Four southerners picked for national U21 camps

(from left) Malachi Buschl, Jordan Ward, Dylan Thomas and Mia Nevill have been selected for the upcoming New Zealand under-21 hockey camps in Hawke's Bay. Photo: Gerard O'Brien
(from left) Malachi Buschl, Jordan Ward, Dylan Thomas and Mia Nevill have been selected for the upcoming New Zealand under-21 hockey camps in Hawke's Bay. Photo: Gerard O'Brien
There will be a strong southern presence at the upcoming New Zealand under-21 hockey camps in Hawke's Bay with four Southern region players named in the latest squads.

Malachi Buschl, Dylan Thomas and Jordan Ward have been selected for the men's camp and Mia Nevill has been called up to the women's.

Groups of 30 men and 28 women have been named for the camps, which will be held next month and form part of the wider New Zealand under-21 programme.

Dylan Thomas, who has been a member of the Southern region under-21 squad for the past two years, said he was excited about getting up to the camp and getting started.

''I've just got to knuckle down in the training and really work hard towards the camp.

''I'm not sure what's up next after this, so for me it's just about focusing on the sessions, performing really well and, hopefully, impressing the coaches.''

Thomas was part of the Southern under-21 squad that finished fifth in the recent national under-21 tournament in Hamilton.

He said selection for the national under-21 camps would not hurt his chances of getting a call-up to the Southern senior National Hockey League team later this year.

''We played some really good hockey up there and we were a bit unlucky not to do better. There's plenty of stuff to work on and there's a senior NHL squad selection coming up, so we'll see if I can get selected for that.''

Thomas and Buschl are attacking midfielders while Ward is a defender. Nevill is a goalkeeper.

Otago Hockey Association general manager Andy McLean said inclusion in the squads was a worthy reward for the players' recent hard work.

''Obviously it's really exciting to have some of our promising young players acknowledged at that national level. It's a fantastic opportunity for them to develop towards achieving at the highest level of the game and a good acknowledgment that they're on the right track.''

The men's and women's camps run from 16-20 July in preparation for the men's Sultan of Johor Cup in Malaysia in October and the men's and women's test series against Australia in December.

-By Eddy Bramley

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