Rodda gives it some stick
EAST Lismore hockey player Raymond Rodda is living proof that you don't necessarily have to live in the big city in order to represent your country.
After being a regular feature of NSW teams at all junior levels, Rodda believed that his representative career was over.
But you can never keep a good player down and a trip to the NSW championships in Grafton in June made selectors sit up and take notice.
Far North Coast competed beyond all expectations to make the semi-finals with Rodda and Michael Broadbent later named in the NSW Country team to contest the Australian Country Championships in Busselton, Western Australia.
It was there that Rodda was selected as a squad member for the Australian Country team.
The 22-year-old will now take part in the Oceania Games in Fiji in November.
“The opportunity to represent Australia at the country level is an ideal motivator to keep players in the game,” Rodda said.
“I never thought any of this would happen, but it's a good example for any of the local players out there to keep striving.”
During the Beijing Olympics, Rodda watched many of the juniors he once played alongside or against playing for Australia.
If his path hadn't taken a different direction, it would be easy to imagine Rodda lining up with the likes of Des Abbott, Eddie Ockenden and Eli Matheson.
But he didn't want to move to the city on a permanent basis and wanted to stay on the Far North Coast and maintain a good work-life balance at home.
“Basically I was burnt out,” he said.
“I was 16 going down to Sydney every second weekend to train with NSW or the Institute of Sport and I'd had enough.
“You have to make a lot of sacrifices and miss out on a lot of things if you devote yourself to the sport.
“Even if I had wanted to play, you still have to train four days a week and you don't get paid.”