The Kookaburra who swung his first stick at Maryborough
HOCKEY: Corey Weyer never played a game on Maryborough Hockey Association's turf field but it was on Bryant St that the Kookaburras defender swung his first stick.
"Mum was born here, Dad moved here when he finished school and they both played hockey," Weyer said.
"They've got a lot of family friends we still keep in touch with regularly now who they played hockey with 20 or 30 years ago. I always feel the connection coming back here.
"People you know through hockey, it's a tight-knit community so you're seeing each other at tournaments.
"It's disappointing I never got to play here.
"I'd love to come back even now and play a game through the season with family and family friends we've got here who play."
Weyer returned to his town of birth with a Men's Hockey World Cup bronze medal this week to see family after his first big tournament in the Australian hockey team.
He moved to the Gold Coast as a four-year-old, where he played his junior hockey and developed into the international star he is today.
Weyer was a member of under-18s and under-21s Australian teams, as well as a Youth Olympics gold medal-winning goalscorer at Nanjing, China, in 2014, and has since played his way into the senior Australian Kookaburras team.
"I'm happy with bronze. It was a disappointing semi final but that's what happens at tournaments sometimes," he said.
"The Netherlands are a good side and we were just unlucky on the day, but overall, really happy with my first experience at a major tournament at the senior level.
"I was really pleased with how we went as a team and how I went personally."
His experience at the Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar, India, tournament is one that he will remember forever.
While he didn't jag the gold, he scored a goal and was able to play in front of the loudest crowd of his career.
"It's pretty exciting. You go out on the field and there's 10,000 Indians screaming and making a lot of noise," he said.
"They're just cheering. They're always loud so the atmosphere is totally different to anything you experience in Australia.
"The stadium being so full, a lot smaller, you can barely hear each other talk out on the field. You really have to look around a lot more and take it all in.
"I've played a few games but nothing on the world stage that was that big. I thought I went pretty well.
"It's been a long journey, a lot of hard work. To get the opportunity to play at a World Cup was really special."
That journey was a long road back from injury that robbed him of the opportunity to play at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in April.
He was there watching as the Kookaburras sent off retiring captain Mark Knowles with a Commonwealth Games gold medal on home soil.
"The Commonwealth Games was a good performance for the boys," Weyer, who hails from Biggera Waters, said.
"I had an injury at the time so I wasn't up for selection, and it was where I grew up on the Gold Coast so that was disappointing and made it hard to watch. I still got to experience what the home crowd was like."
Asked whether that made him more determined for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 and the Commonwealth Games at Birmingham in 2022, he was quick to answer.
"Definitely," he said.
"That experience of the disappointment in not making it - not being eligible was the really disappointing bit - but hearing the boys come back and talk about how much fun it was, what the village was like and the whole atmosphere of the tournament gives you more drive to train harder and do everything you can to keep the body right."
Weyer will take some time off for Christmas, then prepare for the Pro Hockey League.