantage of his help.”

Livermore has wanted to come back and assist the local hockey community for a long time but had to contend with a packed schedule, which includes Kookaburra and NSW squad commitments.

“I haven't had a lot of time in the past, but I had the opportunity before the new national league started (March 6),” he said.

“It was a great opportunity to go back to my local town and give something back.”

Livermore's commitment to local hockey will be further cemented when he returns to hold a two-day clinic in April. The Easter clinic will be for beginners to advanced players and will include skills sessions and a coaching forum.

FAST FACTS

Grafton District Men's Hockey Association junior sign-on

Where: Grafton Regional Hockey Centre.

When: 12-2pm on Saturday.

Brent Livermore 'come and play' day

Where: Grafton Regional Hockey Centre.

When: 2-4pm on Saturday.

How much: Free.

Brent Livermore advanced coaching session

Where: Grafton Regional Hockey Centre.

When: 9-11am on Sunday.

How much: $20 per player.

For more information: carle4@bigpond.net.au or 0400 888 785



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