Bendigo hockey stars gear up to represent country 

TRACEY Johnson and Jarrod Lougoon have booked their spots on national team tours after outstanding performances at the Australian Country Hockey Championships.

The Bendigo duo starred for Victoria Country at the national championships in Geraldton earlier this month.

Johnson shone in defence as the ‘Big V’s’ senior women’s team finished fourth.

The 27-year-old will now travel to New Zealand with the women’s Australia Country team in March for tournaments on the east coast and in Auckland.

“This was my first time playing nationals, I was pretty happy and a bit shocked to be picked,” Johnson said.

“It was an ambition, it’s something that I always wanted to do and to represent Australia is nice and I’m a bit humbled to be picked.

“I’ve played at the top league in Victoria before, but nothing like this.”

Lougoon was one of Victoria Country’s rising stars at Geraldton.

His efforts in defence for the senior men’s team, which finished fifth, saw him earn selection in the under-21s tour of Fiji in December.

The under-21s will play three Tests against the hosts’ under-21s, before a four-Test series against Fiji’s senior men’s national team.

Lougoon trialled for the Victoria Country team last year, but missed out.

However, a stint playing in the Netherlands helped him improve his game.

“I came back earlier this year and focused on Vic Country and tried to push for this under-21s side,” he said.

“I learned a lot, a whole different game style. They have different playing styles, positioning and different set-ups.”

Meanwhile, the finals of the Hockey Central Victoria’s under-13 and under-15 mixed competitions continue on Saturday.

Senior preliminary finals will be held on Sunday and grand finals will be played on Sunday, September 8. 

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