White back with degree of intent

HOCKEY

After nearly a year out of the national team to focus on his university studies, Wollongong rising star Tristan White is looking forward to focusing on hockey again.

White's call-up to the Kookaburras for next week's World League Finals tournament in Delhi will give him his first national cap since the Malaysian Azlan Shar tournament in February last year.

Now with a bachelor of commerce to his name, White is looking forward to the early chance to stake his Commonwealth Games claims at the tournament.

"I'm looking to focusing on hockey for a while," he said

'The last couple of years I've been trying to balance the two and uni has always come out on top because I just wanted to get that done.

"Now that uni's over I just feel like I can go to training, really perform well without too much else to think about, and just fully focus on hockey."

White was one of several new faces called up for the World League as coach Ric Charlesworth looks to manage the workload of senior players in preparation for a massive 2014 that will feature a World Cup, Commonwealth Games and Champions Trophy.

"Ric's rested a few of the senior guys so it's going to be a good opportunity for a few of the newer guys and the younger guys to come through," White said.

"It'll be hard not having certain players like Jamie Dwyer but we've got some really experienced guys like Kieran Govers and Mark Knowles coming back in so the balance of the team is pretty good.

"Although some of the guys are younger and new, on form, they've probably been outperforming most of the guys so we're pretty confident we can win it."

White said the tournament in which Australia will face Belgium, Netherlands and Argentina in the pool stages promises to be the toughest of his career.

"I played the Champions Trophy in 2012 but all the teams have got a lot better since then," he said.

"Belgium's starting to emerge as one of the best teams in the world and we've got to play them in the pools and the Netherlands will obviously be a tough one so it will probably the toughest tournament I've played for sure."

White said he was keen to make a big impression on the Kookaburras' first tournament of the year with a view to World Cup and Commonwealth Games selection and, ultimately, the Rio Olympics.

"I want to play the World Cup and the Commonwealth Games but you've got to carry some strong form.

"You've got to show the coaches that when you're in the team, you can perform well in tournaments."

The coaches wanted to take people who could win games to the Olympics, he said.

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