Amy Robinson’s love affair with the Anchor AIMS Games went through its toughest test on Tuesday, after the Black Sticks star traded in white-hot action on the turf for a freezing spot in the commentary box.
Fresh from helping the New Zealand national side qualify for next year’s Olympics with an epic series win against Australia, Robinson rushed back to where it all began for her, courtside at the annual intermediate-aged tournament on the coldest day of the tournament in years.
Co-commentator and fellow Tauranga Intermediate product Rikki Swannell noted she’d been to three Olympics as a radio journalist – two summer editions and a Winter Olympics – and the conditions reminded her more of the winter version, though Robinson was more worried about getting her hockey terms in a tangle.
“I’m actually a little bit nervous – I haven’t commentated before,” she said, pre-game. “It’s good that my Tauranga Intermediate team is up first because I know a lot of the girls and it’s pretty exciting to watch from a higher angle.”
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The tournament has special resonance for Robinson, who played two years for the Tauranga Intermediate team in 2007 and 2008, coming away with a silver medal in her first year.
She also won cross country gold but her most satisfying experience came the same year she made her Black Sticks debut.
“A few years ago, we got a gold medal in the hockey for Tauranga Intermediate, which was pretty special. Just seeing the kids excel and giving them the opportunity to maybe play in the biggest tournament of their life is just so cool.”
Robinson was a late call-up to the Black Sticks for their series against Australia but made an immediate impact, scoring in the first test 3-1 which paved the way to series success.
“It was a pretty whirlwind trip – I wasn’t meant to be going, then got the call-up – so it was pretty exciting. To go and help the girls book that spot already is unbelievable and hopefully the team can go well next year.”