MANNING hockey talent Brady Cross is determined to make up for lost time.
Hockey's now out of hibernation after two years caused by COVID-19 restrictions or regulations. Brady's back playing both club and representative matches and is enjoying every minute he's on the field, given the frustrations of 2020 and 2021.
Brady was named in a Hockey NSW under 18 Accelerated Athlete Program (AAP) squad following the NSW under 18 championships held at Moorebank earlier this year. He's also been named in the NSW Combined High Schools side to play in the State all schools titles in Newcastle later this month.
He is the Manning River Times-Iguana Sportstar of the Week, earning a $50 open order at Iguana.
Brady, 17, was a member of the Manning side that played at the NSW under 18s division II, where Manning performed credibly.
He's been associated with NSW programs at open and high school level for a number of years, but his selection in the AAP squad wasn't a given.
"It's a tough age group,'' he explained.
"I was pleased when I found out I'd made the squad.''
Selectors have named 62 players in the squad. They'll take part in four, two-day camps leading into the 2023 national championships. Two sides will be named for the nationals, NSW and Blues.
Brady will also take part in weekly sessions in Taree involving other locals selected in the various AAP squads.
He was a member of the Hunter team that dominated the NSW CHS open championships in Newcastle. Hunter completed the tournament undefeated and downed South Coast in the final.
This resulted in Brady gaining a spot in the NSW All Schools lineup.
Brady also made his debut with Manning Valley open men's team at the State division three championships played at Tamworth during the June long weekend. Manning finished third, Brady describing it as a 'great experience' and one he's keen to repeat next year.
A defender, Brady plays with Sharks in the Mid Coast Hockey League.
Sharks are premiership favourites in a competition involving six sides from the Manning and Port Macquarie-Hastings associations,
"We're going pretty well, I think we're leading the comp,'' he said.
Brady is also on the road most Sundays when he heads to Newcastle to play with University in the Newcastle Premier League division two competition. He described this as 'really strong.'
"I'm enjoying it. Playing there is improving my hockey because I'm pushed to perform every week,'' Brady explained.
Brady's far from idle during the warmer months, as he's a member of Black Head Surf Club and the Taree Torpedoes Swimming Club.
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