Confederates striker India Draper's form of late has been nothing short of scintillating, and she's carried that form into the 2019 Hockey Australia Under-21 Women's Championship, which began in style on Wednesday in Lismore.
The Parkes-based striker has found the back of the net an extraordinary number of times this season - she's scored in most of Confederates' women's Premier League Hockey games since linking with the Orange club, including both in their thrilling, 2-1, local derby win over Ex-Services last week.
She slotted five goals in Orange's undefeated Hockey NSW Open Women's State Championship, once in their come-from-behind decider victory, so finding the back of the net is like shelling peas for the 18-year-old.
We've been playing with each other for such a long time and I've been playing with her in Orange in the rep side and here, I love it.Parkes product India Draper
"I've never known anything different, it's been my life being up the front scoring goals, it's what I've done since I was tiny," she said.
She now has the chance to find the back of the net for her state, representing the NSW Blues, a side Confederates teammate Eva Reith-Snare turned out for last year, and graduated from too.
Fresh from winning Orange City Council's Junior Sportsperson of the Year award, Reith-Snare helped her NSW State side to a 5-nil win over ACT on Wednesday.
Draper's side faced tournament favourites Queensland in their opener on Wednesday and while her side went down 8-3, Draper continued her blistering form and found the back of the net twice, 10 minutes into the game and again just before the end of the third quarter.
Lining up in different teams is a new experience for the pair, with Draper and Reith-Snare side-by-side in the Central West and junior state outfits since under-13s, with the former saying "playing with her is just the best, low-key I love it".
"We've been playing with each other for such a long time and I've been playing with her in Orange in the rep side and here, I love it. We train together and play together and just kind of know where each other is."
She's excited for the challenge of Nationals and knows the challenge of travelling won't be a daunting experience, having travelled an hour to home games and up to two and a half hours for some away game while lining up for Confederates in the 2019 Premier League Hockey season.
"Coming over each week and playing for Orange is one of my favourite things to do to play with a great bunch of girls. It's worth it, every week I come and play, it's all worth it and I'm happy to do anything to play."
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