Local hockey talent 21-year-old Justin Alford has once again put on the green and gold.
However, this time it was a step up in the local’s career as he represented Australian Country in the Open team. This came after being selected at Nationals in Darwin late last year, even though he was still eligible for the U21s.
For the last two weeks Justin has travelled to Vietnam and Hong Kong playing against some top international teams.
While there was humidity and heat, taking a while to adjust, along with a lot of viruses, it didn’t stop the quality of hockey being played.
“With Vietnam being the first stop and hockey only just getting being recognised there, it was good to be able to promote the sport that bit more,” Justin said.
“We had a couple of good training sessions here as well as a game on their reasonably new turf and finished our week off with a six-a-side competition.
“Hong Kong was a lot different as hockey is quite strong there.
“We notched up a couple good wins in our first two games and then, in a more physical battle, lost our third to a very well-drilled Hong Kong team.
“In our final two games we had a win and a draw.
“These games were hard games and resulted in a few injuries and stitches for a couple of players. Our last game of the week saw us play the strongest team on our final night.
“After being down by three goals at half time, we ended the game with a draw after some great team playing and even better goals.
“Their team had a couple of Indian Hockey League players on the night and it was a very fast game, so it was a great result to be three-all at full time.”
Justin said it was a great couple of weeks with some pleasing results and some fantastic team hockey.
“It has been another rewarding experience with a great group of guys and coaching staff,” he said. “Representing Australia is something that I've been very lucky and proud to achieve.
“I’d like to thank Michael Nelson who makes these tournaments possible, Hockey Australia, Bellingen IGA and my family and friends for all their support.”