BEGA’s Leigh Rogers has just been selected to represent Australia in masters hockey.
After a dominant showing at the State Masters Championships held at the Adelaide Hockey Complex recently, Rogers said she was delighted to be picked for an Australian team that will tour Fiji next year.
“I was really happy, I was over the moon when I made it, it’s something I’ve been trying to achieve for a while,” Rogers said.
Rogers travelled to Newcastle in late July for a one-day trial and was then notified she had been selected into the NSW over 45s masters squad to play at Adelaide.
“We had three days of training as a team and then the competition started.
“The competition ran for about 10 days and you have to play teams from all the other states.
“It’s a really professional event that you go to, the NSW team has a coach, a manager and a physio, it’s a real step up to the next level.
“You play all your round games and we won or drew all of them except against Western Australia,” she said.
NSW was to get a rematch against WA in the gold medal match on the final Saturday of the competition.
“I was the highest goal scorer [for NSW] and I also scored a goal in the gold medal match against WA,” Rogers said.
Rogers said before travelling for the tournament she had put her hand up to be part of the Australian team.
“You have to nominate for selection before the tournament and they have a selection committee come and watch your games.”
Unlike the state team selection, there was no waiting game for Rogers as the Australian teams were announced at an official dinner after the final game.
“On the Saturday night after the gold medal matches ,there was a big official dinner for all the teams that competed which was a lot of people,” Rogers said.
At the dinner they announced Australian teams for various age groups.
“When they were announcing it, they had this big screen and all the names flashed up, mine was about the fifth down in the 45s team.”
Rogers said she had been training hard in an effort to reach selection and thought it made the difference this year.
“I’ve always made selection for the NSW team when I’ve gone for that, but I’ve never made the Australian side,” she said.
“About three years ago I decided to travel to Canberra to play on the [artificial] turf up there.
“I think that made the difference, it provides a slightly different skill-set and really helped me.
“I also trained really hard this year,” she said.
With the tour of Fiji not to take place for a couple of months, Rogers said she would slow down her training before returning to Canberra at the start of next year.
“I’ll back off my training a bit now, have a bit of a rest and then get back into it.
“Next year hopefully I’ll be able to go to Canberra and get a few games in before I’ll go away, the Canberra comp starts earlier than ours so hopefully I can play a couple of rounds.”
Rogers said the tour will be held in Fiji and would include some training clinics for eager young players.
“We go to Fiji in April next year, we won’t do any training until we get over there, we will have training days before we actually play.
“With this age group it will be a development tour of Fiji and we will play the Fijian high performance team, but it’s their open age one, which will be interesting,” Rogers said with a laugh.
“We will also do some promotional work for hockey NSW, training clinics in schools and that kind of thing,” she said.