Ipswich talent tested at state U18 titles
IPSWICH'S most promising hockey talent will be on show at the state under-18 championships starting this weekend.
Ipswich is sending three teams to learn and gauge their progress against the best in Queensland.
Ipswich's under-18 boys team is playing at the State Hockey Centre in Brisbane, with the city's two under-18 girls sides heading to the Gold Coast.
Both championships begin on Sunday, with finals on Tuesday.
Men's team manager Jamie Burns is reuniting with coach Mark Sharrad for the third consecutive season after the pair guided the Ipswich team to state title glory in their first year.
"We're looking good,'' Burns said. "We're blooding a few young fellas in there this year.''
They include Jake Thornton, Hayden Michel, Byron Davies, Lachlan Walsh, Aaron Dodds and Bailey Hoyland-Meaker, who is back-up goalkeeper to nationally identified prospect Cade Banditt.
A-grade players Sara Rogers (number one team) and Sarah Parlett (number two side) are overseeing the Ipswich girls' campaigns.
Rogers has only three players aged 18 in her side - Miranda McNamara, goalkeeper Hollie Harrison and McKenna Evans-Doherty. However, she's confident the players aged 14-17 can be more than competitive.
"The girls are playing a lot of hockey at the moment so it's not a big issue,'' the Australian Country representative said.
"I think we have a team that if we play to the best of our ability we can win it.''