QUEANBEYAN’S Damien Smith has been selected in the Australian Oztag team to tour the United Kingdom and Ireland next July.
Smith came to the attention of national selectors through a stand out performance for the ACT at last month’s Australian Championships in Coffs Harbour where was named ACT’s Players’ Player.
It’s the first time Smith has earned national selection after four years representing the ACT.
“I actually found out I made the initial squad after I got a text from one of my mates and I couldn’t believe it,” Smith said. “I just started shaking.
“Ever since I started playing representative footy this is what I wanted to [make the Australian side]. I thought I might have been on track to maybe make it one day but I didn’t think it would happen this year.
“Because I didn’t really expect it, it’s all sort of snuck up on me and happened so quickly. But I definitely can’t wait to get the Aussie uniform and be able to say, ‘that’s mine’.”
A Queanbeyan Blues junior, Smith was a part of this year’s Queanbeyan Kangaroos’ Reserve Grade premiership winning side.
The 25-year-old started playing Oztag “seven or eight” years ago when he suffered a rougher than expected initiation to the sport.
“Originally me and a couple of mates just put a team into D-grade and thought we’d go alright to be honest but the first couple of games we got absolutely belted,” he laughed.
“As the year went on though we started towelling a few sides up and I started playing in a couple of different teams and it went from there really.”
The Australian side will begin training together in January before taking on an Australian Barbarians side in April.