Josh Beltz already has a lifetime of memories at the Tasmanian Hockey Centre but can’t wait to create another when he represents his country in his home state for the first time.
The 23-year-old will join fellow Tasmanians Jack Welch and captain Eddie Ockenden when the Kookaburras take on Germany in the FIH Pro League on Sunday at a venue he knows better than most.
“I started playing on the grass at Cornelian Bay across the road,” he said after a warm-up session on Saturday.
“I remember my first senior game, my dad called me up and said they were short, I played and ended up scoring a goal for Prince of Wales Wellington.
“All my junior hockey was here. I’ve got very fond memories of being here from nine to five Saturday and Sunday with mum and dad playing, coaching and umpiring, it’s my second home.
“So coming back today is a very proud and humbling experience and having friends and family in the crowd who have been with me on the journey for 15 or so years, it’s great to be able to share it with them.
“Hopefully I can reward them with a good performance tomorrow. It’s going to be very exciting.”
Both national sides are due to play Germany on Sunday.
Fresh from a 1-0 win over world champions Netherlands and 2-1 defeat to Belgium, the third-ranked Hockeyroos defeated China 4-3 on Saturday. Goals from Mariah Williams, Madison Fitzpatrick, Savannah Fitzpatrick and Ambrosia Malone saw off the world’s tenth-ranked team who hit back through Zhong Jiaqi, Dan Wen and Yong Jing.