Greenwell Point product Barbara Muldoon will have to wait to compete on the national stage once again after the 2021 Australian masters championships in Newcastle were cancelled on Thursday.
Hockey Australia's decision on the September event, slated to be the first time the men's and women's championships were jointly held, was based on the ongoing COVID-19 situation in New South Wales.
Hockey Australia GM - commercial, communications and events, Tim Cherry said the decision was made in the interest of the health and safety of all participants, officials and spectators, as well as a range of logistical factors.
"Considering the hype and anticipation around the mega masters since it was announced, there is no shying from how disappointing it is that it will not go ahead," Cherry said.
"The current border restrictions, coupled with the COVID case numbers in Greater Sydney, means no one from interstate could return home from the event without going into two weeks of quarantine."
"We are at a stage now less than two months out where teams could forfeit accommodation deposits if we deliberate any longer, and given the number of COVID cases in the New South Wales, it is unclear what public health orders would be in place when the event was due to take place.
"The health and safety of all attendees is the absolute top priority, so making the call to cancel is the sensible and right thing to do.
"We thank and acknowledge the NSW government through Destination NSW for their understanding and support through this process. COVID has and continues to throw curveballs at being able to plan and prepare for any national events.
"After the cancellation of the 2020 and 2021 masters championships, we look forward to holding and welcoming the large masters hockey community from right around the country to safe and successful Masters events in 2022."
This tournament was set to be Muldoon's first in Queensland colours after the former Australian masters player recently moved north of the border.
In other hockey news, the under 21 national championships, set to feature Culburra Beach's Sam Wright-Smith and his NSW side, at Moorebank Liverpool Hockey Complex have been postponed due to the pandemic.
Further to competition, this year's Australian championships also form an important part of the selection for the upcoming men's and women's 2021 junior world cups.
Hockey Australia high-performance pathways manager Ian Rutledge said HA is working closely with the various national institute network programs and member association pathways programs to map out the best way to maintain the ongoing selection and development for the national junior squads for the remainder of 2021.
"With both the men's and women's FIH 2021 junior world cups still scheduled for late 2021, HA will continue to search for appropriate camp and competition opportunities for when the country opens back up and it is safe to do so without the pressure of constant rescheduling due to lockdowns," Rutledge said.
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