Star back to coaching in Grafton
GRAFTON-born hockey star Brent Livermore has experienced most of the glories his sport has to offer.
He has Olympic and Commonwealth gold medals and Champions Trophies and has played more than 300 games for his country.
However, as his career winds down he found the recently completed World Series Hockey competition in India an eye-opener.
Livermore said the competition, which was modelled on the Indian Premier League T20 cricket competition, was his first introduction to the top echelon of professional sport.
"It was like playing in the NBA," he said. "Wherever we went the travel was first-class, someone carried your bag for you, you stayed in five and six-star hotels.
"When you played a game, then it was straight to a flight for your next game."
Livermore was a noted iron-man on the hockey field during his career and it was no different in the World Series.
"We played 14 games in 29 days and I was on the field for all but two minutes of that time," he said.
The rewards, including a A$2.04 million prize pool, made the effort worthwhile.
"It's the richest purse that's ever been put up for a hockey competition," Livermore said.
Two other Grafton-born players, Peter Kelly and Robbie Green, were among the 40 international players invited to take part in the competition.
Livermore captained the Chennai Cheetahs, who finished sixth in the competition, winning six of their games.
This week the glitz and glamour was left behind as Livermore bunked down with some of the region's talented youngsters in his role as coaching director of the Grafton Hockey Academy.
For three days he worked, ate and slept hockey with a group of hand-picked hockey talent at the Grafton Hockey Association's bunkhouse.
It was the second year of the association's Rising Stars Easter Development Camp, which aims to provide elite coaching for players at an affordable cost.