Ange McDonald has proven it’s never too late to achieve your dream.
The Border hockey star heads to Barcelona next week to represent Australia at the Masters World Cup in the over 45s.
McDonald has played the last five national championships for Victoria and was rewarded for her form with her first national call-up.
She’ll join fellow Albury export Nan Latta at the event, who is captain of the Australian over 40s.
After being selected in October, McDonald admits it still doesn’t feel “real”.
“Nan (Latta) said the moment they play the Australian anthem is when you know it’s real,” McDonald said.
“I think when we all line up and we’re in the Australian uniform, that’s when it will sink in.
“When you’re a kid you always think you’d like to play for Australia and you work hard.
“I grew up with Nan and she was always a freak player as a kid, so I remember when she used to play state I used to think everyone that played state was as good as her.
“It wasn’t until another girl from our local comp got into the Victorian team and I thought I was as good as her, so why couldn’t I do that too?
“I’d like to see more locals trial for the Victorian team, it’s the best way to see the country.
“I’ve played in Adelaide, Newcastle, Darwin and Alice Springs all because of hockey.”
McDonald is playing as well as she ever has, often lining up three times a week with Capital League, club and masters commitments.
“Capital League is a lot faster than the local comp, and, even going away for masters, it’s not as fast, but there’s more thinking,” she said.
“We have to submit fitness tests every month and Capital League helps with your speed.
“I think it’s about working on your strengths and not trying to do all the flashy stuff, leave that for the kids.
“I keep saying this will be my last year, I’ve been retiring for the last 10.
“I’ll reassess in January, I’ve been playing since I was 10 with a few years off here and there.”
Latta has also reached a personal goal after a suffering a career-threatening achilles injury in 2015 – ruling her out of the 2016 World Cup on home soil in Canberra.
She returned to captain her country in the Trans-Tasman series against New Zealand last year, before retaining the leadership role for the World Cup.
“There’s 4000 people involved in it and it’s a massive experience,” Latta said.
“Australia always does well in the World Cup, last time we went I think we got two golds in the women’s and maybe two in the men’s.
“However, this is by far the biggest World Cup.
“Last time in the 40s, I think there was only 10 teams and it’s 16 this year, plus they’ve got an age group every five years when it used to be decades.”
Latta will face Spain, South Africa and Belarus in Pool A of the over 40s, while McDonald and the over 45s have matches against Netherlands, New Zealand, Ireland, Scotland and France.
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