Country kids in the Kookaburras:
Des Abbott (Darwin), Kiel Brown (Toowoomba), Nathan Burgers, Rob Hammond (Townsville), Matthew Butturini (Burringbar, NSW), Jamie Dwyer, Mark Knowles (Rockhampton), Davis Guest (Burnie, TAS), Fergus Kavanagh (Geraldton, WA), Brent Livermore (Grafton), Ross Meadows (Collie, WA), Simon Orchard (Maitland), Grant Schubert (Loxton, SA), Jason Wilson (Kingscliff), and from last year Stephen Lambert (Mackay, Qld) and Ian Burcher (Albany, WA).
Country kids in the Hockeyoos:
Teneal Attard (Mackay), Alison Bruce (Red Head, NSW), Casey Eastham (Albion Park – Illawarra), Amy Korner (Ipswich), Heather Liddelow (Manjimup, WA), Ricahel Lynch (Warrandyte, VIC), Hope Munro (Toowoomba), Ashleigh Nelson (Wagin, WA), Megan Rivers (Moss Vale, NSW), Kim Walker (Devonport, TAS).
So what's the rub with these statistics – well the Australian Men's and Women's Country Championships kicks off on Saturday 31 July in Canberra, and on show will be the 'next generation of jewels' in Australian hockey.
Many of Australia's elite athletes across the board were country kids, one just needs to look at the 2010 NSW Rugby League Country verses City result to see this.
But there is no sport in Australia across the state wide spectrum where this is so profound as it is in field hockey. Moreover it has an historical bent. For example, the 1957 NSW men's hockey team had seven players from the tiny rural community of Crookwell, which is a farming district north of Goulburn.
Queensland is plied with strong country hockey centres. The former Australian Olympic Gold medal winning Kookaburra coach Barry Dancer was from Ipswich which was truly a rural centre in the sixties when he won his 1976 Montreal Olympic hockey medal.
Yes, Queensland is littered with very strong hockey communities such as Cairns and Townsville in the far north, Mackay and Rockhampton, Maryborough and Bundaberg and the south west Ipswich and Toowoomba. The highly skilled hockey exponent country lads who move to the city make the Brisbane competition what it is.
New South Wales too has a pedigree country hockey record. Enormously strong hockey centres include Bathurst, Parkes, Orange and Lithgow on the western line, Newcastle and Tamworth on the northern line, Taree and Grafton on the north coast line, Goulburn, Crookwell and Wagga on the southern line, and the Illawarra (Wollongong).
Western Australia too continues to produce wonderful country hockey players from centres such as Geraldton, Collie, Albany, Bunbury, Kalgoorlie, Esperance to name but a few. Every little rural community has its cricket and hockey teams. The Western Australian hockey history must take considerable credit from the Anglo-Indian influx post WWII when India was gaining their independence.
One could write tomes of literature on Australian rural hockey centres. Tamworth was the first centre in NSW including Sydney, to attain an artificial hockey pitch through the efforts of hard working local hockey identities and their local Council.
So who's playing who at the 2010 Australian Country Men's and Women's Championships. As ACT Hockey is a one state city competition (so to speak) the ADF (Australian Defence Force) fills in as their numbers are made up of young men and women from throughout the nation.
The men's on Day 1 – 31 July
NSW Country v South Australian Country
Qld Country v Victorian Country
WA Country v ADF
The full men's draw can be found at
The full women's draw can be found at
A Well-Being Australian theologian noting a point to ponder has considered the nature of those Jesus called to be his disciples (most were rural people) and the attitudes of the city elites to the rural population of that time (what good thing came out of Nazareth?) hasn't much changed.
Never despise country folk as great wisdom and insight comes from rural living.