IT took two weeks, two countries, over 20,000 kilometres and five games of hockey for Kinross-CYMS star Madie Smith to realise she wants it all.
Now she knows how to get it too.
Smith donned the green and gold of the Australian All Schools girls’ side on a tour of New Zealand and the hockey-mad nation of Argentina in February, with her first international tour fuelling a burning desire to join elite company in the sport.
“I want to go all the way,” the Orange High School student said.
“I want to play for Australia. I want to play at the highest level.”
Following a dominant showing for a champion NSW side at the School Sports Australia 16 years and under All School Championship last August, Smith picked up where she left off to star in a defensive role for the Australians.
In two matches against an Auckland under 21s, the Aussie girls won the first 5-4 and drew 1-all in the second to claim their first mini-series victory.
Off to Buenos Aires, Smith encountered an Argentinean national under 18s side she affectionately refers to as “freaks”.
“They’ve been taught from such a young age, they were absolute freaks. We had a lot of trouble trying to work out how to stop them. Once we figured our defence out, with team talk, we were able to stop them,” Smith said.
“They were still a little bit too good though.”
The Australian side - which also included hockey players from Lithgow and Bathurst in a big coup for Central West hockey - lost the mini-series against Argentina after losing the first game 6-1 and then the second 3-0.
“But we improved which was alright,” Smith added.
The 16-year-old played a fullback role for the Australian side.
It’s a position, especially given she was handed a licence to roam as a second centre-half, Smith is familiar with having filled a similar role for her women’s Premier League Hockey side Kinross-CYMS over the last 12 months.
Now comfortable on the representative scene, Smith said she took a lot out of the tour.
One thing, though, stands out amongst the rest.
“The experience; knowing what level I have to get at to play for Australia,” she said.
With her season already underway following the tour, Smith said she was looking forward to the start of the women’s PLH season this Saturday.
But, unfortunately for her and Kinross-CYMS, Smith can’t play this weekend’s opening round due to the under 18s NSW State Hockey trials.
“I’m devastated about that,” she said.