How national call-up helps top Ipswich sportsman focus
AS he ponders his dream of representing Australia at the Olympics, Cade Banditt is used to performing a juggling act.
The multi-talented Ipswich teenager has been doing it for years.
However, he welcomes the latest challenge managing full-time work, part-time study and the chance to further his Australian hockey career.
Banditt, 19, has been chosen in Hockey Australia's latest national junior squad preparing for an international tournament in Malaysia.
He's one of two Queensland goalkeepers in the Burras under-21 team, which will compete at the 2018 Sultan of Johor Cup in October.
Having trained and played at Australian Hockey League level with Queensland Blades teammate Matt Finn, Banditt is thrilled to see his home state well represented in the promising goalkeeping ranks.
Making the Burras team is a major stepping stone to future Australian Kookaburras selection, including the chance to play at the Tokyo Olympics or beyond.
"I'm quite excited,'' Banditt said about the looming international matches against teams from Great Britain, New Zealand, India, Japan and the home country.
"It will be an experience, especially playing in a new atmosphere, a new country, so I'll have to essentially acclimatise to that environment.''
The former St Edmund's College student knows playing well at that level will increase his future international prospects.
"I definitely want to go all the way with my hockey, with the Olympics coming up in 2020,'' he said.
"I'm going to aim to try and get into the national squad within the next few years.''
It is Banditt's first time in the National Junior Program, which provides training and competition opportunities for players identified as future Australian senior team representatives.
It will also be his first trip to Malaysia.
The former Hancock Brothers goalkeeper has been on an upward path in recent seasons, making his AHL debut last year where Queensland finished second.
With this year's national league under a new home and away format, Banditt will miss the first games before hopefully being able to play the finals after returning from Malaysia.
He turns 20 on October 21, just before the AHL finals.
Having started a new job as a law clerk in January, he appreciates the support from his new employers, being given time off to represent his country.
"It's basically a big juggling act at the moment,'' he said of devoting his time to work, studying at USQ, playing and training with the Queensland Academy of Sport.
But after a short break following the Australian under-21 titles in Sydney, he is eager to manage his daily demands.
"I'm pretty dedicated to my hockey and of course my study, which I don't slacken off on,'' the Kholo based player of the future said.
That means putting his other sporting passion cricket on hold in the short-term.
"I'm focusing on my hockey at the moment,'' he said.
"I think that's where I'm being drawn too but I still love my cricket.''
The Brothers talent is comfortable with that decision knowing he can return to cricket at a later stage.
His weekly training schedule includes morning gym sessions and high intensity work with elite sportsmen like former Australian Kookaburras captain Mark Knowles at the QAS.
"He should be a national icon,'' Banditt said of Knowles.
"In terms of building hockey as a sport, he's just an influential character that will continue to build the sport by doing his elite forms of coaching.''