Dubbo’s Helen McGee is set to become one of the first Australians to take compete at the World Masters Hockey Indoor World Cup.
It’s a remarkable achievement for the goal keeper, who does not actually compete regularly in the indoor format of the game.
There is no indoor competition in Dubbo.
Instead, the women’s team trains under the remote guidance of Hockey NSW development officer David Mike.
Mike led a western NSW women’s side at the Hockey Australia Indoor Masters Challenge in December, where McGee was one of five western region women selected for the World Cup.
It was something of a surprise call-up.
“I’ve been trying for years to get into a rep team and I finally got there!” she said.
“I think it just shows that you’ve just got to keep persevering … if it’s something that you love.
It’s the first time Australia will feature at the burgeoning masters event, which commences on February 14.
The competition also includes Germany, Hong Kong, Netherlands, USA, Canada, England, Italy and Switzerland across women’s (over 40 and 45) and men’s (over 40 and 50) divisions.
McGee will contest the over 45s division, with fellow Dubbo player Tracey Hardie-Jones named shadow for the 12-person squad.
It proves that you’re never too old to try.Helen McGee
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It’s something of a role-swap for the two friends: Hardie-Jones is a multiple Australian representative while McGee has been named shadow, but never before worn the green and gold.
“It’s a big step for Dubbo, where we don’t have an indoor competition, to actually be in an Australian side – it’s pretty amazing,” Hardie-Jones said.
“Like I’ve said to Helen, there’s nothing better than playing for Australia.
“I’m really excited for Helen to be able to get that experience, and maybe next time we’ll all be going together!”
McGee credited Hardie-Jones, as well as NSW representatives Debbie Brown and Kay Poulter, for “telling me not to give up when I’ve gone to give up”.
“I’m lucky enough to be surrounded with a lot of wonderful women that … help and encourage me,” she said.
“Don’t ever think that you can’t do something. Keep persevering.”
Indoor hockey moves a lot faster than the outdoor format of the game, with more required of the goal keeper in a smaller, six-person team.
But McGee is relishing the challenge of adapting to the indoor game.
“”It’s all vocal,” she said. “Everything starts from the back and works its way through, [you’re] the eyes of the team.”
She and Hardie-Jones have been working on their fitness and speed, and following the training programs set for them by Mike.
“It’s amazing how all of us Dubbo players have grown,” Hardie-Jones said.
“Just having someone with that expertise behind Dubbo and country hockey … we’d just like to say thank you.”
McGee departs for Hong Kong on Friday, with the World Cup commencing on February 14.