Smith, Divall and Barrett state their cases for higher honours

ORANGE’S Madie Smith, Rachel Divall and Chloe Barrett continue to impress at state level, with the trio selected to represent New South Wales at the 2014 National Hockey Championships in April.

Eighteen-year-old Divall and 17-year-old Smith were given the nod for the NSW under 18s team, while Barrett will play for the NSW Blues - a second-string team targeted at up-and-coming players.

Divall was virtually a certainty for the under 18s squad, having represented her state in indoor hockey at 18s and 21s level. Smith, having played in the NSW side in 2013, said she was “quietly confident” of getting selected ahead of trials.

“You can never expect to make these sides,” Smith said.

“This year they had a whole new selection process, and I know a few girls from last year’s first side who only made the Blues this year.

“Once we got there my attitude changed a bit.”

For Barrett, selection had been a goal for some time after playing a part in the NSW Blues’ under 15 squad previously, made all the more special considering the striker is just 15.

“This is the first time the Blues will be taken to nationals,” Barrett explained.

“Normally they do a separate sort of thing for the Blues, but it’s great to be playing at the same tournament. I thought I trialled pretty well.”

The trio made the cut via an extensive selection process, based originally around aerobic fitness levels.

“The basic criteria was getting a 10.5 in the beep test,” Smith said.

“They made a few selections, but if you couldn’t do that you were supposed to be ineligible.”

From there, the girls who trialled were split into four teams. The teams played off against each other before the squads were named.

“It was a mixture of girls,” Smith explained.

“They evened them out, and made sure there was some older, more experienced players with the younger girls.”

All three girls will have the chance to don green and gold as a result of the national championships, should they perform well enough.

After the championships, a squad to attend the Hockey Australia National Futures Camp will be selected, which Smith was a part of in 2013.

“After being in the squad last year I definitely want to be a part of it again,” she said.

“I didn’t even know about it,” Barrett laughed.

“But I guess it is a goal, but this year is more of a stepping stone for me for the next couple of years.”

The National Hockey Championships kick off on April 4 in Melbourne, and finish on April 12.

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