Aussie bolsters South Canterbury
South Canterbury senior women's hockey has looked across the Tasman to bolster its team competing at the National Senior Tournament next week.
It has headed into new territory by importing Australian under-21 international Emily Lawson to boost their prospects.
For the Tasmanian it will be her first visit to New Zealand and it will be a quick trip.
The 22-year-old will be in the country for less than two weeks and she met her team-mates on the way to Ashburton for a warm-up game on Wednesday night. The squad heads for Wellington from all parts of New Zealand on Sunday, for the week-long tournament.
Lawson was recruited by South Canterbury coach Daryl Foy, an Australian with contacts in Hobart.
Lawson said she was excited by the opportunity but admitted she knew little about what she will face.
"My friends were jealous I got the opportunity so I am hoping to make the most of it."
While Lawson is a defender for Tasmania in the Australian Hockey League she may get the opportunity further up the field for South Canterbury. Her ability to take penalty corners could also be an advantage to her new side.
Lawson's parents have also come across the Tasman to support her.
Last year South Canterbury finished fourth in the second division having returned to the national stage for the first time since 1987.
This year there are no divisions but South Canterbury have struck a tough pool with the New Zealand Defence Force, Tauranga-Bay of Plenty, Eastern Central and Tasman.
Last year South Canterbury struggled with player availability and again this year the side is relying on several loan players, players of origin and the one international allowed.
Former Hockey South Canterbury development officer, Charlotte McCullough, had been the driving force behind getting the team re-instated, after she returned home from university at the start of the season last season
She is again a key member of the squad after being chosen as captain and will be joined by her sisters, Georgie and Victoria, who played for Central in the NHL.
Counties' Emma Walters is also playing for South Canterbury along with Canterbury Cats squad member Emily Ballinger.
The tournament rules allow for up to six loan players, unlimited player of origins and one international.
One player is also allowed who has played in a New Zealand National Hockey League side.
South Canterbury: Jackie Turner, Sarah O'Connell, Amy McKerchar, Charlotte McCullough, Georgie McCullough (Dunedin), Victoria McCullough (Hawkes Bay), Eloise Nevin (Christchurch), Lucy Burrows (Christchurch) Lisa Grant, Lisa Smith, Michelle Mitchell (Christchurch), Lorraine Ferreira, Lisa Watson, Emily Ballinger (Christchurch), Emma Walters (Counties).
- © Fairfax NZ News