ROOKIE Kookaburras forward Tom Craig and Commonwealth Games swimmer Laura Crockart were crowned joint 2014–15 TWT Club Six/Ryde Sports Foundation Sport Stars of the Year at the Gala Presentation Dinner on Friday 1 May 2015 at Ryde Eastwood Leagues Club.
The gifted Craig, who made his senior international debut with the world champion Kookaburras hockey team at the 2014 Champions Trophy in India, is one of the best prospects to emerge from the Ryde-Hunters Hill Hockey Club for many a year.
From the synthetic turf at North Ryde’s Keith Thompson Hockey Centre to the exotic venues of India—that was the scenario for teenage hockey sensation TOM CRAIG in December 2014 when he represented the Kookaburras at the Champions Trophy in Bhubaneswar.
The Ryde-Hunters Hill junior product was part of a new-look Kookaburras side that was forced to blood several new faces due to the unavailability of key senior players.
Craig made his senior international debut against India in the lead-up to the Champions Trophy, where Australia was chasing a sixth successive title.
He is one of the most skilful attacking midfield/strikers to emerge from the Panthers’ junior system and showed a maturity that belied his years when blooded in the Kookaburras team.
The Australian squad, which contained 11 World Cup winners and 11 Commonwealth Games gold medalists, went on to reach the semifinals where they were beaten 3-2 by eventual winners Germany.
It was a valuable experience for Tom, who helped the Kookaburras finish third overall after toppling India 2-1 in the bronze medal play-off.
National selectors used the Champions Trophy as an opportunity to expose younger players to the rigours of international competition, with Tom turning in mature displays.
Young Craig was earmarked for higher honours since starting his hockey career with the Ryde club as a five year old.
Tom made his top grade debut in the Sydney Premier League against Moorebank as a 16 year old in 2011 after skilful performances for Sydney and NSW junior representative squads.
He starred on the Australian Schoolboys’ triumphant tour of South Africa before showing his wares at U/21 international level.
The dynamic Craig was a stand-out at the Junior World Cup and helped Australia win gold at the Youth Olympic Festival in Sydney where he scored a vital goal in the 5-4 victory over Great Britain in the final but the boom midfielder soon relocated to Perth when he bid to be a part of the Kookaburras’ line up for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio De Jainero.
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