Lara Watts named in NSW Blues under 18 side

Hockey prospect Lara Watts is the Manning River Times-Iguana Sportstar of the Week.
Hockey prospect Lara Watts is the Manning River Times-Iguana Sportstar of the Week.

MAKING a NSW hockey side will finally give Lara Watts a chance to see a bit of Australia.

The 16-year-old is in the NSW Blues side to play in the national under 18 championships in Tasmania from March 11 to 22. She’s been a regular in State indoor and field sides since the under 13s, but this will be her first time out of NSW.

“I’ve been to Moorebank, Wollongong and Goulburn,’’ Lara smiled.

“So I finally get a chance to travel.’’

Lara is the Manning River Times-Iguana Sportstar of the Week, earning a $50 open order at Iguana.

The Blues squad is regarded as a development team made up of younger players with an eye to future campaigns. Lara will play in the midfield and while the Blues aren’t expected to push for higher honours, Lara stressed they won’t just be making up the numbers.

“It’s a NSW side, so we’ll go alright,’’ she said.

Lara is coming off a highly successful indoor campaign, where she was a member of the NSW under 15 side that won the Australian championship. She was the player of the tournament and also the leading goal scorer. Lara and Bree Pensini were named in the NSW side after playing for the division one winning Manning side at the State championships. Lara says she enjoys indoor more than the traditional version of the game, with the fast pace an attraction.

“Indoor’s more fun, too,’’ she added.

The field hockey season will be underway when Lara returns from Tasmania. Locally, Bree and Lara will be members of a Town side returning to the Manning division one women’s competition for the first time in some years. She’ll also be a member of Taree High’s State champion side in the NSW Combined High Schools knockout. Lara said Taree is well placed to defend their crown.

“We’ve only lost a couple of players and we’ve gained some good replacements,’’ she said.

Her younger sister, Abby, is at Taree High now and there's a big chance they’ll be playing together in the side, although Lara’s not sure how that will work out. They have played the occasional game together in representative teams.

“We fight a lot,’’ Lara laughed.