AT 22 years of age, Orange’s Alex Said is becoming one of the more experienced players in the Australian Country open men’s hockey side.
Alex earned selection in the open side on the weekend after helping NSW to second in the Australian Country Championships in Bendigo.
This is the second time he has been a part of the open side after playing one tour with the under 21s team.
The Wanderers player said he was thrilled to be back in the open team after being unsure whether his name would be called out during the announcement.
“I was hoping for it,” he said.
“It probably wasn’t my best tournament. Some people said I played really well but I didn’t think I played as well as I could have.”
Orange had two players earn Australian Country honours with teenager Tim Eslick selected in the under 21 men’s team.
“Tim went well,” Said explained.
“He hadn’t played a lot of hockey leading up to the tournament because of injury. Once he settled in he was great.
“He was rapt with that [selection]). It was a good tournament for both of us.”
NSW had wins against South Australia (4-2), Victoria (3-2) and the Australian Defence Force (3-2), as well as a 2-all draw with Queensland and loss to Western Australia to finish third on the competition ladder.
NSW accounted for Queensland 4-1 in the semi-final but was beaten by Western Australia 3-2 in the grand final.
Said and Eslick were part of the NSW side which also claimed silver in 2011.
Said thought the NSW side performed well.
“It was a new team, new faces and a lot of people didn’t know what to expect,” he said.
“We started a bit slow against a few teams. Against South Australia we took a little bit to get going but once we did, we went well.
“Against ADF, they were up 2-0 and we came back to win 3-2. We made it a lot harder for ourselves by giving them an early lead. Then when we played Western Australia [in the final], we were up 2-0 and they came back and won 3-2.”
NSW was rewarded for a strong tournament with eight players being selected in the Australian Country open men’s team and another six were chosen in the under 21 men’s side.
Joining Eslick in the under 21s team is Bathurst’s Sam MacPherson.