Despite being a self-professed ‘proud Wellingtonian’, Development Squad member Bradley Read is loving life in Auckland.
With opportunities proving limited in Wellington, Read made the decision to shift North and ply his trade for North Shore United in the North Harbour club competition.
“I loved living in Wellington and everything about it but being named in the Development Squad – all the trainings are up in Auckland and all the facilities are up there. It was tough to make that decision going up there but I am really happy I have done it and am already seeing the benefits.”
One of Read’s priorities this year will be pushing hard for selection into the New Zealand Under 21 side to take part in the Junior World Cup in India in December. He knows just how tough that will be.
“It looks like it’s going to be a good build-up for New Zealand leading into that tournament. We have a good base of players who have come through in the last year or so, with a lot of young guys in the National and Development Squad.
“If I am lucky enough to be selected in the team it is going to be a massive opportunity and one of the highlights of my career. With the team we have got we have a good possibility of doing well, it’s just a matter of putting performances together and really pushing those other top nations.”
2015 proved to be a great year for Read on the hockey turf – winning both the National U21 tournament and the Ford National Hockey League with his Capital Cobras outfit – ironically both were won in shoot-outs. Read has no doubt as to the reason for Capital’s success last year.
“Just the culture we built in both teams was really key – it wasn’t forced culture, we put it upon ourselves if we are going to go away and we want to be a winning team then we have to have that culture.”
It wasn’t all plain sailing for Read though. A frustrating back injury towards the end of 2015 limited his training and resulted in him missing out on the Junior World Cup Qualifiers against Australia in January. Read opted to take a long term approach to his recovery.
“That was pretty disappointing – it was the first time we had all the available players looking to go away to the Junior World Cup. It was just one of those things – you can’t do much about it, but I decided to play it safe and take a break.”
With the bulk of the successful Capital U21 side from 2015 missing, new captain Read is aware 2016 is going to be difficult. The opening weekend proved this, with a last minute victory over Central followed by a tough 4-0 loss to Canterbury.
“Every year we go away the goal is to win. We scraped through against Central, Canterbury are a good team but we still played well and had our chances. We’ve got the skill base in the team to be successful, just have to put it out on the park.”
Sunday was another tough day for Read and his Capital lads, going down in a shoot-out to Southern in the first game of the day after scores were tied 2-2 at fulltime.
In other men’s results on Sunday, North Harbour defeated Midlands 2-0 and Canterbury maintained their spot on top of the table with a 4-0 win over Auckland.
CLICK HERE for all scores, standings and stats from the National U21 Tournament