SUPER SIX: Hockey juniors taking on the best in the country
HOCKEY: The Grafton Hockey Association continues to defy its standing as a small, regional association with six of our aspiring juniors ready to step on to the national stage.
The six juniors, which includes an astonishing five from the Sailors Hockey Club, will take the field for several NSW sides this week at the Hockey Australia Under-13 National Championships in Hobart.
Mackenna Ensbey and Jemma Whelan will line up for the NSW Stars girls side while Breah Fischer will be in the Lions team. Meanwhile in the boys Keaton Stutt and Jesse McGarvie will be in the Stars side while Josh Perry will be in the Lions outfit.
GHA president Peter Fysh said it was a proud day for the association, and credited the six juniors for their dedication to hockey.
"This is massive for us," he said. "It is a credit to those young kids, they put in week in and week out for their clubs and then go and step up another notch in front of the state selectors.
"They then have to go away to training camps for long periods, and work their way through several squad cuts before getting to this level. It is no mean feat."
For all six representatives, and especially Perry and Fischer, who live in the Coffs region and travle every week for games, it has taken a lot of dedication and commitment to get to this position.
It has also taken a lot of sacrifice from families, which Fysh said had not gone unnoticed.
"It is a big credit to the parents of these kids, they do all the hard yards behind the scenes, it takes a lot of time, effort and finances to get to this level," Fysh said.
"Credit should also go to Hockey NSW regional coach Rick Sampson. He has had a lot to do wi9th these juniors through the AAP, and that has seen them develop at a rapid rate.
"Seeing our association represented by this much talent at this level is very humbling and we wish the guys the best of luck at the championships.
"Hopefully we might even jag a national selection ... or six."