Unified Toowoomba side looks to make mark at states
HOCKEY: Toowoomba's U15s teams are gearing up for their respective state championship tilts from tomorrow.
Two boys teams will head to Warwick while a pair of girls sides will make the trip to Gladstone for the four-day carnivals.
For the U15s boys, they're hoping to improve on a seventh-placed finish at last year's event on the Sunshine Coast, something that coach Steve Hawthorne is quietly confident of achieving.
He said the previous experience will bode well for the side, as will welcoming a few players from last year's U13s state champion side.
"We're quietly confident in our abilities,” Hawthorne said.
"We have a large portion of quality players are in their second year, and that experience last year will help them.”
The side will also feature an array of players with current and previous Queensland experience, something that will play into the hands of Toowoomba according to Hawthorne.
"There are a number of reps in the side. 10 of the 16 players have represented Queensland at some stage,” he said.
"They have had plenty of experience in these carnival-type settings. A big portion went away this year and there is a real quality coming through at the moment.”
Perhaps the thing most in the favour of the young squad is the chemistry they've been able to build.
Hawthorne said they are a group that has been able to stick together as they climb through the ranks.
"The guys are well combined, it's like another club team,” he said.
"They've spent so much time training, travelling and going away together, that it is like they're another club team.
"We treat it like that. We believe they all play for Toowoomba as their club.
"It's good for the boys because the bond they've been able to form as a group is fantastic.
"It's a fully inclusive parent group too, its not my son against your son.”
He said the bond will only be strengthened over the coming days, with the team opting to stay in Warwick as opposed to travelling each day.
"We've decided that we're going to stay as a group,” Hawthorne said.
"It will be quite a good thing. They'll be living and breathing each other for a few days, and they seem to enjoy that. Staying together is something they're really looking forward to.”
The side kicks off its campaign tomorrow against Sunshine Coast, before an afternoon game against Rockhampton.
Finals across both the boys and girls tournaments take place on Wednesday.