BRAD Paterson’s selection in the Australian under-17 All-Schools boys hockey side for next week’s trip to Europe didn’t come as a surprise to most people.
It came as a major surprise for the teenager who had previously set himself a simple goal of making the New South Wales team.
So when his name was read out to play at the 4-Nations Whitsun Tournament which will be held in Mannheim, Germany, Paterson admitted to being left shocked.
Now it has sunk in, the 16-year-old is looking forward to the three-week tour of Europe albeit with a certain level of nervousness.
He departs on Thursday morning on a 21-hour flight.
Paterson said when his name was read out he had to double check they had selected the correct person.
“I couldn’t believe it so I had to make sure they got the right name,” he said.
“New Zealand is the only other place I’ve been to outside of Australia so I’m not used to this sort of length of plane ride, so I might do a fair bit of sleeping.”
He doesn’t feel any added pressure about being the first-string goalkeeper in the side.
“It’s just knowing that I’ve been selected for a reason so it’s a pleasure to play for Australia,” the teenager said.
The tournament includes teams from Belgium, Netherlands and Germany who are traditionally strong hockey nations that place a high emphasis on youth development.
New Zealand is the only other place I’ve been to outside of Australia so I’m not used to this sort of length of plane ride.
New South Wales dominates the team with six representatives with Taree’s Wade Harry the only other Mid-North Coast representative.
Paterson knows many of the players in the team as he regularly travels to Newcastle to play.
“I’m not going over there not knowing anyone – I’ve played with most of them before,” he said.
It isn’t all about what happens on the hockey field though, with the school-based trip also dipping its toes in history.
Trips to Nazi concentration camps are part of the agenda when Paterson and the Australian team aren’t competing.
“We’ve learnt a bit about those sorts of things in school so it will be a bit of an eye-opener to actually see it,” Paterson said.