Youngsters hone skills

THREE Border hockey players are taking their talents indoors and racking up the mileage.

Tallangatta sisters Riley and Macey Sutherland along with Wodonga’s Eryn Norie have recently been selected in Victorian indoor squads to contest national titles next month.

Riley will play in Brisbane as vice-captain of the Victorian under-15 team.

Macey and Eryn will represent the state in an under-13 invitational in Canberra over the Australia Day weekend.

All three spend most Saturdays on the road travelling to play in Melbourne because of the lack of competition on the Border.

The Sutherlands have made the 700-kilometre trip for the past two years, Norie only joining the weekend sojourn this year.

Eryn said she was excited to be selected.

“I wanted to try something different and a friend I met in the outdoor hockey Victorian under-13 team suggested I come and play indoor with her in Melbourne,” she said.

“I just loved the game and when the trials came up I decided to see how she went.

“I wasn’t sure how I was going to go as this is my first go at indoor and it is different to outdoor hockey, so I just went in and gave it a dip and when I saw I got in, I was rapt.”

Father Clive Norie said the indoor game improved a player’s outdoor skills.

“Indoor hockey is played on an indoor court of 55 metres by 22 metres and there are only two forwards, two backs and the goal keepers,” he said.

“The ball is not allowed to be lifted unless having a shot on goal.

“So skills-wise it has been beneficial in helping the girls to get lower in their tackles and flat stick trapping.

“The game is fast and can be extremely high scoring.

“There is no out unless the ball goes over the back line at the goal ends, players use the walls to assist with passing and beating opponents.”

Norie said it had been almost two decades since indoor hockey was regularly played on the Border.

“It finished 16 years ago and an attempt to revive it didn’t last long either,” he said.

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