Thursday, July 7, 2022

‘Don’t stand so close to me’: Hayward brothers prepare for Olympic battle royale

Leon and Jeremy Hayward will provide a unique sporting rivalry of their own when Australia and New Zealand line up in the men’s Olympics hockey tournament on Wednesday.

Leon plays in goal for the Black Sticks while forward Jeremy, with goals in the last two matches, will be looking to contribute to Australia’s scoring spree for the highly-fancied Kookaburras.

There’s no love lost between the pair clearly and Leon – who has played for Australia in the past but qualifies to play for NZ due to his Mum Ellie’s Dunedin roots – brought his parents into the matter to settle it once and for all.

“New Zealand,” was his response to the New Zealand Herald when asked who his parents would be cheering for.

“They go for Jeremy but they obviously like New Zealand a bit better.”

Owing to strict Covid protocols the pair, perhaps for the best, have been kept apart.

Although they are likely to both face each other, with Jeremy a short corner specialist facing up to the Kiwi goal.

“I think I saw him for about two minutes and from about two-and-a-half metres away. That was kind of it,” said Leon, whose teammate Blair Tarrant agreed with the Hayward parents’ wisdom.

“Not much will be said but we’ve got the better Hayward so we’ll leave it at that.”

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