Hockeyroo hopeful takes on the might of Canada
IPSWICH young guns Layla Eleison and Jade Emblem have helped Queensland to their second draw against the Canadian National hockey team on the Gold Coast.
Playing the first three games of an eight-part series against the visitors, Queensland have lost just two games from four against Canada, who are using the series as preparation for the upcoming World League 2 tournament to be held in Vancouver in April.
Emblem and Eleison joined fellow Ipswich-based Australian player Jordyn Holzberger and Hockeyroos Ashlea Fey, Renee Taylor, Audrey Smith, Madison Fitzpatrick, Savannah Fitzpatrick and Stephanie Kershaw as the first four games of the tournament got under-way at Runaway Bay Sports Centre.
Feeling privileged to be part of the Queensland side to take on the Canadians, Emblem said the chance to test herself against world-class competition was a great opportunity.
"It's great to have that exposure to that international level of player," she said.
"It does help to show me how much I have to improve in my own skill level if I want to make it over to Perth with the Hockyroos."
This isn't the first time the Ipswich talent has been part of the Queensland representative scene, but with one eye on an Australian jersey, Emblem said she was soaking up the chance to be around elite coaching staff.
"We all feel very privileged and honoured that Canada have decided to come to Queensland and play eight games against us," she said. "You've got to keep taking these opportunities and make the most out of being around the Queensland coaches. It all benefits me and my own career.
"We knew they were going to be very competitive and they've proved that already. They are really good on their basics, simple balls they can trap and deliver a good pass straight away."
Canada and Queensland drew 2-2 in the first game of the series on the Gold Coast played on January 23, before Canada won the next match one day later 4-1.
Despite Canada taking a 3-1 victory in Brisbane on Australia Day, the Queenslanders are confident a win of their own isn't out of reach.
With Holzberger expected to make her first appearance in the next few games, Emblem said the Ipswich connection would help the home side's chances.
"I've played two games with Layla so far and it does help that we both come from Ipswich," she said.
"It helps that we are familiar with how we both play and with our team.
"We've been training for about a month in the lead-up and from that we've gelled really well.
"I think we will find our rhythm towards the end of the series and hopefully we might see a few wins come from that.
Following their 1-1 draw on Saturday night, Queensland return to Runaway Bay to take on Canada from 6pm tonight.