IT'S not accurate to suggest Eligh Unwin was born with a hockey stick in his hand, but it's not too far off the truth.
One of the Queanbeyan United Hockey Club's most promising junior talents, Eligh recently completed his second season as part of the ACT Junior Representative program.
This year was his second as a member of ACT's under-11s having first represented the state in the age group as a nine-year-old in 2011.
"Eligh's had a stick in his hand since he could walk," dad Mark said. "He's got an older brother who plays as well so he used to get dragged along to all of his games when he was younger but he loves it.
"They didn't make sticks small enough for Eligh back then because he was so young so we had to get one of his brother's sticks and chop it down to size so he'd have something to play with."
Nowadays able to wield a more traditionally crafted hockey stick on the pitch, Eligh has proven a prodigious talent. Along with his representative duties, the 10-year-old is a member of Queanbeyan's under-15s side as well as the club's under-11s outfit.
"He's playing against boys with five years on him in the under-15s so he might not have the size or the strength to match it with them yet but he can still bamboozle them with a bit of stick work," Mark said.
"He's like a little terrier, nipping at their heels all the time. Mostly it's just experience for him. Like a lot of boys he's got his eyes on representing Australia one day at the Olympics and playing as much hockey as he can in the higher grades is how he sees himself getting there."
Eligh has been joined in the ACT representative program this year by fellow Queanbeyan junior Solomon Lamond. The duo has travelled up to Sydney no less than four times in recent months, playing for the ACT in Sydney carnivals.
With their representative commitments concluded for 2012, Mark Unwin said both players would now turn their attention to earning a place in the ACT Hockey Academy program next year.