Scouts have started scoping out potential Kookaburras and Hockeyroos at the under-18 nationals at St Leonards, with one particular scout standing well and truly out.
Former Kookaburra captain Mark Knowles OAM will be on the sidelines during the week-long tournament.
The 37-year-old started his new role as technical lead for Hockey Australia in February, with aims to create pathways for younger players to make it into international programs and eventually Australian teams.
"[It's] really interesting to see the different levels of the players, the different states and how they play differently structurally but also technically as well," Knowles said.
"I'm really enjoying it."
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After a quiet 2020 for many a hockey player across Australia, Knowles hoped talented under-18 players had used the spell to their advantage.
"What we would hope is that technical skill may have had the chance to improve because there's been less competition but players have been able to train," he said.
"What we hope to continue to see over the next couple of days is a high level of technical skill, the part that's going to take a bit more time to sharpen up is the tactical and match play.
"What hockey needs to continue to show is that we understand we've lost that last year and it's going to take some players some time, but you also get a good gauge after those seven matches."
The Athens Olympics gold medalist expected a taxing first three games for players given the hiatus and high volume of matches in the week.
"That'll be a challenge for them, but they are also 16-18 year old kids so we hope the energy levels remain high," Knowles said.
Hockey Tasmania chief executive Damian Smith said scouts will be at the Northern Hockey Centre throughout the week observing talent from each state and territory.
"This is a really important ... this is one of their last opportunities to get identified," he said.
"They're the next group of Kookaburras in the next eight years time really - beyond Paris is where these guys will start to kick in."
This is one of their last opportunities to get identifiedDamian Smith
The women's under-18 team got off to a hot start to the tourney, downing NSW 2-1 on the first day.
The latter scored early in the second quarter, however Tasmania's Isabelle Kruimink struck back four minutes later.
Teammate Zayna Jackson put the home team on top in the final eight minutes.
The men's team had a less than ideal start to their championship campaign, falling to the Northern Territory.
Tasmania's Milo Gee scored the first goal five minutes in, however the visitors scored four unanswered to win 4-1.