AS WELL-travelled Fraser Coast product Amy Smith prepares for her third overseas tour, it's her performance at New Zealand last year that still burns brightest.
It was the 24-year-old's first tour with the Australian Country open women's side and the experience left a bittersweet taste in her mouth.
"I don't think I had the best tournament last year and I want to rectify that," she said.
Smith was by no means terrible, it's just she knows she can do better and wants to repay the faith shown to her by selectors when she departs for Malaysia on Saturday.
"I have to step up this year and play better," she said.
"It's a fantastic experience and a good feeling when you pull on the green and gold.
"Anytime you put that uniform on it gives you that extra sense of pride and you want to do the uniform justice.
"A big part of my motivation this time is to learn from what I did wrong last year and that's why I've gone to that extra level in my training."
Smith gained national selection after impressing at the Australian Country Championships in Toowoomba last year.
The unwavering midfielder lined up for the Australian Defence Force and was selected by her peers to receive the players' player award.
In typical fashion, Smith worked diligently in the midfield, fighting hard for the ball and using her never-say-die attitude to make things difficult for her opponents.
Smith, who made her Australian Country debut in Fiji in 2012, is expecting to play seven games in Malaysia and Singapore during the two-week tour, starting with a showdown against the Singapore national squad next week.
"I'm just really excited to play teams who have a different style of play," she said.
"I'm sure they'll be quick and agile so I want to make the most of my opportunity."
The Hervey Bay-born Smith started her hockey career at six at the Hervey Bay Hockey Association.
She eventually switched to Maryborough where she played for Brothers so she could get more practice on turf.
After graduating from Urangan State High School in 2008, Smith moved to Brisbane to join the Army Reserves where she continues to serve in an administration role and plays for Norths Eagles in Brisbane's Division 1 hockey competition.
Representing Australia is Smith's highest achievement, but she hopes to use the tour as a springboard to making her debut in the Australian Hockey League.
"If I play well I might get a chance to play with Northern Territory or Tasmania," she said.
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