It’s been almost a year since he played for the Black Sticks, but striker Simon Child is set to get back in action at the Oceania Cup at the end of the month.
The 25-year-old last represented his country at the Champions Trophy in December 2012 and played in the Hockey India League and for European club Rotterdam earlier this year before deciding to take a break from the National Squad.
If he is named in the Black Sticks team of 18 players, Child will go up against Australia, Samoa and Papua New Guinea at the Oceania Cup in Stratford from 30 October - 3 November.
Having been in the National Squad since he was 16 years old, Child felt some time away from the game would help him refresh physically and mentally ahead of a huge year of competition in 2014.
“It’s been a while, it certainly doesn’t feel like a year but I’m looking forward to playing again and it’s been nice to be back in the team environment and see some of the new guys who have been selected,” he said.
“It’s always important to have a bit of a break and take a back seat, after a while playing all the time can catch up with you.
“To be able to have a break and a mental refresher more than anything has been nice. I think anyone who wants to prolong their career needs a break here and there.”
While the Black Sticks have already qualified for the World Cup, the Oceania Cup still offers valuable world ranking points as well as trans-Tasman bragging rights.
Next year sees a heavy schedule for the Black Sticks Men with the World Cup, Commonwealth Games, World League Round 4 and Champions Challenge highlighting the action.
In the meantime Child is looking forward to heading to Stratford, which sees its first taste of international hockey in 50 years.
“I quite enjoy travelling to the small associations. I remember playing some test matches in Palmerston North and Hawke’s Bay and we got a great turn out.
“I know the Taranaki community are pretty excited about the Black Sticks coming down and playing some international hockey. It’s great TET [Taranaki Electricity Trust] have got in behind it with their support as well – it’s a world class facility down there so it will be fun.”
About Oceania Cup
The Oceania Cup is being held at the TET MultiSports Centre in Stratford from 30 October-3 November. The Black Sticks Men and Women will take on Australia, Papua New Guinea and Samoa.
Tickets are available at www.ticketdirect.co.nz