Bundy hockey players make World Cup teams
BUNDABERG'S Scott Whitaker will be able to fulfil a dream when he dons the green and gold at next year's FIH Masters World Cup in Canberra.
The 37-year-old Cities striker found out he had made the over-35s team after the Masters Australian Championships in Cairns on Sunday.
Although Whitaker has represented Australia before, this will be his first World Cup and the talented hockey player will also have the responsibility of being the side's vice captain.
"This is my third year playing for Australia but becoming vice captain came as a bit of a shock," he said.
"I've yet to play a World Cup so that is really exciting.
"As vice captain I'll play a bigger role in the setup of the team to ensure its success."
Whitaker believed his consistency across the season for Cities had helped him make the 18-man squad.
Cities won the Bundaberg competition but in the Premier League lost out to eventual winners Wallaroos in the semi-final.
"My approach in every game is to try to get the best out of myself and continually improve," he said.
Whitaker was part of the successful Australian team that defeated New Zealand in the Trans-Tasman Masters event in Melbourne earlier this year.
"Hopefully we can have similar success at the World Cup and bring home a gold medal,' he said.
"This is the first time the over 35s will feature in the World Cup so it is a real unknown."
Whitaker wasn't the only Bundaberg player to receive the national call-up.
Dean Wightman (over-45s) and Kayleen Kirchner (over-55s) both won spots in their respective age groups.
Wightman told the NewsMail it was an amazing feeling to represent Australia.
"I found out about 80 guys were nominated for the team, which is a lot more than normal."
"So to be picked for a second World Cup is an enormous privilege."
Wightman said he was one of three players from the 2014 World Cup-winning team to feature in the 2016 side.
"So there will be a lot of new faces," he said.
"We'll have a training camp in Perth and that will probably be in late January or February.
"As reigning world champions we want to defend our title."