Goal spree puts Arthur in line for senior team

LAUNCESTON hockey player Kieron Arthur has made a compelling case for inclusion in Tasmania's senior team after going on a goal-scoring spree at the under-21 nationals.

Kieron Arthur in action for Australia tackling Rob Farrington, of Great Britain, in the gold medal match during the Australian Youth Olympic Festival in Sydney last year.  Picture: GETTY IMAGES

Kieron Arthur in action for Australia tackling Rob Farrington, of Great Britain, in the gold medal match during the Australian Youth Olympic Festival in Sydney last year. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

This is the belief of coach Andrew McDonald after Arthur's goals helped the side to fifth on the ladder and today's playoff against South Australia.

The former Queechy player has struck nine goals in seven matches, eight penalty corners and one reverse-stick tomahawk field goal, to sit second on the tournament goal-scoring table to Blake Govers, of table-topping host New South Wales.

``He's really found his rhythm on the penalty corners and become our go-to man,'' McDonald said.

``He's becoming a lot stronger and more resilient and has made a compelling case for inclusion in the Tigers AHL team.''

Since moving to Hobart to study surveying and join North-West Grads, Arthur has developed into a penalty corner specialist with Tasmanian Institute of Sport head coach McDonald comparing him to some of the best in the business.

``His flicking speed is about 114km/h, which is right up there. Chris Ciriello records about 119, and Kieron's becoming more consistent. We're very happy with his progress.''

Along with Kurt Mackey, Arthur is one of two Tasmanian players granted special permission to compete in the tournament in Sydney despite just missing the age cutoff.

McDonald said the Tasmanian team lost three players to injury and another to work commitments so was grateful to Hockey Australia for allowing the pair to play.

``Northern Territory has seven Queensland and two New South Wales players playing for it so while there was scope for us to get more imports like that we did not want to lose the Tasmanian flavour to the team. 

``It did not sit comfortably with me, and luckily Hockey Australia endorsed our request.''

McDonald said that Arthur, who represented Australia at the Youth Olympics in Sydney last year and played for the under-20 national team in the Sultan of Johor Cup in Malaysia, will feature in a penalty corner flicking camp after the tournament along with teammate Josh Beltz.

He said Arthur pushing for inclusion in the Tasmanian AHL team also provided healthy competition for regular penalty corner taker and fellow Launceston product Nick Budgeon.

Considering his team's injury issues, McDonald said fifth was a fair place for its week's efforts and said Launceston's Jayden Pearson had also had a solid tournament in goal, including a particularly strong performance against Victoria.

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