Fleta Page July 14, 2012
Central's star midfielder Daniel Hotchkis could easily have been playing for arch-rival Old Canberrans. Photo: Rohan Thomson
An unprecedented three consecutive Brophy medals serve as proof of Daniel Hotchkis's credentials in the capital's first grade hockey competition, with his place in the Australian Development Squad further testament to his talent.
But the Central midfielder and his brothers, Matthew and Chris - the 'Hotchki trio' - could have been playing for their arch-rival Old Canberrans if it wasn't for a late-night agreement by their father Warwick long before they started.
''He used to play for Old Canberrans, but he had a lot of friends with Central,'' Daniel said.
''One night they were having a few quiet ones, they got him to sign a napkin to say he'd play with Central the next season. Maybe having had too many [he] signed it and next year honoured that promise and played for Central, and he's played for Central ever since.''
His sons naturally followed in his footsteps, a decision they don't regret. ''I'm pretty happy he signed the napkin, that's for sure,'' Daniel said.
He and his brothers have been stalwarts of Central's first grade side during the club's recent successful years, working in harmony with each other after years of playing together in the backyard.
''It's pretty convenient that we all play different positions,'' he said.
''[It's] first-in, best-dressed - the oldest [Matthew], he gets to play striker and score all those goals and get the glory, I'm in the midfield and poor Chris being last has to play the defender's role.''
After a summer training stint with the country's best as part of the Australian Development Squad, 26-year-old Daniel will be watching his training partners contest for Olympic gold in London in the coming month, but joining them at the 2016 Games is on his long-term agenda.
''It would have been fantastic to be [in London], but I certainly didn't expect to be there,'' he said.
''I was more than happy to be part of the group and have the chance to train with the guys who were selected in the squad, and just see how they did things, and basically what it takes to be at that level,'' Daniel said. ''It helped to show me things that I need to do, extra things that I need to pick up if I want to get to that level.''
Today the ''Hotchki trio'' will combine against a hugely depleted St Patricks side, with a handful of their opponents in Hobart representing the ACT at the Under-21 National Championships.
Central's season is again going well, sitting just ahead of Old Canberrans on top of the ladder.
But Daniel isn't thinking about a fourth Brophy medal for the best and fairest men's first grader.
''I was pretty surprised to get one, let alone have three … I'd rather have a premiership medal than the Brophy, that's for sure,'' he said.