TOP TIER: Brent Livermore represented Australia on 318 occasions over a 10-year career.
TOP TIER: Brent Livermore represented Australia on 318 occasions over a 10-year career. Warren Lynam

Valley's golden boy powers into top spot in countdown

BRENT Livermore is arguably the greatest ever sporting talent to come out of the Clarence Valley, winning Olympic gold with the Australian field hockey side.

But according to his father, Barry, it almost might not have been if Brent stayed with his first sporting passion.

"All of his mates were playing soccer, so that's just what he did,” Barry said.

"He played with the Westlawn club for a few years. I think he was pretty good at it, but not like his hockey.”

It wasn't until he started high school that Livermore first stepped on the hockey field, but his ability was evident from the first moment.

Soon he was whipped away into the representative system, earning his stripes in the New South Wales under-15 and under-17 representative sides. It meant plenty of hours in the family Holden.

"We drove to Sydney a lot during that time, but we never gave it a second thought,” Barry said.

"It was what Brent needed. We encouraged him, but Brent did it all himself. He was his own motivation, and if he was going to put in the effort, then so were we.”

At the age of 18, Livermore moved out of home, and away from Grafton for the first time, to take up an opportunity with the Australian Institute of Sport.

It would not be long before he was pulling on the green and gold of his nation, proving his leadership capabilities by captaining the junior Kookaburras to World Cup glory.

In the following year he was collecting his first of three Commonwealth Games gold medals. Add to that collection his Olympic bronze medal from Sydney in 2000 and the gold he won in Athens, and it is easy to see his influence on the sport.

And right alongside him were the supportive parents who spent so many hours in the old Holden.

"We saw the heartbreak of the bronze in Sydney, and we were there for the gold in Athens. There is not a prouder moment for a parent,” Barry said.

In recent years Livermore has dedicated his time to the next generation, coaching with the Institute of Sport as well as the Australian U23s.

He has also held coaching clinics for the junior hockey players of Grafton to help them achieve their goals.

It is this reason why he has been named number one in the Clarence Valley Sport Power 10. There were also a number of close misses for this list, and a host of honourable mentions.