James Sheahan Catholic High School’s Sam Giumelli and Kinross Wolaroi’s Phoebe Litchfield both admitted to plenty of nerves, but an overwhelming excitement leading into the 2016 Under 13 Australian National Championships in Perth .
The pair were named in their respective boys’ and girls’ NSW sides after bumper state championship campaigns with Orange and head into camp on Sunday before the national titles kick off next Thursday.
Litchfield was in NSW’s gold medal-winning under-13 side last year so she knows what this level is all about while for Giumelli, it’s his first time representing NSW outside the school system.
Although, he said his experience in school-based state sides puts him in good stead.
“So we did the school thing last year, which was under-12 and this one we go through our clubs to the state championships and get picked from there,” Litchfield enthused.
“It’s pretty cool,” Giumelli added.
“After playing in the NSW school side I know what it’s like, so I’m excited but I’m nervous as well.
“I’m not as nervous as I was last year though.”
“I’m excited, a bit nervous too,” Litchfield said.
Litchfield’s side will be defending its 2015 title in Perth, while Giumelli said he’s hoping his side can finish among the medals too.
Both highlighted Victoria as stiff competition while Litchfield also said Queensland are traditionally heavyweights in the girls’ tournament.
“Victoria won [the boys’ gold medal] last year,” Giumelli said.
“Victoria are strong and Queensland are too. We’re defending the title so there’s a bit of pressure there,” Litchfield said.
Otherwise, they’ll line up against the best from across the nation.
“Some states take two sides, I know NSW does. We’re both in the top side and we’ll play against the other states,” Giumelli said.
Both will line up as attacking midfielders for their respective sides and could play some time at striker.
In terms of individual goals, defending a title is right up there for Litchfield while both said they’d like to find the back of the net during the tournament.
“I don’t know a lot of the girls really but maybe, hopefully we can (defend the title),” Litchfield said.
“I want to help the team towards the medals, hopefully gold, and I’d like to score a few goals too as well.”
“I’d like to score at least one goal and hopefully get a medal and just help the side do as well as we can,” Giumelli said.
The nationals start on Thursday, September 29.