Ash Thomas is preparing to pull on the green-and-gold. Source: News Limited
Ash Thomas is the last line of defence, but he wouldn’t have it any other way, and his leadership at the back has earned him a guernsey in the Australian under-21 hockey team.
The 18-year-old from Baulkham Hills is used to playing representative hockey, and has close to a decade under his belt in the keeping pads.
Thomas, who plays representative for the NSW under-21s and Sydney, will be heading to Malaysia to compete at the Sultan Johor Cup with the Burras.
homas and his teammates have been selected to pull on the green-and-gold at this tournament as they are prospects for the 2016 Junior World Cup.
The Sultan Johor Cup is a chance for the Aussies to gain valuable first class international experience at junior level.
Australia’s Burras will face Great Britain, India, Malaysia, New Zealand and Pakistan in the six team round-robin competition in Johor Bahru, between October 12-19.
After departing on October 6, Thomas and his team will face Singapore and New Zealand in two warm-up games in Singapore prior to arriving in Malaysia on October 9.
And the young keeper is sure to be tested.
Flashback: Hockey runs in the family, Ash (with his younger brother Cody) in 2010.
Flashback: Hockey runs in the family, Ash (with his younger brother Cody) in 2010. Source: News Limited
The Burras will be led by Head Coach Ben Bishop, who has served as an assistant coach to the senior men, the Kookaburras, for the past 18 months.
Hockey Australia’s National Junior Coach, Paul Gaudoin, who leads the program said: “The Sultan Johor Cup provides an opportunity for our young athletes to compete on an international stage at the only FIH-endorsed junior international competition outside of the Junior World Cup.”
“It’s a valuable opportunity for our athletes to be exposed to different international playing styles ranging from Asian teams to European teams, and Oceania teams, to experience different cultures, and to be exposed to all that goes on in and around international tournaments,” he said.
“Tours such as this allow us to assess our young athletes on an international stage, to help with their individual development to become Kookaburras of the future.”