Sparks trio sharpen up in European wander
By CRAIG ROSScraigr@gladstoneobserver.dyndns.org
THERE'S a long way to go yet but it just may be that a Wanderers hockey tour to Europe could help Sparks to CQ Extended League glory next season.
Sparks trio Dean Gorda and brothers Warwick and Nathan Smith will join the 32-strong Wanderers squad (16 men, 16 women) to tour Europe next month and the experience they will gain should be a boost to the club.
However, even more than the tour itself, the players' preparations for it may be the key ingredient to an improved season with Sparks eager to amend for missing the CQ Extended League finals this year.
Gorda and the Smith brothers have been training for three months at Natalie Jenkinson's Burua Boxing Club in preparation for the tour alongside clubmates Sam Nicol, Trent Leask and Gary Porteous who are also seeking an edge for next season.
Gorda said because the tour was being conducted during the Australian off-season, the travelling trio did not want to be caught short on fitness for the Wanderers tour.
'We don't want to go over there and not be competitive,' Gorda said. 'We may as well be fit and Natalie's really flogging us.'
The Sparks connection will be joined by Rockhampton CQU Wanderers pair Rob Finlay and Dave Kershaw, the latter a former Sparks team-mate.
The Wanderers team will consist of players throughout Australia with the team to head off to Europe on January 16.
The Australians will come up against strong club sides in Paris, Antwerp and Amsterdam and, although the Wanderers team is made up of players who nominated themselves, Gorda believes the standard of competition will be strong.
'It will be a good experience and we should learn a few things we can hopefully bring back to the club,' he said.