RIVALRY: Former Far North Coast players Luca Brown and Tyler Arundell are playing for Queensland at the Australian Under-21 hockey championships.
RIVALRY: Former Far North Coast players Luca Brown and Tyler Arundell are playing for Queensland at the Australian Under-21 hockey championships. Mitchell Craig

Local hockey stars turn to the 'dark side'

FAR North Coast hockey juniors Luca Brown and Tyler Arundell have turned to the dark side, representing Queensland at the Australian Under-21 hockey championships this week.

They grew up playing in the region against each other and now play in the same club side at Labrador on the Gold Coast.

Both have represented New South Wales numerous times in their junior years, with Brown making his state debut for Queensland yesterday.

"I enjoyed it, I've played with most of the New South Wales boys so it will be good to have a game against them," Brown said.

"NSW and Queensland have a fair talent pool to pick from and I enjoy playing the bigger states, there is definitely a bit of rivalry there.

"We've got four guys who have played for Australia and the Victorians will be tough, too.

"I never thought I'd get to play in an event like this at home and the Far North Coast association have done an unbelievable job getting it all together."

Queensland was forced to settle for a 3-all draw against Tasmania after scoring early goals.

Max Harding and Joseph Sandor found the net in the first quarter for the Maroons to take a 2-0 lead before Tasmanian captain Sam McCulloch scored a hat-trick in the third period.

A determined effort by Queensland in the final quarter and a late goal in the final minute from Harrison Farrell salvaged a draw.

"We had a good lead but that third quarter really hurt us," Brown said.

"I think we thought we had they win but they came back really well, they're a good side."

Luca's older cousin Tom Brown is playing for New South Wales and has been one of the best hockey players to come out of the region in recent years.

Cooper Stahl is captain of the NSW Blues team and was the only goal scorer in a 4-1 loss against Western Australia.

Tom Harvie bagged a double for Western Australia.