Anita takes Punt on club

Kiwi Anita Punt, a Commonwealth Games silver medallist, is helping Whitfords Hockey Club get into the top ranks. Picture: Emma Reeves www.communitypix.com.au d403809
Kiwi Anita Punt, a Commonwealth Games silver medallist, is helping Whitfords Hockey Club get into the top ranks. Picture: Emma Reeves www.communitypix.com.au d403809

But it’s rare to find one at the peak of her powers mixing it in lower-tiered competition.

New Zealand’s Anita Punt ” one of the world’s fastest hockey players ” is one of those rare finds.

Whitford Hockey Club, which competes in the second tier of Hockey WA’s women’s competition, has recruited Punt to help it gain promotion to the peak of state hockey ” the Classic League.

It’s a deal that works for both parties, with the Black Sticks Olympian able to keep her hockey sharp, while also holidaying in Perth for the first time.

‘When you do this sort of stuff you get to sit in one place and experience where you are,’ Punt said. ‘With (the) New Zealand (hockey team), you get to travel a lot, but you don’t get to see a lot.’

The 2010 Commonwealth Games silver medallist admitted it was a change in pace from international competition. But she was impressed with some of the players’ skills in two games played so far.

‘I didn’t have high expectations so when I got here it was better than what I had imagined,’ she said.

‘I’ve come just to enjoy myself and I want to help the club as well. Hopefully I can inspire (the players) and teach them a few different things I’ve learned.’ The 25-year-old attacking midfielder returns to New Zealand’s National Hockey League next month to ensure she’s eligible for international selection in the upcoming Oceania Cup against Australia.

She plays her final game for Whitford against Rockingham this Sunday, but confirmed she was likely to return to continue the side’s push for promotion.

Second-placed Whitford has won one from two with Punt onside, including a 10-0 thrashing of the Joondalup Lakers in which she scored a hat trick.

Club president Richard Boseley was buoyed with how the arrangement had turned out.

‘The decision to bring Anita to Perth was not one the club took lightly, but we are excited by what the players can learn from her,’ he said.