Young talent shines in international `friendlies’

Over the past week Australia’s best young talent have taken on the world’s best in a series of warm-up matches ahead of the Netball World Cup SYDNEY 2015.

From Hobart to Newcastle – and Launceston, Canberra and Sydney in between – the international opportunities these athletes like Kaylia Stanton, Chloe Watson, Cody Lange, Annika Lee-Jones, Kiera Austin, Hulita Haukinima and Numi Tupea have experienced over the past seven days will prove invaluable to their careers going forward.

The Australian 21/U team faced up against the three favorites for the Netball World Cup in Australia, New Zealand and England along with New Zealand `A’ and coach Tania Obst said playing six games in five days was a great learning experience for her squad.

photo“They certainly held their own with best athletes in the world for patches,” Obst said. “Now it’s about them learning that consistency and repeated efforts for 15 minutes and then over four quarters.

“But the fact that we held our own in every match at certain times, they can take a lot of heart from.

“The ability to keep backing up, not play well one day but coming out and doing it again and the next day. So learning that has been a great experience.

“Our young athletes have had a sensational past week.”

Tas_Spirit_v_Aus_CoE_090The Netball Australia Centre of Excellence team returned with a clean sweep of its three matches played in Tasmania, including victories over Scotland and Wales.

Coach Nicole Richardson said their experiences would hold the athletes in good stead as they progress through the High Performance Pathway.

“There’s a ton of depth in Australian netball at the moment,” Richardson said.

“So it’s an exciting time moving forward and netball is in good hands at the moment when you look at group sitting behind the Diamonds.

“It was good to see the growth in the players across the three games and the youngsters really stepped up and took their opportunities and were really composed against the more experienced players.”

The local members of the Canberra Darters squad enjoyed the chance to take on Jamaica in three matches, which coach Melinda Clarke said would only benefit the Netball ACT programs going forward in 2016.

As expected the Sunshine Girls, bronze medalists at last year’s Commonwealth Games, won the match but Clarke was delighted that her athletes experienced this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Netball Australia acknowledges the Australian Commonwealth Games Association for its support of the Australian 21/U team through the Australian Junior Commonwealth Games Squad program.