Kelly returns to Grafton

What made you take up hockey and when?

Both my older brothers were playing both hockey and soccer as children and were taking up most of mum’s Saturdays ferrying them between the two sports but when it came to me she said ‘choose either one or the other’. I ended up choosing hockey. I started around the age of seven and played with Royals through my whole junior career.

Who were the players that you looked up to as a junior?

Rob Green as he played in David’s age group. I still do look up to him as he is easily the best player in Australia not to get an Australian cap.

Who were some of your coaches in Grafton?

Pat Connelly when I was very young. Kerry Wilsmore during my school years and men’s grades. Ian Ross in my last school years and mostly Peter Ryder for the Grafton representative teams.

Did you make junior state and Australian teams?

My first junior NSW team was under-14s and played with NSW every year until the end of under-21s. I made the under-16 Australian schoolboys team to play three tests against NZ.

Highlights of your playing days in Grafton?

Highlights were winning the A-grade in my last year in Grafton with Graham Gill in our dugout - that was pretty special. Graham, one of the great maths teachers and top hockey coach and player, died of a brain tumour three weeks later. And when I was 13 trying to pick a fight with Peter Gibbons in B-grade men’s and obviously coming off second best as well as getting sent off by the umpire at the time. He still does not let me forget that one.

Did you play any other sports?

During my school years I played cricket and surfed. I also enjoyed white-water canoeing with Grafton High School at the regional titles.

Who did you play for in Sydney?

My first year in Sydney I played with Sydney University under a scholarship but following that my next six years were with Gordon North Sydney - now dubbed Grafton North Sydney as most of the Grafton players end up playing for that club and the reason I moved there was that Brent Livermore played there.

When did you first make the NSW Waratahs?

First year with the Waratahs was 2005 when I was 21 and we won the AHL title in Brisbane against Queensland. But my most memorable achievement was being apart of the NSW 21 team to beat Victoria 6-1 in the final down in Melbourne with the very vocal Victorian parents silenced.

Any overseas trips?

Played for FC Barcelona in 2007 in the Spanish national league. Toured South Africa with New South Wales Institute of Sport in 2005.

You are going overseas again - playing where and for whom?

I am playing in the French National League for a club based in Paris called CA Montrouge. At this stage it is for the second half of their season from March until June.

What are your future plans?

Good question, if you know could you let me in – I have no idea.

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