A YOUNG star on the rise in Orange hockey, Maddie Smith is a regular in representative sides.
But her latest call up came as a surprise.
Smith, 16, has been selected to represent the Northern Territory in the 2012 Australian Under 18s Women’s National Championships in Newcastle starting tomorrow.
A member of NSW’s original squad of 35, the Kinross-CYMS women’s Premier League Hockey star missed the cut once the squad was trimmed to 16.
The Northern Territory then pounced.
Needing a defender, the Northern Territory liked what they saw in Smith, who had been nominated by Hockey NSW as a potential selection for rival states after she narrowly missed out on the final cut for the sky blues.
Smith was rapt to be given a chance.
“I was surprised to start off with now I’m excited,” Smith said.
“It’ll be hard competition”
And it won’t get any harder than when Smith lines up against NSW.
The sky blues will boast a number of players Smith is familiar with following the selection of Bathurst trio Jessica Watterson, Keely Hunter and Esther Hotham as well as Lithgow guns Amelia Leard and Renee Hunter.
“That will be an interesting game,” she said.
“They’re always very, very strong. The Northern Territory aren’t that strong but I think we can step it up when we play NSW.”
The Northern Territory will get the opportunity to ease their way into the championships after being drawn to play Tasmania in their opening game tomorrow.
Things will gradually get tougher, though, with games scheduled against the ACT on Wednesday and South Australia on Thursday before a rest day on Friday leading into games against Queensland (Saturday) and Western Australia (Sunday).
The Northern Territory then take on reigning champions Victoria (Tuesday week) and last year’s runners-up NSW (Wednesday week).
Smith said she had one goal in mind leading into the toughest challenge of her young career.
“I just want to play consistently every game,” the Orange High School student said.
“I want to make NSW proud while I’m playing for another state.”
Smith will play alongside two Queensland girls as well as a Victorian girl, with all four now honorary Territorians for the next two weeks.
“I’ve never met any of them. I definitely hope they’re friendly and take me under they’re wing,” Smith said with a smile.
The Northern Territory will kick off their campaign against Tasmania at 3pm in Newcastle tomorrow.