Rocky goalkeeper fires in Queensland debut
INDOOR HOCKEY: Kyanna Willie is celebrating after winning a national title in her first outing for Queensland.
The Rockhampton goalkeeper was a member of the Queensland Fire which won the Australian under-13 girls indoor hockey championships in Wollongong.
The Fire lost just one game throughout the tournament, going down to the other Queensland team, which they ended up meeting and beating in the grand final to take the title.
The team, coached by Rockhampton's Cathy Irwin, also received the Play the Whistle Award for the spirit in which they played.
Kyanna said it was great to play at national level, with the highlight the hard- fought win over her fellow Queenslanders in the final.
"It was a pretty close one; we scored in the first half and got our second goal with just five minutes to go in the second half,” the 13-year-old said.
"When I went to Wollongong I was hoping we could just make the finals so to end up winning was really exciting.
"The competition was strong; it was a big step up from what I normally play in Rockhampton.
"It was my first Queensland team and I was pretty happy with how I played.”
Kyanna, who plays outdoor hockey with Park Avenue, made the transition from field player to goalkeeper just a few years ago.
"I started in the goal when I was under-12. They asked me to play in the box because we had no goalie and I just kept playing there.
"You've got to be very talkative and you have to know the game well.
"I really like seeing the game from the back.”
Kyanna says while she prefers the intensity and frenetic pace of indoor hockey, her next goal is to make a state outdoor team.
She said she drew a lot of inspiration from her dad Cameron who also played in the goal for Queensland and the success of older brother Jackson, who is currently touring Europe with the Australian men's indoor team.
Mum Amanda said that while Kyanna was sweating it out in 40-degree heat in Wollongong, Jackson was trying to acclimatise to near freezing conditions in Brussels.
"We've been emailing and sending messages on Facebook. It was two degrees in Brussels and Jackson was complaining about the cold,” she said.
"Meanwhile, Kyanna was having to play in some really hot conditions in Wollongong.
"It was very exciting to see the girls win and to have two Queensland teams in the final.
"It was a really even competition across the board.”