Australian 19/U squad ready to take on NZ’s best

2015 National Championships19U Grand FinalVictoria v NSWAustralia’s best 19/U netballers are preparing to cross the Tasman for their first exposure to international level against the top talent in that age group from New Zealand.

The Australian 19/U squad will depart for Rotorua on Saturday, where they will spend three days in a training camp before taking part in the Trans Tasman Tournament that begins next Tuesday.

The squad of 22 athletes will be split into two teams – Australia Green and Australia Gold – and play against the New Zealand Secondary Schools team and a Maori 19/U team.

The teams, which will be finalised on Sunday night, will be led by Australian Diamonds assistant and Netball Australia Centre of Excellence head coach Michelle den Dekker and Australian 21/U coach Tania Obst.

Both will be assisted by Targeted Coaches Briony Akle (New South Wales) and Kate Upton (Victoria).

Each team will play six matches over the three-day tournament in a round robin format. Obst said it was a fantastic opportunity for the athletes selected in the national squad.

“Being exposed to international touring and match play is a critical part of their individual development,” Obst said.2015 National Championships 19U - 3 v 4 - Bronze Medal Game Western Australia v South Australia

“Having the opportunity to play against the New Zealand-style will present different challenges amongst the group which I am sure they are ready to tackle.”

The athletes will also be exposed to some specific technical and tactical coaching in their respective areas.

“We are looking to identify the athletes that can transition from their daily training environments and use the skills they learn from the technical sessions into match play,” den Dekker said.

“New Zealand plays such a different game to the traditional, hard, one-on-one Australian style; the girls will need to adjust to the New Zealand off-line defensive pressure and employ strategies unlike those they’ve been previously exposed to.”

Obst will be keeping a particularly close eye on the development of this group as the nucleus is likely to form part of Australia’s 2017 Netball World Youth Cup campaign.

“While the focus isn’t on that event, I will obviously be looking at athletes who are progressing and adapting in this international environment,” she said.

The Australian 19/U squad is: Casey Adamson, Toni Anderson, Jessica Anstiss, Lucy Armfield, Kiera Austin, Emily Burgess, Jane Cook, Kate Eddy, Sophie Garbin, Samantha Gooden, Tayla Honey, Cara Koenen, Annika Lee-Jones, Nicole Lendich, Alison Miller, Jacqueline Newton, Claire O’Brien, Amy Parmenter, Hannah Petty, Emma Ryde, Ashlee Unie, Phoebe Wilcox.

AUSTRALIA’S TRANS-TASMAN TOURNAMENT DRAW
Tuesday, 26 May
Aotearoa Maori v Australia Gold, 8.30am (AEST)
NZSS v Australia Green, 10am (AEST)
Aotearoa Maori v Australia Green, 3.45pm (AEST)
NZSS v Australia Gold, 5.15pm (AEST)

Wednesday, 27 May
Australia Green v Australia Gold, 10am (AEST)
Australia Green v Australia Gold, 3.45pm (AEST)

Thursday, 28 May
Aotearoa Maori v Australia Green, 8.30am (AEST)
NZSS v Australia Gold, 10pm (AEST)
Australia Gold v Aotearoa Maori, 3.45pm (AEST)
NZSS v Australia Green, 5.15pm (AEST)