North Harbour striker Daniel Harris is the one uncapped player named today in the men's Black Sticks squad for next month's Oceania Cup in Sydney.

And the selection of the 18-man squad reinforces a solid selection premise that good things do come to those who perform strongly when it matters.

North Harbour won the men's national league title in Wellington last Sunday, were demonstrably the best, most entertaining side on show and have been rewarded with five players in the squad. Beaten finalists Auckland have four.

Harris, who has moved up from Capital to Harbour, had a strong tournament, scoring five goals and caught the eye of national coach Darren Smith.


''That (North Harbour) environment is what led to us playing such good hockey and allowed me to come out of my shell a bit more," the 20-year-old Harris said today.

Harris flew to Australia today as part of the national men's development squad to play in the Australian Hockey League. That will be a big step up and won't hurt ahead of the Oceania tournament, which also features Papua New Guinea as well as world No 2 Australia.

''It's definitely going to be the most intense month of hockey in my life so far. It's super exciting," Harris said.

He'll have Smith's advice ringing in his ears though: ''Darren said 'you'll be coming up against some of the hardest defenders in the world, just continue what you're doing, don't over think it', and that gave me a lot of confidence."

Smith confirmed Harris had been in his thinking before the NHL and last week effectively told the selectors 'pick me'.

''He really played well. He's quick, evasive and does score a goal. He does cause defenders a problem with his one-on-one ability," Smith added.

Canterbury striker Sam Lane was top scorer at the NHL with a whopping 13 goals from six games, albeit six came in their last match against hapless Northland.

How Lane and Harris are able to blend into a quality attacking combination will be among the more intriguing aspects of the tournament.

The Black Sticks, ranked eighth in the world, are missing a clutch of experienced players, who are based in Europe for now, such as Shea McAleese, Hugo Inglis, Stephen Jenness, Blair Tarrant, Kane Russell and Nic (crrt) Wood.

Smith's view is this is a strong chance for players to show what they can offer, the squad not being dissimilar from that which finished sixth in the world league semifinals in Johannesburg in July.

Auckland's Arun Panchia will captain the Black Sticks, and with 227 caps is easily the most experienced player in the squad. Only fellow Aucklanders Marcus Child (103) and Devon Manchester (113) have also passed a century of appearances.

The women's squad for the Oceanias will be named today (crrt).

New Zealand men's team for the Oceania Cup in Sydney, starting on October 11:
Goalkeepers: Devon Manchester (Auckland), Richard Joyce (North Harbour).
Defenders: Cory Bennett (North Harbour), David Brydon (Canterbury), Harry Miskimmin, Brad Read (Capital), Arun Panchia (c, Auckland).
Midfielders: Marcus Child (Auckland), Nick Elder, Nick Ross (Southern), James Coughlan, George Muir (North Harbour), Hayden Phillips (Central).
Attackers: Daniel Harris (North Harbour), Leo Mitai-Wells (Midlands), Sam Lane (Canterbury), Jared Panchia (Auckland), Mac Wilcox (Central).