WORLD YOUTH CHAMPIONSHIPS SIDE TOGETHER AGAIN

Australia’s brightest young netball talent will be on show at the Waverley Netball Centre in Melbourne’s south-eastern suburbs this weekend.

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The AIS squad will take on Victoria’s two sides in the latest round of the Australian Netball League as they continue their build up for the World Youth Netball Championships in Scotland next month.

For the first time since the final team was chosen in May, coach Carol Byers will have all 12 of her players together.

Mission Queensland Firebirds pair Kim Ravaillion and Gabi Simpson and Adelaide Thunderbirds defender Kate Shimmin will rejoin their Australian 21/U teammates following the conclusion of their ANZ Championship commitments.

While Ravaillion and Simpson will watch the action from the sidelines, Shimmin will get some valuable court time.

Simpson, who this week was also picked in the Australian Diamonds training squad, said she’s looking forward to meeting up again with her World Youth Cup teammates.

“We’ve spent so much time together over the past few years leading up to the World Youth Championships, so it’s going to be exciting being back with the girls again,” Simpson said.

“Being able to get together and start training as a while team is going to be very important for our Would Youth Championships goal.”

The 20-year-old said the realisation her dream of representing Australia was getting closer had helped overcome the disappointment of the Firebirds’ Grand Final loss.

“It’s almost helped you get over the loss more than quicker than everyone else,” Simpson said.

“Rav (Ravaillion) and I have been really happy with our years and what we achieved as a group. We sat down at the start of the year and set our goals as a team and what we needed to achieve to get to the Grand Final.

“Yes we fell short of winning the ultimate prize, but it was an amazing season. We got pretty close but that’s what will drive us for next year. We’ve looked at it in a positive way and now we have a new focus of the World Youth Championships.”

Simpson said she’s been talking to her Firebirds teammates have been part of previous World Youth Championships campaigns.

“I’ve talked a lot about it with Nat (Medhurst) and Geitzy (Laura Geitz) and they’ve said it’s such an amazing experience,” Simpson said.

“To be in that environment and playing against the other countries is something you can’t describe until you experience it for yourself I guess. You can’t take it for granted. You’ve got to enjoy every moment and make the most of this opportunity.”