Whanganui players make up more than two thirds of the New Zealand U13 rink hockey squad to play a one-off Trans-Tasman test against Australia at Easter 2020 in New Plymouth.
While it was a massive achievement for nine Whanganui skaters to be included in the 13-strong mixed gender squad, it was hardly surprising.
Whanganui fielded two teams in the U13 division of the 2019 National Roller Hockey Championships at the Jubilee Stadium in September and came away with the quinella after playing each other in the final.
Goalie Isabel (9), and field player sister Michaela (11) Ross, faced off in the national age group final that day with the younger sibling's team coming away with the title. In fact, there are two sets of Whanganui siblings named with 11-year-old Ella-Grace Smee and 9-year-old sister Brighton also making the squad.
Winning Whanganui coach Dave Dench is also the national U13 coach and named the first national U13 side on Sunday.
Both Ross siblings have been named in the New Zealand squad along with seven others - Henry White (11), Eden Ashby (9), Brighton Smee (9), Siobhan Pitkethley (11), Charlie Teager (11), Ella-Grace Smee (11) and Mika Groves (11) - on the strength of that performance.
Andrea Ross managed the Whanganui U13 team and will also manage the national squad for the upcoming Trans-Tasman at Easter Weekend in April next year.
"New Zealand and Australia do have history, but not at this level," Ross said.
"There has never been an U13 team compete in the Trans Tasman. We are a lot stronger at this age group level now. It has been a massive effort for Whanganui to have nine of the 13-strong national squad named - we are so proud of them. The other players chosen include three from New Plymouth - Larkin Mills (11), Quinn Fraser (11) and Nandu Ram (10) - and one from Motueka, Mya Keretai (11).
"All the Kids have trained very hard to make the New Zealand team. They have all shown dedication and perseverance and listen to all the coach's advice to achieve their goal of making the New Zealand U13s rink hockey team," Ross said.