CHANCE TO REFLECT: Ipswich international hockey player Cade Banditt enjoys a rare chance to relax in between major sport, work and study commitments.
CHANCE TO REFLECT: Ipswich international hockey player Cade Banditt enjoys a rare chance to relax in between major sport, work and study commitments. Cordell Richardson

Ipswich sportsman deals with a 'Blaze' of elite challenges

AS one of Ipswich's most talented and ambitious sports-men, Cade Banditt has never shirked a challenge.

He is focused on representing the new Brisbane Blaze franchise in this year's Hockey One League before pressing to make the Australia A squad.

But after this month retaining his place in the Australian national junior squad, the ever-busy Ipswich-bred goalkeeper shared some honest insights into juggling his many commitments.

"I'd be lying if I said I didn't get overwhelmed at times,'' Banditt, 20, said.

"It's hard to try and be an elite athlete and work full-time and then study.

"There are times where I do feel very overwhelmed and I've got all this pressure on my shoulders.

"But when I look back on it, I couldn't have it any other way. I like to keep busy.''

In his second year working for a Brisbane law firm, the former St Edmund's College student is also still completing his degree at USQ.

Having grown up with his family at Kholo, Banditt has continued his hockey development in Australia and overseas.

He represented the Australian under-21 side at the recent 8 Nations Invitational tournament in Madrid. The Burras finished fourth after losing the bronze medal playoff to Belgium in a shootout.

That two-week international tournament came after he represented the same side at last year's Sultan of Johor Cup tournament in Malaysia.

On his latest overseas trip, Banditt got to see how a group of European and Asian countries approach their hockey.

"It doesn't matter where you go in the world, playing internationally it's always going to be strong competition,'' said Banditt, who has 20 caps playing for the Australian junior squad over the past three years.

"You learn different ways to play different structures and each team has their own way of play and you've got to be able to adjust to each different nation.''

Two weeks after returning from Madrid, Banditt backed up in the Australian under-21 championships in Lismore. He was named goalkeeper of the tournament after representing the Queensland side.

"I was quite excited about that,'' he said. "All the hard work is gradually paying off, which is a good reward for the effort.

"I don't want to be a keeper that just has one standout performance. I want to be a keeper that has consistent performance all year round.''

 

Ipswich international hockey player Cade Banditt.
Cade Banditt. Cordell Richardson

He has maintained his regular work with the Blaze squad as part of his Queensland Academy of Sport and Hockey Queensland High Performance training commitments.

With the Hockey One League starting late next month, Banditt expects even more competition for spots with the national players returning in the lead-up to next year's Tokyo Olympics.

"At the moment, I am just training for the Brisbane Blaze team and hopefully I'll gain selection in that,'' he said, currently in the squad.

"All the Australian players come back and basically play in our team with us so it's quite a tough squad to get in this year.''

Banditt was in the Queensland Blades AHL squad the past two years, getting to experience the former national competition.

The Australia A squad Banditt also wants to gain selection in is a development group of players hoping to progress into future Olympic and Commonwealth Games squads.