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Hockey star gives AFL a crack

SUNS TV: Aleisha Neumann talks Talent ID SUNS TV caught up with national hockey umpire Aleisha Neumann to discuss juggling her passions for hockey and AFL.
I like doing well at things and I want to give 100% to both so it’s just a matter of whether I can fit that into my schedule and make sure I can give 100%.
Aleisha Neumann

She may still be a newcomer to AFL, but Toowoomba hockey player and umpire Aleisha Neumann is no stranger to talent identification days.

Neumann was a standout at the Gold Coast SUNS’ Women’s Football Talent ID Day in Townsville over the weekend, displaying the skills she has utilised for over 20 years on the hockey field.

She has represented Toowoomba, Queensland and the Australian Country Women’s team and is now one of Australia’s highest ranked international hockey umpires, headed to the Commonwealth Games.

While her hockey career looks promising, Neumann has also been drawn to football and hopes to be able to translate her skills from one to the other in the coming years.

“Hockey’s a similar sport in that we’re on a big field, so we’ve got a lot of continuous running,” Neumann told SUNS TV.

“We need to be quite agile to avoid defenders so the testing themselves were quite similar to the hockey stuff.”

Currently working as a high school teacher alongside her umpiring duties, Neumann said it was great to see so many women supporting each other across the testing.

“I only knew one other girl who’s a hockey player this morning but now I know a few more names and faces,” Neumann said.

“A bit of encouragement (is) always great to make sure you push a little bit harder when you’re going through those tests.”

One of 27 to undergo the testing in Townsville, Neumann is looking to keep her options open as the SUNS prepare for their AFLW launch in 2020.

“I’ve had a discussion and yeah (I’m) trying to juggle commitments to hockey and AFL,” she said.

“I like doing well at things and I want to give 100% to both so it’s just a matter of whether I can fit that into my schedule and make sure I can give 100%.” 

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