Victorian forward Hayley Padget admits she may shed a tear if she’s selected to play her first international game on home soil for the Hockeyroos’ FIH Pro League opener against the Netherlands on Saturday.
Padget debuted as a 26-year-old last year, competing at the Four Nations in Japan and Champions Trophy in China, but she could now represent her country for the first time in Australia.
Melbourne product Padget, who played with Doncaster Hockey Club, had shown resilience to overcome years of injuries and setbacks to make her international debut last year.
“With all the injuries and setbacks, thinking that your time is up, you’ve got nothing to lose,” Padget said.
“Rather than going into it with nerves or hesitation, I’m just excited to play.”
The Hockeyroos and Kookaburras’ teams will be announced for the first weekend of matches against the Netherlands and Belgium on Thursday.
Padget added: “It’s like a little girl’s dream to play at home.
“You’ve grown up there, your whole family is there, everyone who’s had something to do with your hockey career will be there.
“I’m so stoked to go home and look into the crowd and know so many faces.
“If I look into the crowd, I’ll definitely shed a tear but I’m very excited.”
The FIH Pro League is an exciting new competition where the world’s best international teams play off on a weekly home-and-away basis.
“When the team does get announced, to be part of the first team would be amazing let alone any of it this year,” Padget said.
“There’s so many good teams competing, it’s a mind-blowing experience. It’ll be insane to be a part of that.”
It doesn’t get any harder than Australia’s first match against world champions Netherlands, who also beat the Hockeyroos in November’s Champions Trophy final.
“I’ve played them a few times before at the Champions Trophy,” she said.
“It was a step-up. We’ve improved a lot since then.
“I can’t wait to play them first up. We can definitely give them a run for their money.”
All FIH Pro League matches will be televised on FOX SPORTS or kayosports.com.au.