International experience gives Cade super start
HOCKEY: Having recently played a part in the Commonwealth Games, Cade Banditt has plenty to play for this weekend.
Banditt is one of two goalkeepers in the South West Lumberjacks side preparing for the annual Super League championships in Brisbane.
The multi-talented Ipswich sportsman and Lumberjacks teammate Matthew Finn are also Queensland Blades players who helped their state team finish runners-up at last year's Australian Hockey League championships.
This weekend's three-day tournament gives Banditt another chance to impress, especially after he played in recent matches against India and Scotland. Both teams tackled Queensland as part of their pre-Games preparation.
The Queensland Blades beat the Scottish line-up.
"It was a great experience,'' the former Hancocks goalkeeper said. "To compare yourself to what is expected and what the benchmark is for the international scene.''
Preparing for his third Super League series, Banditt is also reuniting with a number of Ipswich and Toowoomba players he knows well, along with new head coach Ken McCoombes.
"Ken was actually my first representative coach when I was a young junior (Ipswich under 13),'' Banditt said. "So it's actually good to come back and be coached by Ken again.''
The QAS goalkeeper and former St Edmund's College student has previously played in club and rep teams with many of his Lumberjacks teammates this weekend.
Having been training and playing at a higher level, Banditt received a clearance to play with the zone team in the cut-throat Super League series.
The Lumberjacks open their campaign on Saturday morning against Northern, a traditionally physical opponent Banditt believes will give his team an early gauge on where they are at.
The Super League championships showcase a range of skill levels each year.
Banditt is excited to be part of the Lumberjacks line-up.
"It's a very young, talented team,'' Banditt said. "There's not much experience as a team but we'll definitely be a force to be reckoned with.''
The Lumberjacks side will be led by co-captains Jarrod Brown and Craig Smith.
While helping the Lumberjacks make the final is a goal, Banditt is also keen to secure his place in the Queensland under-21 and Blades open team for national competitions later in the year.
He's also been nominated for Hockey Queensland's Rookie of the Year award, being presented at the start of the Super League championships.
After the Lumberjacks play the opening game of the competition at noon on Saturday, the Lumberjills meet Northern Storm at 1.30pm.
The Lumberjills combination is also made up of some exciting Ipswich and Toowoomba players, with youth a focus.
Ipswich player Jordn Office has withdrawn due to a hand injury.
South West Lumberjacks matches: Saturday - noon v Northern Storm; 5.30pm v Central Mudturtles. Sunday: 3pm v Brisbane Fury; 8.30pm v Wide Bay Thunder. Monday: 11.30am v South Coast Sharks.
South West Lumberjills games: Saturday - 1.30pm v Northern Storm; 8.30pm v Central Mudturtles. Sunday: 1.30pm v Brisbane Blitz; 5.30pm v Wide Bay Thunder. Monday: 10am v South Coast Sharks.
Finals start at 2.45pm on Monday. Matches at the State Hockey Centre at Morningside.
Lumberjacks: Cade Banditt, Joshua Bidgood, Jarrod Brown, Jens Christensen, Campbell Coghlan, Zachary Day, Kai Douglas, Matthew Finn, Max Harding, Liam Hart, Caleb McCoombes, Sam Morgan, Jay Pavitt, Zac Profke, Craig Smith, Nathan Smith, Ryan Smith, Tyler Spry.
Lumberjills: Talicia Canty, Natalie Davison, Layla Eleison, Holly Gilbar, Johannah Goschnick, Aimee Griffiths, Georgia Hilas, Elise Matherson, Kelly McNamara, Sara Rogers, Amanda Ross, Sarah Steinhardt, Madeline Stower, Briana Suey, Kacie Trost, Ella White, Katie Wolstein.