Lara Watts in Australian under 18 indoor hockey train-on squad

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

DESPITE playing out of position at the Australian under 18 indoor hockey championships, Lara Watts has been named in a squad chosen by Hockey Australia to attend a training camp in October.

Lara was a member of the NSW under 18 women's team that domination the Australian championships held in Wollongong. NSW swept aside all opposition to go through the tournament undefeated.

While Lara thought she played 'alright' she wasn't too confident of making the 25 strong train-on squad.

"I'm usually a striker,'' she explained.

"But I played fullback at the nationals, so it was a bit unfamiliar.''

The three-day camp will give Australia's leading indoor coaches the opportunity to work with players and will be used as a lead-in to the Australian under 21 side.

Lara, now 18, has been a regular in State indoor teams since she was 12, despite only playing indoor hockey at representative trials, due to a lack of a local competition until the last two seasons. She's also played field hockey for NSW since she was 12 in the various age divisions.

Pressed, Lara says he prefers indoor.

"Indoor's faster and I think it's more skillful,'' she explained.

"It's definitely more structured.''

Lara completed year 12 in 2019 at Taree High, but will be staying in the area for at least another 12 months, where she'll attend TAFE.

So she won't be involved in field hockey schoolgirl competitions or championships this year. Lara was a member of Taree High School's champion State CHS team for the past three years while she was a key member of the Hunter team that won the NSW Regional championship for the past five years.

However, 2020 will still be busy. Lara's off to trials next weekend at Homebush for the NSW under 18s. She's made the team for the past three seasons. The Australian under 18 championships will be played in Launceston this year.

Lara Watts with her gold medal after the Australian indoor hockey championships at Wollongong.

Lara Watts with her gold medal after the Australian indoor hockey championships at Wollongong.

She'll also play for Manning Valley in the State under 18 titles. Manning has been a runner up in division two for the past two seasons. Lara will lineup for Town in the Manning Valley division one competition. Town will be shooting for a third successive premiership in 2020. Lara will mix this with playing for Souths in Newcastle.

Last season she played a grand final in Newcastle then had to make a rushed trip home to Taree for Town's grand final, where she scored the winning goal in extra time. (Fellow Manning player Eamon Smith has been named in the under 18 boy's train-on squad by Hockey Australia).

This story Watts named in Australian U18 squad first appeared on Manning River Times.