TACKING Point Thunder duo Ryan Paine and Annika Toohey have both gone down different paths, but they ultimately led to the same destination after their selection for NSW.
Toohey has become a regular in the NSW program after being named in the under-18s for the last two seasons.
It’s a slightly different story for Paine who will wear his state’s colours as an under-18 in Tasmania for the first time in 2019.
The 17-year-old has been trying to break back into the representative scene having previously played for NSW in the under-15s.
“It’s a pretty big deal because I’ve been trying to get back into the squad for a couple of years,” he said.
“So it’s nice to finally break back into the scene and go back with the boys and have a good time.”
The Tacking Point Thunder attacker knows it will be a different experience with the under-18s to what it was the last time he played for NSW.
“The biggest change will be that everyone has gotten better so you’ve got to be prepared for everyone to be that step above what they were last time,” he said.
A consistent effort at last weekend’s selection trials gave Paine the strongest chance of making the final cut, but he breathed a sigh of relief when his name was announced on Monday.
“Everyone (locally) will benefit from Annika and I making it,” he said.
“It’s really good to represent a regional town in something as big as a whole state team usually dominated by Newcastle and Sydney and the bigger cities.
“To be from a regional town it shows anyone can do it.”
Toohey is no stranger to representative sides having pulled on the green and gold of her country last year.
The MacKillop College student said she never “got used” to being selected in any side despite preparing for her third under-18 national title campaign.
“I still had the nerves on Monday, but you still have to work hard and it comes down to what the selectors want for the team,” she said.
“As a young one it’s all new and exciting; it’s scary.
“Then in the third year hopefully I can step up as more of the leader type in the team and be a good asset to hopefully come away with the gold.”
The teenage duo said their success had been largely due to the support they had received from the local community.