REPRESENTING Australia in hockey - it has long been something Lily Kable has aspired to but she never imaged her chance would come just after her 16th birthday.
On Wednesday, June 29 the Lithgow native and St Pat's star flew out to Europe as part of an Australian under 16s development side.
She's set to train with her new team-mates for the first time in Amsterdam before embarking on a series of games over a two-week period. Kable will then spent time holidaying with her parents.
While admitting she is a little nervous about what lies ahead, Kable is also excited at the prospect of wearing national colours for the first time.
"Going outside of Australia to experience not just Australia's level of hockey but different countries, it really hasn't sunk in yet," she said.
"It's just always been a goal for me and it will be a pretty special opportunity to wear the green and gold for sure.
"It's just going to make hockey so much more enjoyable and fun and I can set more goals now hopefully."
Part of Kable's desire to play for Australia and excitement to go on tour stems from the path her older sister Hannah has taken in the sport.
In 2017 when she was 16 Hannah played against Germany and the Netherlands as part of the Australian All Schools side and the following year she toured South Africa.
Season 2018 also marked the first time Lily earned selection in a Hockey NSW side to play at the national championships. It was as an under 13s player.
"For sure she's [Hannah] been an inspiration - I am so keen," Lily Kable said.
"Just the stories she came back with when she went over to Europe and South Africa with School Sport Australia, and how much fun she had and the learning opportunities she went through was really amazing."
Kable's path to the Australian under 16s development side began in April last year.
That is when she skippered NSW to gold at the Under 15s Australian Championships, which were held at Bathurst's Cooke Hockey Complex.
Kable led by example across that campaign, embracing her job at centre-half. It was something that national selectors noticed.
"So the under 15s nationals was in Bathurst last year and they sent an email out to ask people to nominate, then they picked who they thought their top squad was," she said.
"They then selected their best team from that.
"It's pretty amazing actually, being in the top 16 of Australia is pretty amazing, it's just the best opportunity. It's all very new to us, it's a new team, so I'll meet some new friends. It should be good.
"We play local teams around Amsterdam and Belgium in their local comps and then we will get the opportunity to play the Dutch under 16s team.
"So they're going to be a really hard side, but it's going to be amazing to experience their level of hockey. They're just hockey freaks over there, absolute freaks."
Kable is not sure if she will be deployed in an attacking role - her preferred positions are striker-midfield - but she's happy to play wherever she's required.
She knows it will be a step up, but feels playing in the Central West Premier League competition for St Pat's has been good preparation.
Missing game time with her beloved Saints is her only regret about going on tour.
"That helps for sure, playing against the top girls in the Central West really helps my skill level and improvement," she said.
"I was a bit devastated I'm missing the bus trip to Parkes, I was really looking forward to it and I was really devastated when I saw the dates because I missed last year as well," she added with a laugh.
"The vibe in the team is just great, I love the girls."
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