Craig Warhurst

Europe's the goal for keeper

BEING a goal keeper isn't the most glamorous job on a hockey field, it's one of the worst.

If a team loses it's always the goalie's fault.

But a good goal keeper is worth his weight in gold and that's exactly what Patrick Barnes is.

The 16 year old has been picked in an Australian Schoolboy's side and is set for a trip of a lifetime, a 16 day tour of Europe.

Barnes' first port of call will be Paris, in March next year.

While in the city of love he will play two tests against a French Under-18 side. From there, he will travel to Belgium and play another two tests against a Belgium Under-18 side before playing two tests against a German Under-18 side in Germany.

Then it is on to Netherlands for another two tests.

Barnes said he can't wait for the trip because it will give him some exposure to European hockey.

He said it was his goal to play professional hockey in Germany and study at university while over there.

The talented keeper said this was his first time selected in an Australian hockey side after knocking on the door of selection for a number of years. Barnes has represented Queensland four times and selected in an Under 18-training squad.

"It's all pretty good," Barnes said.

"All the hard work has paid off and I am going toward the career path I would like."

Barnes was selected in the Australian team after a successful national title. Queensland won the event by beating New South Wales 3-1 in the final.

He was joined at the titles by two other Gympie players, striker Drew Wenzel and fullback Joey Collins.

Wenzel was the vice-captain of the Queensland side and was picked as a shadow for the Australian team. If a player drops out of the side Wenzel will join Barnes on the tour.

Despite having a great championship, Collins wasn't selected in the national side.

The three boys will be part of a red hot Gympie Under-18 hockey side playing in the state championships in Toowoomba this weekend.

Barnes said he was hoping for selection in the Under-18 state association side.

"That's my next step," Barnes said.

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