“It’s still super important to still be able to play for WA in between national commitments,”
“Socially – I love it. Playing with and against those I have grown up around.”
That’s what Kookaburra Ben Rennie had to say about his selection into this year’s Perth Thundersticks squad.
Rennie has had a standout debut international year, appearing numerous times on the highest stage, attaining a new wealth of skills and knowledge the goalkeeper is excited to bring to this year’s Sultana Bran Hockey One League.
“It feels amazing to be able to represent WA this year in Hockey One,” Rennie said.
“It is something that most young hockey players dream of, and I count myself lucky to be able to represent the Perth Thundersticks.”
The 31-year-old has been a part of the Thundersticks squad on-and-off for 11 years, but that’s not the only time he has donned the WA colours with pride.
“As a junior my first outdoor state team was my last year of under-21s in 2010,” he said.
“That was an experience I will never forget. [We played] in front of a home crowd in Perth and we won the tournament.
“I have played indoor hockey for WA since under 18s in 2007.”
His hockey journey began early, first picking up a stick at the minkey level.
“My dad was playing and got me into it and also coached me until under-13s,” Rennie said.
“I played at Hale until last season and my dad has always been involved with the club.
“He was the President at Hale for a few years so I was always around the club and have made some lifelong friends through the club and sport.”
But surprisingly, Rennie has not always found himself at the most defensive point on the field.
“I did not start as a Goalkeeper until under-15s after a couple of my coaches at the club saw some potential,” he said.
“At the time, dad wasn’t very supportive of me putting on the pads, but I think I’ve changed his opinion of that over time.”
In the 15-odd years of being in the goals, Rennie has developed and excelled – to the point of making his international debut in April this year.
To make things even more special, he was able to do so in front of a home crowd at Perth Hockey Stadium at Curtin University.
But his journey hasn’t always been easy.
“The last 10 years for me have been a tough journey,” Rennie said.
“I have never been WAIS recognised so my development has all been on me, seeking out extra coaching sessions, taking every opportunity I could to attend Kookaburras trainings when invited and keeping up my skills during the indoor seasons too.
“I have been lucky enough to represent Australia at two Indoor World Cups and I really think my indoor hockey has helped me be the player I am today.”
This year’s Sultana Bran Hockey One League carries extra meaning, with the sides finally able to return to the field after a tumultuous past couple of years.
“It makes it even more special as we haven’t played for so long due to the pandemic and I know all the boys are super keen and excited to be able to play again,” Rennie says.
The Fremantle Cockburn Hockey Club star said he’s got fond memories of playing for our great city, some from just a number of years ago.
“I think my best memory playing for the Thundersticks would be a few years ago playing in Melbourne,” he said.
“Being able to travel in a home and away season again and head away with the team is a great experience, and we also took the win.”
This year’s competition is set to certainly be a battle, but Rennie and his teammates are all raring and ready to go.
“I think the biggest challenge for us this year will be the New South Wales Pride,” he said.
“They have a very good core and a fierce strike line and corner attack.
“But some teams may surprise us this year like the Tassie Tigers.
“They have a lot of extremely good young players lead by some world class international legends.”
And while Rennie has had an outstanding year thus far – and it is only June – he said staying true to his roots is still important to him.
“It is great to be able to showcase the best talent in WA and hopefully inspire younger players to do their best and aim as high as possible with their hockey,” he said.
“It’s great to see players around you being recognised from representing WA and elevated to the National or Development Squads.”
Rennie will also be afforded the opportunity to tavel with the Kookaburras Commonwealth Games squad heading to Europe, after being selected in the travelling party.
For the Sultana Bran Hockey One League fixtures – please click here.