Grafton hockey duo gets call up to Aussie team for Fiji tour
TWO of Grafton's brightest young A-grade hockey talents will represent the Australian country team on a tour of Fiji in December.
Kirralee Monkhouse, who plays an instrumental role in the Grafton High Blues A-Grade side, and City Bears talent Justin Alford, were both named in the national country side after strong performances at Geraldton in Western Australia over the past week.
Both Monkhouse and Alford were selected in the NSW country teams which performed brilliantly in the championships.
The NSW men's side went through undefeated and the women's side was only bettered once by Queensland in their eight games.
After drawing with Queensland 2-2 in the final, the NSW girls went on to win on penalties.
Showing her attacking potency, Monkhouse scored a hat-trick on the way to a 7-1 NSW win over host state Western Australia in the semi-finals.
"It was great to play in Western Australia and to see Geraldton, which was a similar size to Grafton," Alford said.
"Being picked for the Australian country team is definitely my highest representative honour and I'm really looking forward to the chance to play in Fiji in December.
"I don't really have all the details yet, but it's an eight or nine day tour and we play some of the other Pacific nations during the week."
Alford, 17, lives in Bellingen but has played his hockey in the Grafton Hockey A-Grade competition with City Bears for the last three seasons.
"Grafton hockey is very strong and my local competition in Coffs Harbour has been getting less strong every year.
"My brother Brendan also plays for Bears and is a teacher at Westlawn Public School.
"I play right or left half and was playing that position for New South Wales," he said.
"I'm not sure where I'll be playing for the Australian country side."