Mates to be rivals

BLAKE Hinton and Ben Ferguson grew up playing hockey and indoor hockey in the same teams.

They started in juniors with the Chatham club and progressed through to the premier league side. Both were members of the Chatham side that dominated the Mid North Coast Premier League last year.

They've also played all their representative and school hockey together. They've also turned out for Tigers in the Newcastle Premier League for the past two years.

So both agree it will be 'a bit weird' when they'll be opposed for the first time when NSW meets Tasmania in the opening game of the Australian under 18 indoor championships in Brisbane later this week.

Ben will be in the NSW side while Blake has been drafted into the Tasmanian squad with two other NSW players.

Blake, 17, was originally named a shadow reserve for NSW but wasn't required for the championships, so he was snapped up by Tasmania.

He'll be meeting the majority of his team-mates for the first time this week.

Ben,18, was a member of the winning NSW team in last year's titles played in Tasmania.

Given the frantic nature of indoor hockey, the pair will be knocking into one-another regularly when they clash this week.

Tasmania had a strong championship last year, but will field a new look side this time around and Blake admits he isn't sure how they will fare.

Ben's more confident.

"We'll smash them,'' he responded when asked how the Blues will go against Tasmania.

Either way, there's a strong chance they'll catch up and compare notes at the conclusion of the game.

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