Sportstar: Disappointing finale

Holli Wheeler and team-mate Chrissee Benn hold the trophy the Australians won as the most successful team in the New Zealand tournament.

Holli Wheeler and team-mate Chrissee Benn hold the trophy the Australians won as the most successful team in the New Zealand tournament.

A GRUELLING 11 game program in 14 days ended in disappointment for Old Bar's Holli Wheeler and the Australian Country women's hockey team in New Zealand.

After completing the preliminary games unbeaten, the Australians were downed 4-2 in the final by the New Zealand Maoris.

"We were playing on tired legs,'' Holli admits.

"We were playing two games in the one day and some of us haven't done that since under 18s, it was a bit of a shock to the system.''

Never-the-less Holli is the Manning River Times-Iguana Sportstar of the Week, earning a $50 open order at Iguana.

There was some consolation for the Australians. Their unbeaten record before the final and the fact that the Australiam men also chalked up some victories meant they were named the best performed team over the tournament.

This was her third campaign with the Australian Country team. The tournament was played in conjunction with the Six Nations championship involving the Hockeyroos.

"We got to meet them and had tickets to some of their games,'' Holli, 24, explained.

"And they came and watched one of our matches, so it was good. And we also go to play on a full international field and that was a great experience.''

Holli admits to being a bit disappointed with her own form. She played in the midfield.

There's nothing on the representative scene now until the June long weekend when the State open championships will be held in Wollongong. From here the State Country sides are selected. Holli was co-captain of the NSW team that won the Australian Country Championship in Western Australia last year and she's putting her name up for selection again. The nationals will be held in Toowoomba later in the year and from there the Australian team will be named.

Holli will again play for reigning premiers Tigers in the Manning first division competition. However, she'll also turn out for Regals in the Newcastle Premier League.

"At the start of the season it didn't look as though our competition would be as strong as it has been so I decided to have a run in Newcastle,'' she said.

Holli admits she's enjoying the tougher standard in Newcastle, adding there's a strong mix of former Manning players now living there.

However, this means a busy Saturday, with both competitions playing on the same day.

"I play in Newcastle then get home to play here,'' she said.

She's also playing league tag with the Old Bar Pirates in the Group Three competition.

"I don't have much spare time,'' Holli smiled.

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