HUNTER products Simon Orchard and Matt Dawson rolled the dice and came out winners at the second Hockey India League player auction.
The pair were among 13 Australian players to secure contracts through the auction, where 17 countrymen were passed in and put on the reserves list.
Dawson, 21, nominated for his first HIL auction at a higher than expected reserve of $US20,000, and was bought for $US21,000 ($29,093) a year for two seasons by the Kalinga Lancers.
Orchard put himself into the auction after rejecting an offer to stay with the Punjab Warriors, who paid $US45,000 a season for him over the first three years of the tournament.
The Maitland junior's decision to search for a better deal proved a winner as Punjab paid $US58,000 ($80,202) to retain him through the auction.
Orchard was grateful for the "nice little pay rise".
"It's a lottery, so I'm pretty thankful and I think it's a pretty fair result for me at the end of the day," Orchard said.
He was pleased to be heading back to Punjab, who have finished runners-up for the past two years in penalty shoot-out deciders.
"We've had the best franchise in terms of quality of players, coaches, facilities and care for players, and I think it's the best team in the league," he said.
Orchard has played more than 150 games for Australia and won several major trophies, but 21-year-old Dawson is a rookie on the international scene with just 20 games for his country.
The North Newcastle junior from the Central Coast was ecstatic to gain a contract in the T20 version of hockey, which is a five-week tournament held in January and February, at his first attempt.
"I probably set my reserve a little bit high, just because I wanted it to be worth it," Dawson said.
"Fortunately, it's paid off for me.
"It's pretty exciting. I didn't really expect anything, being pretty young and relatively inexperienced."
Dawson was excited to join four other Australians at Kalinga, as well as the highest-paid player in the HIL, German ace Moritz Fuerste, who went for $US105,000.
Dawson and Orchard are home this weekend before heading to Darwin next week for NSW's Australian Hockey League campaign. They are then likely to be in the Kookaburras squad for the Oceania Cup in New Zealand in October.