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A-grade student part of top line defence at All-Schools

MASTER AND APPRENTICE: Player Josh Cumberland and coach Scott Smith are off to Adelaide as part of the NSW All Schools Under-16- Hockey side. PHOTO: ADAM HOURIGAN
MASTER AND APPRENTICE: Player Josh Cumberland and coach Scott Smith are off to Adelaide as part of the NSW All Schools Under-16- Hockey side. PHOTO: ADAM HOURIGAN

FOR the past five years the NSW All-Schools Under-16 Hockey side has mirrored its game on the all-conquering national Kookaburras team.

It has augured well, with national titles in four out of five of those years.

According to Grafton High School teacher Scott Smith, that's not about to change.

He should know, as he is one half of the coaching team for the side, with Newcastle's Paul Baxter.

"One coaches on how to get the ball into the back of the net, the other how to keep it out and get it up the other end," Smith said.

"It's getting a bit NFL style like that."

Smith focuses on the defensive aspect of the team, which this year contains Josh Cumberland, a Year 11 student at Grafton High.

Cumberland plays for Sailors in Grafton A-grade and with his ability to dominate his position as a midfielder or defender, is the type of player Smith says typifies the representative side's aim.

"He's starting to become a dominant player in his position, which is what you want in defence," Smith said.

"You want to turn the ball over and become the first player in attack, which is the nature of what Australia is doing right now."

Equally focused on hockey and studies, Cumberland said making the team had been a specific goal.

"I made a few decisions this year, even changing clubs," he said.

"It should be good."

Topics:  grafton grafton high school grafton hockey association hockey