Maffra juniors making their mark

MAFFRA Hockey Club has been well-represented by its junior players in the South-East Country Cougars this season.

Seven players were selected in the representative Gippsland team.

Players are initially selected to trial for the South-East Country Cougars following Junior Country Week in May. Following selection, hockey’s junior state championships were held in Melbourne during the July school holidays, with the players playing against all nine other metropolitan and country regions over four days of competition.

This year an additional zone challenge was created. All 10 regions were again represented, with competition conducted over four weekends during October and November.

The age groups for this completion were adjusted from the previous under 13, 15 and 17 teams to under 12, 14 and 16.

Maffra’s seven representatives were selected for both competitions. Unfortunately, Meg Mogridge was unable to participate in the zone challenge because of other commitments.

In her third year of representing Gippsland, half-back Kate Ingram is co-captain of the girl’s under 16 zone team. Kate and Meg Mogridge played in the under 15 girls, team for the junior state championships.

In his first season representing Gippsland, Nathan White plays in the under 17 team in July and is in the under 16 boys, team for the zone competition. Nathan predominantly plays as an inner or wing.

Talented field player Ben Mogridge captains the under 14 boys’ team, having represented the under 15 team in July. After his second year in the Cougars team and winning the East Gippsland Hockey Association,s under 15 best-and-fairest, Ben has been selected for the under 15 state squad for 2014.

Brothers Matt and Simeon Gover were both selected as goalkeepers in the zone under 14 and 12 teams respectively. Both play as their team’s sole goalkeeper in the zone competition, having respectively kept goals for the under 13 and 15 team during the junior state championships.

Adelle O’Doherty is representing Gippsland for her second season. In her final year of under 13s, she co-captained the Cougars team at the junior state championships and is currently playing on the forward line in the under 14 zone team.

All players have greatly enhanced their hockey skills on the fast paced synthetic fields through weekly training sessions. The East Gippsland Hockey Association is the only association in Victoria without a synthetic pitch.

A highlight is also playing numerous games on the world class fields at the State Netball and Hockey Centre in Parkville.

The South-East Country Cougars will play their matches at home this Sunday, with the girls, matches being played in Drouin and the boys playing at Churchill. All games begin at 9.30am.