Casey Eastham is the rising star of the Australian national women’s team: the Hockeyroos. During the upcoming Samsung Champions Trophy in
By Carly Hackett, Hockey NSW
Ten years ago Casey Eastham was a 10 year old primary school student on the NSW south coast playing hockey, touch football and little athletics. Hockey ran in the family with both her parents and her brother playing at a high level and so for Casey it came naturally.
At age ten in the lead up to the Sydney Olympics, Eastham recalls going to see the Hockeyroos play a game in
“I remember hanging around after the game with my best friend daring each other to go up to Alyson Annan.”
Eastham loved hockey from a young age and the choice to pursue hockey over other sports by the age of thirteen was all part of the dream to compete in an Olympic Games one day.
The pathway for Eastham was somewhat fast tracked, with her true talent and ability seeing her make her debut for the Hockeyroos at just 17 years of age.
She recalls her first international for
“Frank called late in the first half and informed me I was going on. All I remember of that game was my first touch of the ball when I went in for a tackle and got knocked flat and ended up with the Argentinean player on top of me.”
Now, at age 20, Eastham is living the dream, after her Australian debut in 2006 she is now a regular member of the Hockeyroos and achieved her childhood dream when she went to the Beijing Olympics at just 19 years of age.
In the three short years since Eastham’s debut, she has travelled around the globe playing hockey as a teenager.
“Being able to travel the world doing something that you love is definitely the best part.
“We went on an AIS tour to
Playing sport for your country doesn’t come without its share of struggles however as Eastham notes the sacrifices being the hardest thing to deal with.
“Missing birthdays and family functions and things that you just can’t have back is hard. It was hard getting used to that, but I definitely wouldn’t change any of the experiences I’ve had.”
The Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) hockey program is located in
“Each year for the start of the scholarship we have to move to
“It is a fresh new group and whilst there is a lot of pressure on some of the new players, it is an exciting feeling. The Spar Cup win was reassuring to know that we can match it with the top teams.”
Whilst she is still one of the younger players, Eastham’s experience sees her as one of the more senior members of the team now.
“I do feel a bit more pressure now. I never really used to get nervous, but at the Olympics and since then I tend to feel it before every game.”
The Beijing Olympics seemed to be a turning point for the 19 year old. There was talk about her retiring from the game to start a life and family – which didn’t align well with Australian coach Frank Murray’s comments that Eastham has the potential to one day be the best player in the world.
“It’s funny because I actually do want to be the best player in the world. I’ve always had high expectations of myself which can be good, but I’ve had to realise that I must be patient and that I still have a lot of learning and growing to do as a player.”
Having already been to her first Olympics, Eastham is in the unique position of being able to aim for three Olympic Games.
Eastham jokes about 27 being ‘old’ but clarifies that she does want to settle down and have a family at some point.
So what of life off the hockey field? Eastham is hoping to gain entry into an elite athlete university program in
As a mature and natural speaker, Eastham has done a number of media appearances and photo shoots and doesn’t mind the chance to build her profile a little.
“It’s good knowing I’m not recognised everywhere I go but at the same time I think any publicity for the sport is good.”
When she returns to her local club in
“It’s nice being looked up to and I have to laugh when I see little kids nervous to come up to me for an autograph. I want to be approachable and stay level-headed and I think I’m lucky I have my friends and family who help me to do that.”
Asked if there was one thing she could change or alter in the sport of hockey, Eastham decides it would be to grow the name at a national level in a similar way that netball has in recent times.
“A full season national league would be good I think, good to raise the interest from the community. Hockey is very deserving and a great spectator sport so I don’t see why sponsorship and television coverage couldn’t happen.”
The Samsung Women’s Champions Trophy in
“I’m really looking forward to playing in
“There is a lot of pressure though and high expectations to perform, but regardless it is going to be a lot of fun.”
Eastham will line up for the Hockeyroos in the midfield when they take on the world’s top teams in the Champions Trophy in a bid to improve their fifth ranking after the Beijing Olympics.
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