Ward brothers keen to reach top level

Ward brothers Jordan (left) and Finn hope to make an impact for the Southern Dogs when the...
Ward brothers Jordan (left) and Finn hope to make an impact for the Southern Dogs when the National Hockey League resumes in Wellington today. Photo: Gregor Richardson
Plenty of good hockey players have come out of Dunedin in the past decade — the Ward brothers look set to join that list.

Jordan and Finn Ward appear to be treading a similar path to the likes of Black Sticks trio Hugo Inglis, Blair Tarrant and Kane Russell.

The talented threesome honed their skills for the Southern Dogs before going on to make an impact in international hockey — the Wards would like to follow suit.

Jordan’s talents have not gone unnoticed at the top level. The 20-year-old defender has been named in the national under-21 team, alongside team-mate Malachi Buschl, to represent New Zealand at the Sultan of Johor Cup in Malaysia next month.

It is wonderful opportunity for Jordan, who said he had been inspired by the likes of Inglis and more recently by Buschl, who was called into the Blacks Sticks for their tour of India in earlier this year.

"That shows it is possible and it is really awesome to see people like Mal [Buschl] making those steps," Jordan said.

Finn is also on the selectors’ radar. The 17-year-old King’s High School pupil is in the New Zealand under-18 development squad and has a few other claims to fame.

It is thought he could be the youngest player in the National Hockey League  this season and he is a pretty good cricketer as well. He was this week named in the Otago under-19 squad.

The teenager made his NHL debut on the weekend and is already on the score sheet. He knocked in Southern’s only goal when he calmly slotted the ball in behind the goalie during the 5-1 loss to Canterbury on Sunday.

The Ward brothers felt the scoreline did not reflect the enterprise Southern had shown during the match. The Dogs showed glimpses of their attacking potential but were not as accurate in front of goal as they will need to be when the NHL resumes in Wellington today.

"It really was a tight game," Jordan said.

"There were some really good aspects in the game ... but unfortunately Canterbury was really clinical in front of goal. They put the ball away when they needed to.

"We have to tighten things up back on defence but overall it was a positive start to the campaign and I can’t wait for Welly."

Southern plays Central this afternoon. The Dogs are likely to adopt a similar game plan to the Canterbury match.

They will look to hold through the centre of field and use  pace to counterattack.


Southern v Central
Wellington, today, 2pm

Southern Dogs: Thomas Mallon, Hamish van Dyke, James Nation, Johnny Thorn, Jordan Ward, Matt Moore, Maxwell Rasmussen, Malachi Buschl, Dylan Thomas, Campbell Paton, Callum Dempster, Jason Dungey, Finn Ward, Lachie Davidson, Joe O’Connor, Jack Gilbert, Craig Turner, Nathan Gilbert.

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