Grafton master hockey player Michael Russ aims for world cup
CONCRETE truck driver Michael Russ hopes he can provide the reinforcement Australia's midfield needs to win the Masters Over-50 Hockey World Cup.
Ever since he was a 16-year-old lad from Glenreagh, Russ has always played his hockey in Grafton and has always been a regular name in New South Wales teams.
However, the green and gold has evaded him - until now. "I was named a shadow reserve a couple of times, but this is the first time I'm in the actual side," Russ said.
It took all of 50 years, but Russ will finally make his international debut when the tournament is held at Rotterdam in the Netherlands from June 5 to 13.
He and wife Leanne will head overseas at the end of May. It won't be Russ's first trip to Europe. He ventured over to visit his eldest son Nick who was playing in London.
Russ still plays Premier League Hockey for City Bears in Grafton, who enjoyed a 3-1 win in round one.
"It's getting harder to catch the kids," he said.
"I don't score many goals anymore. I don't venture that far up the field.
"You think a bit more when you're older. When you're younger you tear around. Now you think there must be another way to do this. Sometimes there is, sometimes there isn't."
Russ is currently in his niche with people his own age. He's in Taree playing for Grafton alongside the likes of fullback Scotty Thompson, goalkeeper Brett Condie and Cliff Green at the NSW Over-50s Hockey Championships which started yesterday.
"That's why so many people like Masters Hockey," Russ said. "Everyone's the same age. They've got the same niggles and limitations."
Grafton def by Illawarra (0-2)
Grafton def Manning Valley (2-1)
11am Grafton v Goulburn
4pm Grafton v Newcastle
Grafton 2 v Illawarra 2 (1-0)
Grafton 2 v New England
9am Grafton 2 v Orange
6pm Grafton 2 v Central Coast
Division A: Brett Condie, Jim Brotherson, Scott Thompson, Cliff Green, Brian Napper, Tony Ryder, Mick Wunderlich, Mick Russ, Peter Herden, Mark Robson, Greg Harvison, David Morrison, Peter Hackett.
Division B: Craig Want, Peter Gibbons, David Ross, Robert Blanchard, Paul Arnott, Marc Brown, Dennis Greensill, Jeff Thomas, Paul Schofield, Ken Davison, David Munns, Terry Daly, Barry Livermore, Stuart Hancock, John Reagan, Chris Wear.