ON GUARD: Wallaroos defender Tarack Chappell is playing for Australia's Country under-21 team in Fiji. A former attacker, he has found a home in the defensive line.
ON GUARD: Wallaroos defender Tarack Chappell is playing for Australia's Country under-21 team in Fiji. A former attacker, he has found a home in the defensive line. Matthew McInerney

Maryborough hockey product on tour of Fiji

HOCKEY: Tarack Chappell cuts a relaxed figure sitting in the grandstand at Maryborough Hockey's fields.

He is dressed in the bright, gold and green - the gold is similar in brightness to the canary yellow donned by Australia's limited overs cricket teams in decades past - but the Wallaroos product is surprising calm despite his impending international hockey tour.

"Just getting to stand there and put (the uniform) on was a good feeling,” Chappell said.

"You don't really get to represent your country or wear those colours too often.

"It's what you strive to do, it's why you play sport and put so many hours into the game, and to finally be able to wear the colours and realise what you're doing and what you've done is a really good feeling.”

Wallaroos hockey player Tarack Chappell is playing Australia's Country under-21 team in Fiji.
Wallaroos hockey player Tarack Chappell is playing Australia's Country under-21 team in Fiji. Matthew McInerney

The 18-year-old earned his place in the Australian Country Under-21s after his form for Queensland Country at the national titles, and flew out the day after our Wednesday afternoon interview.

"I haven't thought about it too much, you try not to worry about these things too early,” Chappell told the Chronicle before he flew out for Fiji.

"It's starting to creep into the mind, what you need to do, where you need to be going - I've never been there before and never been that far overseas so it's exciting.”

He is no stranger to representative teams. He has countless Queensland shirts in the Chappell home's ever-expanding rep jersey wardrobe, including various age groups for indoor and field hockey.

His only previous international tour came when he was part of Queensland schoolboys' tour of New Zealand.

"That was the under-19s. It was a good experience and quality competition so I'm expecting the same, if not better, from this tour,” Chappell said.

"We're playing about five games over 10 days, and on those rest days you get to explore the city, which should be a good experience.”

It will be the perfect way to cap a 2018 marked by more games and opportunities in open-age competition.

"I went to South Australia for the open men's country championships but this year has really been a slower year with less championships, but the titles have been a lot more higher competition. With the feedback I've been given, I believe next year will be a really good year for me.”

He is unsure where he will play in 2019. A home-grown Heritage City product who played all of his junior hockey - and won several titles - for Wallaroos, Chappell divided his time between the Maryborough Hockey powerhouse and Brisbane side Norths this year.

"Each weekend, nearly every Saturday I played for Norths but I got a couple of games for Wallaroos at the end of the year,” Chappell said.

"I love playing for Roos, it's where I grew up and where I've played all of my hockey. I haven't cemented anything (for next year), I'm pretty free so it will depend job-wise and what opportunities pop up.”

Australian Country beat Fiji Presidents 1-0 then beat Fiji Warriors 4-0 in their first two games of the tour.