ORANGE will have a strong representation on and off the field at the Australian Hockey Masters Championships starting tomorrow.
The women’s championships will be played in Melbourne from tomorrow while the men’s event starts on Saturday in Hobart.
Darryn Marjoram will play in the NSW Over 40s (1) team while David Watson will be vice-captain for the NSW Over 40s (2) side at the national men’s tournament.
The women have provided a larger representation for their national championships and they’re not restricted to NSW teams.
Joanne McRae and Annie Pakinga are returning with the NSW Over 35s team to try and defend the national title they won last year.
They will be joined by Orange product Naomi Sparks (formerly Gillette).
“She’s certainly an asset. She adds a lot to our attacking play,” McRae said of Sparks.
“Annie is another returning player and she’s another strong attacking player.”
McRae said she’s looking forward to pulling on the sky blue uniform again.
“This is my second year in the 35s. It’s good to know what the expectations are and how high the standard will be so I’ll be better prepared,” she said.
“I’m more mentally prepared. It’s good to know the ice baths are compulsory.”
Another Orange player representing NSW is Kerrie Wood who has a spot in the over 60s team.
Also representing NSW will be Lindl Taylor as coach of the over 55s and Jane Rowlands is the manager for the over 60s.
There will also be three Orange physiotherapists joining the NSW teams in Paul Clarke, Alycia Gaynor and Mark Grivas.
Orange will also be represented in other state sides.
Paula Beattie is in the Northern Territory over 45s and Gemma Sullivan is in the over 50s.
Pam Johnson will play for the Barbarians, a united side to remove the bye from the draw, in the over 55s.
Rowlands said the NSW teams were expected to perform well this year after a strong showing in 2011.
“Last year NSW had six teams and they all brought home medals. They won two gold, three silver and one bronze. They had a great tournament last year,” Rowlands said.
“If they can emulate that this year or go one better, everyone will be very happy.”
The women’s opening ceremony is tonight and the competition will start tomorrow.
The men’s tournament will begin on Saturday, both events finish on October 6.