High flier: Ric Charlesworth in action for Australia

By Richard Bright

A week-long new competition to add development starts in Western Australia – with the backing of the sport’s greats.

A first in Australian hockey, Ric Charlesworth Classic opens with a full round of matches at Perth Hockey Stadium on Sunday.

Hockey WA recently announced a new concept to provide the state’s plethora of top-quality development players an opportunity to experience high-level competition. The Classic is a tournament comprising of 140 of Western Australia’s most talented players.

“It’s an honour – when you get to my stage, if it makes a difference I’m happy to do it,” Charlesworth said.

“I recognise we’re lucky locally, but a lot of players have had their opportunities truncated – our role is to provide an opportunity for them to progress. I’m pleased I can play a role in that.”

The competition comprises of four new women’s and four new men’s teams. Each team will play a total of three rounds over the week, culminating in the finals matches to earn a bronze, silver or gold medal. Coaches, including the great Jamie Dwyer, have been allocated to each team.

“I think it’ll be very competitive. All the teams will want to beat one another and because they’ve been drawn in a draft, they’re going to be very close in talent and ability,” Charlesworth said.

“There’s a whole bunch of players who are aspirational, young players, trying to make their claims.”