Nepean hockey star Colin Smith will represent New South Wales for an incredible fourth time later this year at the 2022 Hockey Australia Men’s Masters Championships.
The 44-year-old father of two will be a member of the NSW Men’s Over 40’s second team when the Championships officially get underway on September 24 at the Gold Coast Hockey Centre.
After representing his state on three previous occasions, Smith said the special feeling is greater every time he’s selected.
“I must say it gets stronger with each one,” he told the Weekender.
“You really appreciate it as you get older, making those achievements. Still being able to mix it with the better players around the country is a real thrill.”
The upcoming Masters Championships will see experienced players from all over the country converge on the Sunshine State for the two-week tournament.
Smith, who coaches and plays first grade hockey with the Blaxland Rovers club, said he loves coming up against players from all walks of life.
“I never played State or representative hockey when I was a child, I really picked up the game as an adult when I moved to Sydney in my uni years,” Smith explained.
“The Masters format gives more players an opportunity to continue playing at a high level. I’m certainly in awe with the level people have played. These guys I’m coming up against have represented their country and state many times in youth competitions growing up.
“As someone from the country and never having those opportunities as a youngster, I’m in awe of the standard and I’m really happy with the way I’ve improved personally over the years.”
Fellow Nepean Hockey Association players Ridwan Houston and Kieran Knowles will also represent NSW at September’s National Championships, with the latter captaining the Men’s 34’s second team.
Smith said he’s looking forward to meeting up with his teammates later this year as they prepare to bring home the trophy to NSW.
“We are going to do a training camp beforehand in Newcastle and that will be a competition format where you play against other teams,” he said.
“I’m very much a striker – specialist drag flicker is my strength.
“I was the second highest goal scorer at the last Australian Championships, I was fortunate to score quite a few times up there.
“It’s an absolute honour to put on the NSW shirt again. Hopefully one day Australian selection will be a possibility.”
Nathan Taylor is the Weekender’s Deputy Editor and Senior Sports Writer. He also compiles the weekly Chatter on the Box TV column. Nathan is an award-winning journalist, who has worked at the Weekender for a decade.