Ask Kinross Wolaroi School star Pip Mannix how she feels about the massive year she’s staring down the barrel of and you’ll get a simple answer – excited.
Mannix has just been named in the NSW Blues side for the Hockey Australia Under-18 Championship in Tasmania next month, but she’s also just started preparations for the 2018 season with her new women’s Premier League Hockey club.
After helping Confederates to its first finals appearance since re-entering the competition in 2012 last season, the 16-year-old will link with CYMS as the green and golds return to the fold this year.
“It was a really tough decision to make to leave Feds, it took me a while and I asked a few other people about it,” she said, just hours ahead of CYMS’ first pre-season session of the year on Wednesday.
“But I think it’ll be a really good opportunity, especially being able to play with (former Hockeyroo) Jade Georgiou and (former Australian Schoolgirl) Madie Smith.
“It’ll be a great new experience and a couple of my really good friends are playing there too, so it’ll be a lot of fun I think.”
Before CYMS’ return season though, Mannix will suit up for NSW.
After winning a bronze medal at last year’s under-15 national championship, she worked her way through Hockey NSW’s Athlete Acceleration Program before being named in the 18-strong Blues squad – the state’s second string, development squad.
“I’m very happy, there’s more than 50 players in the AAP and there’s so much talent. You sort of go in knowing they’ll look at the 17 and 18-year-olds. I always try and work as hard as I can but I didn’t really expect to be picked so young,” Mannix said.
“It’ll be a big step up from under 15s to under 18s and I honestly don’t know what to expect. When I’ve played for NSW before it’s been in Sydney and I’ve had my parents there watching, so it’ll be different to travel somewhere else without my family but it’ll be a great experience.”
Along with being her debut in the under-18 age group, next month’s nationals could potentially provide Mannix with another first – the chance to play against former Confederates teammate Eva Reith-Snare.
It’ll be a big step up from under 15s to under 18s and I honestly don’t know what to expect.Pip Mannix
Reith-Snare was in the Blues side in 2017 and has graduated into NSW’s top squad for this year’s titles.
“I don’t think Eva and I have actually played against each other, not at state level anyway. It’ll be fun if we do, I think there’ll be a bit of friendly rivalry there,” Mannix smiled.
“We train together at Newcastle before we go, too.”
Despite being geared towards development, NSW’s Blues squads always tend to do well anyway, but Mannix admitted she’s not sure if her side will be a medal chance.
“There’s so much talent in NSW and we always work hard, especially against teams like Queensland, but I’m not really sure. I’m just hoping to go down, meet some new girls and have some fun,” she said.
The Hockey Australia Under-18 Championships are at Launcestion, and run from March 13-21.
In terms of Orange players, it’s not just Mannix and Reith-Snare looking at state guernseys either.
Connor Davis, Liam Wilson and Sam Giumelli are in the under-15 boys’ squad and Phoebe Litchfield is in the girls’ equivalent, while Chloe Barrett is in the women’s under-21 group.
Hayden Dillon, now based in Sydney, is in the men’s under 21s too.