Fiji is a dream for Aussie captain
TWELVE months ago, Lincoln Parkinson never dreamed that he would play hockey for Australia let alone captain his country.
Well, his dream became a reality in Fiji.
The 20-year-old former Maryborough Wallaroos representative and St Mary’s College student played for and captained the Australian Country under-21 team in the Oceania Pacific Cup.
Now living in Toowoomba and playing his club hockey for the premiers, Newtown Tigers, Parkinson and his team-mates finished third in the tournament.
They won five of the seven pool games they played before losing 4-1 to the New Zealand Barbarians in the semi-finals.
They bounced back from that disappointment by crushing the New Zealand Maori team 5-1 in the play-off for third and fourth place.
But how did Parkinson, who was named in the Australian team after impressing selectors while playing for South Australia in the Australian Country Championships in Tamworth, get to captain the team, a role he wasn’t expecting?
Well, it seems the original tour captain didn’t have the best of tournaments.
“He got injured during the second game and that was the end of his tour,” said Parkinson, who started playing for Wallaroos when he was four and left when he was 18 to go to university in Toowoomba.
“I had no idea I was in the running to captain the team until the coach threw me the captain’s band and told me to put it on during the game after he was taken off.
“It came as a huge surprise but it was a massive honour.
“To play for your country is a big enough thrill but to get the chance to captain it is beyond words.”
But playing for and captaining his country wasn’t the only new experience for Parkinson, a midfielder, who was spending time catching up with family and friends in Maryborough yesterday before heading back to Toowoomba today.
He was there when the cyclone battered the Fijian islands and he faced a Haka from the New Zealand Maori team.
“The cyclone was something I would say that I’d not like to experience again,” Parkinson said.
“It was wild I can tell you because I think we were only something 20km away from it – we all had to take shelter as best we could and just hope we made it.
“We did but the same cannot be said for the washing machine at where were staying – it was wrecked.
“My brother said he could smell me coming when we landed in Brisbane,” he laughed.