Ipswich hockey player Jordyn Holzberger takes control for Australia during last year's World League match against New Zealand in Belgium.
Ipswich hockey player Jordyn Holzberger takes control for Australia during last year's World League match against New Zealand in Belgium. Charles McQuillan

Why sportstar Jordyn is enjoying a double celebration

RECENTLY engaged Ipswich international hockey player Jordyn Holzberger is celebrating another happy occasion on her sporting journey.

She's thrilled to be representing Australia at next month's Commonwealth Games after the team was finally announced.

"It means a lot,'' Holzberger, 24, said.

"It's a home Comm Games, which is really exciting to be able to play in front of your family.''

Holzberger's parents Alison and John have been her biggest supporters, always a tower of strength during Jordyn's overseas trips, her stints living in Perth and injury setbacks.

"It was a long wait for the team to be announced,'' Alison said.

"We were hopeful but not confident because there's a lot of depth in the squad at the moment so we're very thankful and very proud.''

Although she's played nearly 60 international games for Australia, the former Ipswich Girls' Grammar School student was also keen to hear the final Games team confirmed.

Holzberger can now complete preparations for her first Commonwealth Games after a little dinner celebration with friends in Perth.

"It's always in the back of your mind,'' she said of the opportunity to play such a major tournament just an hour from Ipswich.

Having previously lived in Perth for a few years before returning to Queensland, Holzberger moved back to Western Australia in January to be with the national squad.

"It's definitely nice to be back,'' she said of her "second home'' in Perth.

"The training quality is higher over here, which is nice to get a glimpse of day in, day out.

"We also have more skills sessions in the environment just because we are full time.''

Her commitment in making that move helped secure her place in the Hockeyroos side chasing gold at the Gold Coast next month.

"Being in that everyday training environment is just about improving day-to-day,'' she said.

"At the moment, we have got a really diverse, solid group of girls so we have really good depth in the squad. That's a positive.''

Holzberger crafted her hockey skills with Hancock Brothers in the Ipswich competition before making her Queensland debut as a teenager and progressing to Australian honours.

She appreciated the well-wishers, including former coaches, who sent her congratulatory messages.

But while hockey has been a primary focus for many months, Holzberger also became engaged to another highly regarded hockey player Aaron O'Beirne.

Jordyn and Aaron met through hockey and have been a couple for two and a half years.

O'Beirne has played at different times in the Ipswich competition and at state championships, also being chosen in representative teams for South West Queensland and Queensland Country.

Having a supportive partner like O'Beirne and proud Ipswich parents kept Holzberger motivated.

Holzberger joins other Ipswich competitors recently named in Commonwealth Games teams.

Swimmer Leah Neale, athlete Cassie Purdon and weightlifting duo Deb Acason and Alyce Stephenson will also be waving the Ipswich and Australian flags proudly at next month's major international competition.

Games put quality hockey in the spotlight

JORDYN Holzberger's previous biggest international competition was playing for Australia in World League games last year.

But with so many quality teams coming to the Commonwealth Games in Queensland, next month's tournament will put hockey in a new spotlight.

"Definitely, the top three or four teams are quite strong in world hockey now,'' she said, excited about her opportunity.

"It will be a good competition for us.''

The Ipswich talent said recent series against countries like Spain and China had the Hockeyroos feeling confident. "Playing international matches is key for us going into it,'' she said. "You really get game prepared.''

As for the Games venue at Labrador, Holzberger is yet to play on the new surface. "Hopefully it's fast and not too slow,'' the attacking midfielder said.

Holzberger isn't planning to return to Ipswich with all her team commitments leading up to the Games.

The Hockeyroos are heading to the Gold Coast on March 28 to complete preparations for the start of the Games on April 4.


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