Maddi Drewitt, Bayden Smith and Emersyn Smith selected in NSW state hockey sides

Next level: Maddi Drewitt, Emersyn Smith and Bayden Smith have been selected in NSW state hockey sides.
Next level: Maddi Drewitt, Emersyn Smith and Bayden Smith have been selected in NSW state hockey sides.

LAST year's pandemic-enforced season cancellation has had little impact on three Port Macquarie-Hastings rising hockey stars.

Maddi Drewitt along with siblings Bayden and Emersyn Smith have been selected in their respective New South Wales state sides for the field championships in Launceston and Bathurst.

It will be Drewitt's second-successive selection in the state side after she made the cut in 2020 before the majority of sporting codes were called off.

"You don't know how much everyone has improved over the last 12 months," she said.

"But it's still the same feeling when you get picked."

The older of the Smith duo - Bayden - will join Drewitt in the under-18 program after he was selected in the 'Blues' team.

"The game speed is going to be a lot faster; it's basically men's hockey now," he said.

"You have to get used to playing against men because they do knock you around a bit so you have to get stronger over the ball."

"You have to get used to playing against men because they do knock you around a bit so you have to get stronger over the ball."

Bayden Smith

He admitted his selection in the team came as a surprise as "I'm not the biggest of the lot".

"I didn't really think I was going to be picked because of my age and I've still got three more years in this age group," he said.

"It will be a very good experience and an opportunity to get more exposure to better quality hockey and have some fun along the way too."

He knows this year will be about learning and improvement.

Younger sister Emersyn was selected in the under-13s last season and will make the progression into the under-15 side.

"It's a really good opportunity for my hockey and personal growth to play with and against the girls in my age group that are the best of the best," she said.

The benefits of having her older brother selected in a different state side did little to quash the sibling rivalry that bubbles below the surface.

"We don't really compare our successes against each other, but there is definitely a rivalry there," she said.

"Their selection is again proof that the regional areas can and do produce some fine hockey players, and there is no need to travel to the bigger cities to get noticed by the selectors."

Port Macquarie-Hastings Hockey Association president Simon Thresher

"It's definitely good to make teams because as we make teams we can work together to improve and keep making them."

Port Macquarie-Hastings Hockey Association president Simon Thresher said it was pleasing to see a regional town continue to provide players with an avenue into state-level hockey.

"The entire association have watched these young athletes grow into the talented hockey players they are today," he said.

"They are a force to be reckoned with in the local competition and their selection is representation of their off-season dedication, training and hard work.

"Their selection is again proof that the regional areas can and do produce some fine hockey players, and there is no need to travel to the bigger cities to get noticed by the selectors."