Viking squad nod

September 15, 2017

Connor Holland has been identified as a future star of the game.

Hockey Victoria has identified Connor Holland as a future star of the game.

The Shepparton export, fresh from Goulburn Valley Hockey Association glory with the Strikers, has been named as an Emerging Viking — a program designed to nurture and grow Victoria’s next generation of champions.

‘‘This one is really the next step towards Vic senior representation,’’ father Peter Holland said.

‘‘It’s a targeted-type squad, other championships and teams you trial for, but this one he’s been targeted for selection.’’

Remarkably Holland, 16, has mostly won selection through to the Vikings squad (traditionally for those aged 18 to 21) thanks to his performances aged 15 at this year’s under-18 National Outdoor Championships in Tasmania, as well as through his form for Essendon’s Men’s Premier League team.

The Emerging Vikings will train in a six-session block from November to December, as well as four more sessions in January and February.

Holland will also suit up for Victoria in the School Sport Australia 16-and-under Hockey Championships at the Pacific School Games in Adelaide at the start of December, making for yet another busy summer for the rising star.

But after injuring his thigh in the Hockey Victoria under-17 State Championships final in July, and again last weekend in the A-men’s decider, Holland will be taking it easy for a little while longer yet.

‘‘They’ll work around (the Pacific School Games), it shouldn’t get in the way,’’ Peter said.

‘‘He limped off at the end of the grand final, but he’ll be right.’’

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