Brougham 'happy' to make squad
The long weekend was sweeter than most for Manawatu's Matthew Brougham after he was selected for the New Zealand tiger turf under-18 academy squad.
Brougham, 18, was "happy" to have been selected - finding out last week via a text message from friend and fellow Manawatu triallist, Matt Hunter.
Brougham attended a four-day training camp in Auckland where a squad of 30 players were put through their paces.
"We pretty much got off the plane in Auckland and got straight into fitness drills like agility tests and yo-yo drills," he said.
Players at the camp were taken through a number of activities by Black Sticks coach Shane McLeod.
"Shane showed us some gamebreaker videos of the Black Sticks during the Olympics," Brougham said. "It was really interesting to get an insight into Shane's thoughts about the tactics they used."
Brougham had been participating in senior high school trainings since year 9 and felt the faster pace and physical nature of those trainings stood him in good stead.
He was one of 16 players selected from the original 30 with a further training camp in December to decide the last two goalkeeping spots.
He will be competing with Manawatu under-18 goalkeeper Hunter who was also asked back to the December camp.
That camp was to be the final team training before a test series against their Australian counterparts, but the series was cancelled and new opposition is being organised.
Manawatu also had two girls selected with Georgia Barnett, 18, and Stephanie Dickins, 17, in the tiger turf under-18 girls squad.
Dickins was surprised when she found out she made the squad as only nine players were selected after the camp.
"Some girls were eligible for under-21s so it was nice to get a spot straightaway."
Dickins, a Feilding High School student, will juggle representative hockey with her passion for athletics. She will compete at the secondary school athletics champs in December before a hockey test series in January.
Goalkeeper Barnett made the squad for a second time but did not attend the camp as she was also eligible for under-21s.
She will attend the New Zealand under-21 training camp in November to try to secure a spot.