Pedigreed Peris ready to stick it to ’em

Brooke Peris in action during game three of the International Test match series between the Australian Hockeyroos and Spain in Perth in January. PIc: Daniel Carson/www.dcimages.org)

She comes from a famous Australian sporting dynasty, but Hockeyroo Brooke Peris says she’s felt never felt the weight of family expectations when it comes to winning and performing.

Peris, 25, overcame injury to be named last week in the Australian women’s hockey team to compete in the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast next month.

The cousin of former Olympic Hockeyroo and sprinter Nova Peris and an Olympian in her own right, Brooke Peris will fly out of Perth to Queensland next week.

She competed in the 2016 Rio Games and this will be her second Commonwealth Games after Glasgow in 2014.

“I have the most supportive family,” Peris told NIT. “It’s just what everyone does.

“It’s like ‘good luck for your game’ and ‘we’ll be watching’, but there’s no pressure to win or perform.

“I never feel pressure from my family, only support.”

Peris’ inclusion in the team was touch and go as she worked to overcome a quad injury.

“It felt like forever,” she said. “I was a bit unsure whether I would make the team.

“My strength and conditioning coach got me really fit and strong to make sure that I would be right for selection.”

She said the team was training flat-out in Perth and would only start to taper when it flew out to Queensland.

Peris’ boyfriend and fellow Darwin hockey star Jeremy Hayward was also selected to play in the Australian men’s hockey team, the Kookaburras.

She said their relationship could be competitive.

“We are competitive,” she said. “I don’t know what it is. We both want to win at everything, but at the same time we support each other.

“He’s more like the relaxed guy (whereas) I have to follow strict everything to make sure I get the right results.”

She said the pair compared everything from fitness scores to times.

“We make sure we compare our times and who is faster and the fittest,” she said.

“Sometimes we have quite heated conversations, but at the end of the day we love each other.”

Peris said she was expecting her toughest on-field competition on the Gold Coast to come from England, New Zealand and South Africa.

One of her brothers and his girlfriend would be on the Gold Coast to watch the Games, but she said other family members would watch on television from the Northern Territory.

“My little brother, he’s 10, when I rang him on Friday to tell him that I’m in the Commonwealth Games, he said ‘What, you’re still playing hockey? I’m like ‘Yes I am’,” she said.

“He’s like ‘That’s pretty cool. Will you come home after the Comm Games?’

“I think he’ll watch me on TV. They will record the game or watch me if they can.”

Peris also had this advice for other aspiring young athletes: “Just keep going. If you enjoy what you do and you really love it, if you are talented or not talented at it, just work towards it and anything could happen.

“We have natural-talent athletes in our team and girls in our team who have never been selected for any national, but they kept going and they kept training hard and eventually it paid off.

“The team has a great mixture of people and the thing we have in common is that we all worked hard and we never stopped working hard to wear the Australian colours.

“It’s a big credit to a lot of people who don’t stop and keep doing their best.”

Wendy Caccetta

reporter@nit.com.au

 

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