IT was only a small gamble when talented hockey player Matt Gohdes decided to further his sporting career outside Rockhampton but it is one that paid off quickly for him.
It has not been straightforward for the rising star who was named in the Kookaburras development squad and invited to the lengthy training camp in Western Australia.
Now Gohdes is one of a party of players selected to make the trip to Malaysia next week for a series of international matches.
Yesterday, in between training sessions, Gohdes told The Morning Bulletin from Perth that the news of his selection to tour with the senior squad had finally sunk in.
“I found out about two weeks ago,” he reported.
While gaining international recognition was always his goal, the teenager admits his selection has come more quickly than even he had hoped.
“We fly to Kuala Lumpur and play five matches in seven days,” he said.
Another reason for Gohdes' surprise is he has only recently returned to active training after injury.
“I'm only just back training as I had an operation on my foot,” he said.
The Kookaburras went into camp at Perth about three months ago and for a large percentage of that time the teenage star had been a spectator as he was still on crutches following an operation on a tendon.
“I'm fully recovered now,” he confirmed.
Gohdes admitted he loved being a part of the Kookaburras squad.
“It's good, they treat you as a professional,” he said.
The inclusion of Gohdes as one of three players set to make their senior international debut means coach Ric Charlesworth is leaving the door open to promising players to stake their claim.
Gohdes is aware that selection for the tour is just another stepping stone along the journey to becoming a regular choice in the Kookaburras line-up.
One of his dreams is to team up with illustrious cousin Jamie Dwyer and fellow Rockhampton product Mark Knowles but that won't happen on this tour and so he'll have to wait a little longer to fulfill that dream.
At this stage the young striker is happy to take what comes his way without pressurising himself with specific goals, although he does admit selection for the 2012 London Olympics would be nice.
“Yes, I probably would be a good age for the Olympics,” he admitted.
The Kookaburras fly to Kuala Lumpur on October 16 where they will train for two days before entering into their five game international series with the tour ending on October 26.
Charlesworth will name a squad later in the year for the Hockey Champions Trophy which is to be played at Melbourne from November 28.