MATT Huf’s commitment to hockey extends beyond the playing field.
The Woolsthorpe-based defender travelled to Melbourne countless times throughout the 2013 Hockey Victoria Premier League season to better his game.
He played for top-grade side Altona, alongside Warrnambool and District Hockey Association clubmates Cale Rout and Cam Jarry.
The decision to play at a higher level meant three trips to Melbourne a week — twice for training and once for game day.
On top of that, Huf, 19, played for Victoria at the Australian Country Championships in Perth in August.
He caught the eye of national selectors and will represent Australia Country for the first time at under 21 level in Fiji later this month.
The apprentice builder said his national call-up made the monotonous travelling worthwhile.
Huf said playing for Altona held him in good stead for the overseas challenge.
“The intensity just doubled from anything I’d played before and you have to train harder,” he said.
“You have to put so much more effort in.
“We were going down there two nights a week and one Saturday, so three nights a week in Melbourne, so it’s good to see a bit of reward for the effort.
“I didn’t think I was going to get selected in the premier league team and I played in that most of the year, so that was pretty pleasing.”
Huf said he was unsure what to expect from the overseas competition.
“I think we are playing a Fijian national team and their under 21s,” he said.
“I am hoping to get a bit more experience. I’d like to improve and it will just be a whole different level of playing, playing against a different style and culture.
“I’ll take it as it comes.”
Huf and will Australia Country teammates will fly out on December 13.
Woolsthorpe’s Emily Lanman will represent Australia Country open for a third time in March.
She will compete in New Zealand.