IT was gold, gold, gold for Newcastle's three young representative hockey players when they helped Australia to a podium finish at the Australian Youth Olympics in Sydney this month.
Mariah Williams played an outstanding role in helping the Jillaroos, the Australian under-21 women's team, to a 2-1 victory over China, while Matthew Dawson and Jack Elliott provided some inspirational moments for the Burras, the men's under-21 side that beat Great Britain 5-4 in extra time.
Champion young striker Williams, a member of the South Newcastle Club, stamped her class as a potential Olympian by scoring the first goal in each of the three lead-up test matches against Great Britain.
She then carried the form into the Youth Olympics where she was instrumental in scoring and setting up opportunities for teammates.
The Jillaroos were placed under extreme pressure by China in the gold medal match with the latter leading 1-nil at the break.
But a corner conversion early in the second half equalled the scores.
Deep into playing time Williams's diving touch provided the opportunity for the winning goal.
Williams looks certain to be named in the Jillaroos team to contest the Oceanic Junior World Cup qualifying rounds, to be played on the Gold Coast in February, then in the team to represent Australia in the Junior World Cup in Germany in early July.
Dawson said winning the gold medal in extra time was a moment of tension that required great concentration and good fortune.
"It was the most exciting and exhilarating time of my life; it's something I will never forget," she said.
Both Dawson and Elliott are from the strong premiership-winning local team Norths, and had strong and at times outstanding performances in the tournament.
Dawson controlled both the attacking and defensive plays from centre field through excellent positioning and great ball control.
Elliott was one of the Burras' leading goal scorers and it was his brilliant diving goal that provided the green and gold with the equaliser with its opponent, Great Britain, leading 4-3 with three minutes to play.
It was Australia's day as it clinched the 5-4 win in golden goal extra time.
Both Dawson and Elliott will now wait for the announcement of the squad for the Oceanic Junior World Cup qualifying round, which will be held in conjunction with the women's matches.
With the junior men's world cup not being played until December in India, both players will need to continue their high standard during the upcoming event on the Gold Coast, and in the Australian under-21 championships.