HE'S been thereabouts for the past couple of years, however, Blake Hinton of Taree has finally gained selection in the NSW under 18 boy's hockey side.
Hinton, 17, was named in the side following the State titles, where he was a member of the Newcastle side that finished third.
He is the Manning River Times-Iguana Sportstar of the Week, earning a $50 open order at Iguana.
Hinton made the State squad last year, but missed out in the final cut. He was later drafted into the Northern Territory side to play in the national championships.
In fact he's had a bit of experience playing for other States. Earlier this year he was called into the Tasmanian side for the Australian indoor titles in Brisbane after initially being named as a shadow reserve for NSW.
"I had a bit of a feeling I might get selected (in the State 18s) this year,'' he said.
Hinton will play in the midfield and he expects NSW to be among the leading contenders for honours at the nationals to be played in Canberra in early April.
Hinton plays premier league in Newcastle with Tigers and that makes him available for the Newcastle side for the State titles. He also plays for Mid North Coast Premier League champions Chatham. However he said there's a better opportunity to impress State selectors by turning out for Newcastle.
"Newcastle plays division one, Manning Valley's in division three and they don't usually pick players from there,'' he explained.
Hinton said Chatham will field much the same side this winter where they'll defend the Mid North Coast and Manning A-grade premierships.
"We'll start favourites,'' he said.
He expects Tigers to again be their main rivals again.
"Although they're getting pretty old,'' he added.
Hinton will again head to Newcastle for the premier league, where games are played on Sunday.
He said the Newcastle Tigers had a 'horrible' year in 2013 but he believes they'll mount a more formidable challenge this season.
Hinton hopes to make it a NSW double later this year and earn selection in the indoor team for the national championships after his stint with Tasmania wasn't too successful last January.