Three Border-based women’s hockey teams will make the trip across the ditch to compete in the World Masters Games in Auckland.
The Albury-Wodonga Border Masters have entered over 40s, over 50s and over 55s teams for a shot at the title against the world’s leading Masters athletes.
More than 25,000 competitors will take part in 28 sports.
It will be the Border Masters’ first time competing overseas after success at national and world events held across Australia in previous years.
The majority of the players will fly out on Thursday ahead of Friday’s opening ceremony and the first game on Saturday.
Team co-ordinator Maxine Eyles has been busy orgainsing the squads for their third World Masters tournament and admits they are all going to Auckland for glory.
The teams play eight games in nine days, but they’re looking forward to the challenge.
“We’re out for gold and we’re competitive in every age group,” Eyles said.
“We’re playing in the A division all across the board.
“We got a gold medal at the Pan-Pacs last November and we have a good record of gold and silver medals.”
Eyles said while the core group is from Albury-Wodonga, the teams have a handful of interstate players as well.
“We’ve got ladies from New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia,” she said.
“Some of the players represent Victoria and New South Wales in state teams.
“We play in the Australian Masters every two years, but it’s special to be going overseas to represent the region.
“Teams we often compete against will be there and New Zealand will field very strong teams.
“We hope we can do the area proud.”
The majority of the squad play against each other in the Hockey Albury-Wodonga competition, but enjoy the opportunity to come together as a team.
“It’s actually built really great friendships going to the Masters because you’re away together as a team,” Eyles said.
“It will be nice to see it all come together after all the planning over the last 12 months.
“I’ve never been over there before and I don’t think most of us have, so it will be an experience to see what New Zealand is going to throw at us, along with everything else.”
Another highlight of the trip will be the experience of attending the Anzac Day Dawn Service in Auckland.
“I’m really looking forward to that service and I think it will be quite special to be in New Zealand for it,” Eyles added.