Yep. This is how they roll.Heh sounds obvious I know but I can't speak from experience on the league front as I only played at school boys level and never trialed for reps or anything. It sounds like this happened to you or a son ..... or Chad (same thing??) though!!! haha
Hockey was my main competitive club sport through my teenage and early 20's years.
I was a very good young goal keeper at this point (eventually climbing up into the higher mens grades alongside my regular club side duties over the seasons. Even played some premier league which was essentially the 1st & 2nd grade comps (there were multiple layers of leagues with grade tiers within them) and some quasi international games.
As a teenager they used to run these big weekend carnivals out Sutho way and other places where your club would play multiple games over the course of a weekend sometimes against teams in a older age group as well.
I carved that carnival weekend up, dunno if I had more than a goal put on me even against better or older teams and made some pretty ludicrous saves in a particular game.
A man walks up to me post game who I know was a State selector and asked me why I'm not playing reps and my reply to him was "Because I don't play for Glebe" The blokes face said it all.
He didn't appreciate my reply but the selection panels and coaches were stacked with Glebe & Sutho staff (2 of the strongest and most influential clubs in Sydney) and you were given no favours as an outsider and it was tough to get noticed at trial days by the biased judges who seemed to have made up their minds at breakfast that morning.
It pissed me off as I knew the majority of other keepers around me were inferior and weren't playing in the higher mens grades on the side.
When a coach and current player from my club was eventually put on the team to access keepers at trial days I made the Sydney rep team straight away. A benefit of bias for myself this time perhaps but we were accessed fairly and I deserved to be in that group.
There were multiple squads and we were training every week for State try outs, I had some good competition but I reckon I was out performing them on the training field fairly consistently.
So you know what the shits did come State try outs? (which were basically state wide rep team hunger games where you need to perform then and there and outshine those around you). They stick me on this stacked team, easily the best squad who are matched up with inferior opposition in games and I see just 2 shots on me.
So basically little to no opportunity and some average keeper who turns out to be the son of a selector goes through and makes the State team. lol
I learnt early about how important it is who you know. I could have stuck it out longer over the years and gone pretty far but soon after started to lose the passion and studies, injury ect started to get in the way as well. Not much money in the sport either but there was always the allure of the national team and playing in the Olympics. Plenty of people tried to talk me into staying on.
I guess the politics become somewhat less relevant at the professional levels of sport such as NRL where money and famous major competitions are at stake and/or you are a late bloomer being given a chance to fill a role. But starting out and building your profile, trying to break through can be rough when the playing field isn't level and the agendas are stacked for someone else's benefit.
Not me or my son btw. I’ve just watched a lot of junior reps and top level games for 12’s-15’s. Same story wherever you go. Know the selector = you are a shoe in.