Long haul pays off for Grafton's Gaddes
HOCKEY: There is no length Reece Gaddes won't go to further his hockey career.
Each weekend the 18-year-old drives seven hours return to play for Ipswich-based club Western Suburbs Magpies.
And weekends he is not playing north of the border, he is driving eight hours to Sydney to train with state squads.
It means the young apprentice electrician rarely has time to himself, but when it is paying off he doesn't want to stop.
And it is paying off in a massive way at the moment.
Playing his second straight year in the NSW Under 18s state side at the National Championships last month, Gaddes caught the eye of senior selectors. Most notably, Brent Livermore.
The Grafton-born formerKookaburras captain has had a bit to do with Gaddes over the past few years and was quick to include him in the NSW squads for the upcoming Hockey Australia Under 21 National Championships in July.
It will mean Gaddes will be playing three years above his age group, but it is something he can't wait for.
"I was pretty stoked, but also a bit surprised at the same time,” he said. "Obviously I did something at the Under 18s carnival that impressed them.
"It is a massive step up, and you can already tell that from the training sessions we are doing, but I am just hoping to pick up as much as possible to make my game even better.”
Gaddes made the trip down to Moorebank in Sydney for training last weekend, and will have at least another six sessions before the titles in July.
It is just more time away from friends and family, as he pursues his hockey dream.
"It isn't really that bad, keeping busy all the time, it just makes you appreciate the small moments that you do get to yourself.”
Talented younger brother Tyler Gaddes is currently leading the way for NSW Under 15s at the national titles.