Darters enjoy opportunity to experience Sunshine

Melinda ClarkeFor the Canberra Darters’ Australian Netball League squad, the opportunity to take on one of the Netball World Cup SYDNEY 2015 medal contenders Jamaica is an experience money can’t buy.

The Darters and Sunshine Girls have already had two hit-outs behind closed doors in Canberra this week but will play in front of a capacity crowd at the ACT Netball Centre on Tuesday afternoon.

It’s a formidable task for the Darters coming up against the likes of Jamaica’s twin towers in Romelda Aiken and Jhaniele Fowler-Reid, the winners of this year’s ANZ Championship Most Valuable Player awards in Australia and New Zealand.

Pictures courtesy of Ben Southall and Michael Bradley

But coach Melinda Clarke, pictured above, said there’s been some promising passages of play by her athletes in their early hit-outs and said they are excited to have this opportunity to play against world-class opponents.

“When this opportunity came up we thought it was something that would be hugely beneficial for our athletes,” Clarke said.

“It’s such an amazing opportunity to be exposed to a different type of netball to what we’re normally used to and a different pace of the game up against a world-class side.

“The fact that we’ve been given this opportunity is great and something our girls will never forget.”

www.mbphoto.co.nzJamaica, the bronze medalist at last year’s Commonwealth Games, is currently ranked fourth in the world.

The Darters’ squad has been bolstered by the addition of West Australian trio Sophie Garbin – who was part of the Centre of Excellence team that played Wales and Scotland in Tasmania – along with Jessica Anstiss and Nicole Lendich.

Clarke hopes the benefit to come from this series of matches against the Sunshine Girls will be the continued improvement her players showed this year in the ANL. While the Darters only won one game, they were competitive for longer against the competition’s leading sides

“We know that we’ve still got a lot of work to do but opportunities like this will only help us get there,” she said.

“They are learning every single time they step out on court and that can only do positive things for our program in the future.”