Klau keen to excel at Centre of Excellence stint

It’s been a busy year already for Sarah Klau, but she’s excited about returning to the Netball Centre of Excellence Residential Program.

Klau, pictured left representing South Australia, will join 12 other of Australia’s emerging athletes in the four-week program at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra from next Monday.

The group will be under the guidance of former Australian coach Jill McIntosh, who has been working as a Technical Director with Jamaica at the Netball World Cup SYDNEY 2015.

The South Australia defender was part of the Centre of Excellence’s inaugural residential intake last year, travelling to South Africa for a series of matches under then head coach Michelle den Dekker.

After representing South Australia at this year’s 21/U national championships in Queensland and being part of the Southern Force side in the Australian Netball League, Klau has been offered a contract with the Adelaide Thunderbirds in the ANZ Championship next year.

She was also part of the Australian 21/U team that played a series of warm up matches against Australia, New Zealand and England ahead of the Netball World Cup.

The 20-year-old said believes her latest stint at the Centre of Excellence will provide her game with the extra development she needs to be able to step up to the next level in 2016.

“Last year’s group was quite experienced. We had players like Ash Brazill, who was an awesome leader, and I learnt a lot from all of them,” Klau said.

“This year I will be one of the older athletes but I’m glad to have been given the opportunity. We’re learning off the best coaches in Australia, the strength and conditioning and facilities are awesome and we get access to nutrition classes.

“So I’m going to make the most of every opportunity over the next month.”

1G8A5919Klau is excited about joining the Thunderbirds in 2016 and reuniting with den Dekker.

“She’s highly regarded and I’m excited about what she will bring to the team next year,” Klau said.

Her involvement with their development squad – the Thunderbabes – for the past couple of seasons has helped prepare her somewhat for what the step-up to ANZ Championship level will be like.

“It was an awesome to come out every second Wednesday and have some game play against them (Thunderbirds), the likes of Erin (Bell) and Carla (Borrego),” Klau said.

“Even the time I had with the (Australian) 21/U team I saw the gap between the girls already in the ANZ Championship and myself.

“So having this extra top-up at the Centre of Excellence will be good for me and hopefully gain a bit of extra strength and a good aerobic base to take into next year with Thunderbirds.”

The four-week Centre of Excellence program runs from 24 August to 18 September.

Four assistant coaches – Kylee Byrne, Jenny Brazel, Tania Obst and Michelle Wilkins – and four apprentice coaches – Melinda Clarke, Ronelle van Dongen, Tasha Richards and Kristy Keppich-Birrell – will all spend a week working with McIntosh and the athletes.