For Orange’s Sam Giumelli and Phoebe Litchfield a gold medal looks a real possibility at the Hockey Australia Under-15 National Championships, which start on Wednesday at Wollongong, while Connor Davis just wants to “take it all in”.
Giumelli and Litchfield will both line up for their respective boys’ and girls’ NSW sides, while Davis has picked up his first state nod in the boys’ Blues outfit – traditionally seen as a second string, development side.
The latter didn’t think he’d even get picked, “not in a million years” in his words, so the fact he’ll even make his state debut is as exciting as any potential medal claims.
“It’s exciting, it should be really good,” Davis said, his NSW Blues will face Western Australia Black in their first game.
“I just want to try and fit in, play to my potential and take it all in. I’ll try and bring the experience back to club hockey here as well.
“It’ll be good fun, but I don’t know anything about the other sides so it’s a stab in the dark, I’m flying blind.”
Giumelli and Litchfield, on the other hand, are no strangers to this level.
Giumelli’s side will be defending its title from last year while both won silver with NSW’s under-13 sides in 2016, the latter also won gold the year before that.
Considering that and the fact a lot of their teammates from those sides have earned selection again bodes well.
“If we can win gold that’d be awesome,” Giumelli said.
“There’s always going to be nerves for me I think, but not as many because I’ve played at nationals before and we have a lot of experience in our side.
“There’s only one player who hasn’t been to this level before so we’re in a pretty good spot.”
“The gold medal’s the goal, but we’ll take it as it comes I guess,” Litchfield added.
“A lot of us have played together before which is nice, it helps, but we’ll have to wait and see how we go.”
Both agreed that Queensland, Victoria and Western Australia’s sides will be their sides’ biggest challengers, and a focus on the basics is necessary in the early rounds.
“It’s tough at this level because it is hard coming together pretty quickly to play at a really hard tournament,” Litchfield explained.
“If everyone sticks to the basics that’s a really good start and if you do that well it tends to come together, then you can focus on everything else.”
Giumelli’s side faces the ACT in its opening preliminary game and will also face Davis’ Blues in pool A as well, both Orange youngsters said they’re looking forward to facing off.
Litchfield’s side takes on the Northern Territory in round one, and has also been pooled with Queensland Gold, Queensland Maroon, Tasmania and Victoria White.
The 2018 boys’ and girls’ Hockey Australia Under-15 National Championships start on Wednesday and continue through until April 27.