Kookaburras fly in to inspire

Alexander ScottPilbara News
Kookaburras players Tyler Lovell and Jake Whetton with the Karratha Hockey Association junior players.
Camera IconKookaburras players Tyler Lovell and Jake Whetton with the Karratha Hockey Association junior players. Credit: Alexander Scott

Aspiring hockey stars in Karratha have had an exciting opportunity to learn from two of Australia’s best players.

Kookaburras’ Tyler Lovell and Jake Whetton were in Karratha and Roebourne last week for the first visit of the Pilbara Community Hockey Program, run by Hockey Australia and Fortescue Metals Group.

The PCHP program brings Hockeyroos and Kookaburras athletes to the Pilbara to promote hockey, exercise, and a healthy, active lifestyle.

As part of the visit, the Kookaburras duo and Hockey WA’s schools and inclusion officer Melissa Gmeiner held hockey clinics for Karratha Hockey Association juniors.

Players visited local schools, including Tambrey Primary School, St Paul’s Primary School, Baynton West Primary School and Roebourne District High School, to conduct skills clinics with students in Years 3-6.

Kookaburras goalkeeper Lovell said the event drew more children than he had anticipated.

“We took them through a few basic hockey skills, played a few games, and had them competing without them knowing they were competing, which was good,” he said. Lovell said the hope was for the children to continue playing.

“We come up here and give them a bit of a taste of hockey,” he said.

“If we can excite them to want to play hockey when we are not here, then that is a win for us.”

Karratha Hockey Association president Steve Knight said the sessions were important for the children to allow them to meet their idols and to inspire them.

“It gives them exposure to Australian players, and it is very important to show off the sport of hockey in the area,” he said.

“It complements what we are trying to do as an association and give kids the opportunity to play hockey and start at grassroots.”

Mr Knight said the juniors loved the clinic. “They are absolutely buzzing, and you can see the smiles on their faces,” he said.

“To get two Australian players and a Western Australian representative up here from Perth, how special is that?”

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