A passionate home crowd has spurred Waitakere 1 on to its first Netball NZ U17 Champs title in almost 10 years.
Waitakere 1 beat Manawatu Green 46-34 at Netball Waitakere headquarters in Auckland on Thursday.
They last stood on top of the U17 podium in 2010 (as Auckland Waitakere) but went through the 2019 tournament unbeaten to claim the Anna Rowberry Cup.
Coach Tabitha Winter said it was a great feeling to win the national title and she was delighted with her team’s focus during a tough final.
“It was a great final,” she said. “It was contested the whole way through and Manawatu made us work hard for it. But we focused on ourselves and kept that focus throughout the whole game.”
Winter had 11 players for the pool play before New Zealand Secondary Schools and ANZ Premiership shooter Grace Nweke joined the team.
She played a strong hand in Waitakere’s finals performance as Manawatu struggled to shut down the 1.93m shooter.
“It’s been a team effort throughout the week and the girls have known they could go on at any instance. They’re not even tired, believe it or not, but I am – it’s a tough week,” Winter said with a laugh.
Nweke proved a strong target for Waitakere in the final and their through court defence also stymied Manawatu’s flow through the mid-court in particular.
The two teams were drawn level with just over a minute left in the first quarter before a Waitakere intercept sparked the home side which netted three straight goals to go into the break with a 10-7 lead.
Backed by their supporters, Waitakere rushed out to a six-goal buffer before Manwatu closed the gap to four at halftime.
Manawatu defender Kara Adrole worked tirelessly against Nweke and Waitakere was forced to patiently work the ball into their shooter.
Waitakere’s pressure across the court started to pay dividends as the hosts started to dominate for a 34-25 lead with one quarter to play.
They held their composure in the deciding spell for a convincing 12-goal victory.
The win marked a commanding four days from the Waitakere which was unbeaten heading into the final having accounted for Wellington B, an Invitational side, South Canterbury, Dunedin, Hutt Valley and toppling Auckland 1 (40-35) in a tense battle to clinch a semifinal spot.
They overcame Eastern Bay of Plenty 41-29 in the semifinal for a spot in the last two.
Manawatu A Green had just the one loss on their pathway to the title decider, going down 25-37 to Eastern Bay of Plenty on the opening day.
From there the Yvette McCausland-Durie and Renee Matoe coached side bounced back with five convincing wins to set up a semifinal against Dunedin, winning the play-off 31-22.
Meanwhile, Eastern Bay of Plenty finished in third spot after beating Dunedin 43-23.
Manawatu A Green
Wellington A Black
Christchurch A Red
Trust Waikato Hamilton City A
North Harbour 1
Bayley's Hawkes Bay Black
Hutt Valley Gold
Manawatu B White
Wellington B Gold
Trust Waikato Hamilton City B
North Harbour 2
For a blueprint of what can be achieved on the national stage, the St Peter’s School Premier netballers can look no further than their Senior A Girls Basketball counterparts, who have won three of the past NZSS AA Champion titles.
The netballers are also in top form so far in 2019. Featuring some of their basketballers – including Tall Fern Charlisse Leger Walker – the St Peter’s Premier netballers recently beat Hamilton Girls’ High School 58-41 in the final of the Waikato Secondary Schools League competition.
St Peter’s turned a tight first half into a strong third quarter performance to lead 43-28 heading into the fourth quarter and maintained their margin to fulltime. Hamilton were the defending champions and were the only non-Auckland regional school in last year’s NZSS Championships in November.
St Peter’s captain Kataraina Ormsby was pleased with the win, in their fourth match over Hamilton GHS this year.
“Leading up and coming into the game we knew it wasn’t going to be easy. In the beginning of the game we held it very close until the third quarter where we pulled ahead. With the support and encouragement from our school, family and friends on the sideline we were able to come out on top.” said Kataraina.
“This was a huge accomplishment for our team after falling three points short against them last year,” she added. “I felt our girls worked extremely hard for this game and all the effort and commitment finally paid off. This was a great opportunity for us to enjoy it and use this as a milestone working towards UNISS [Upper North Island Secondary Schools] in August.”
As well as the Premier team, the St Peter’s Premier Reserve side beat Te Aroha College 64-32 to win their final.
St Peter’s co-coach Ange Russek said winning the Waikato Secondary School final was the accumulation of the last couple of seasons. “This was the team’s third year in a row as finalists and they were determined to maintain their composure and consistency they had shown in the lead up games to the final,” said Russek who coaches the team alongside Jess Elers.
Russek said that the players have been implementing on court what they have been working on in trainings. “They are learning to absorb the challenges during games, playing with confidence and executing our skills under pressure.”
Playing in the Open Hamilton City Netball Grade on Thursday nights indoors has been a great experience. “The level of intensity and skill of the opposition (Beko and Magic players in some teams) has given the girls the opportunity to play against some of the best players in our region. Currently sitting second out of 12 teams is a real credit to the girls.”
“These games are preparing them well for the UNISS where the goal is to qualify for NZSS.”
Last year St Peter’s finished 12th at UNISS after being seeded 19th heading into the tournament. Hamilton GHS finished fifth and went on to finish seventh at NZSS.
Russek said a well-balanced team is positive.
“The squad has a great mix of year 11 players through to year 13s. We will lose a lot of our senior players this year who are in their last season for St Peter’s. They have been an integral part of the team success, brining on and off the court leadership, intensity in training and expectations for success. Our Year 11 and 12 players are in their second year as Premier players, most coming through the successful year 9 and 10 Netball Academy at St Peter’s that is growing and developing excellent netballers across all positions.”
Captain Kataraina agrees.
“I think that we have such a strong foundation in our team with the skills and abilities of our senior players to support our up and coming stars. Our newest addition to our team Katie Te Ao has made a huge difference to our defensive end, right through to Atlanta Bruce and Sade Kaipara-Morrison who we can count on to finish it off every time. To have such young players with a lot of talent who can adapt and play under pressure has been a great learning curve for us all.
“However with the experience of our new coaches Jess Elers and Ange Russek we have learnt to build connections off the court, during trainings and outside of school. These connections are evident and effective while playing and becoming the new under dogs and being ‘unstoppable’ when it all comes together.”
The team also includes several cross-sport athletes – not least Leger-Walker (mentioned above).
Ella Bradley is also a NZ age group basketball rep. Captain Kataraina Ormsby; captain was a member of the NZSS netball squad, Waiata Jennings, Katie Te Ao, Atlanta Bruce, Sade Kaipara-Morrison and Sophie Waddell are all playing regional age group representatives for Hamilton City. Alana Paewai a Waikato age group basketball team member. Annalies Kalma is a Waikato Secondary School Volleyball rep and an Athletics NZ U18 representative, currently holding the fastest time for open women in the 400m.
“So a very talented team across a variety of sports, which is healthy for their physical development as teenagers and young women. They are getting a good variety of training without specialising too early. The strengths from their other sports definitely benefit netball and vice-versa.
“We are very aware that strong teams on paper cannot be taken for granted on court, and the girls are very humble. They are always striving to do better, take advice well and want to improve. These qualities, along with enjoying and responding to pressure bodes well for the business end of the season.”
Now that the Waikato Secondary School competition is over, the players are no less busy on court.
The team will continue playing in the Hamilton City Open competition, the representative players will be playing NZU17 and U19 National tournaments in the July holidays and then the team will play in the Auckland Points tournament.
“Managing player overload is a priority for this stage of the season, so good recovery routines, nutrition, sleep, managing their academics, enjoying friend and family time are just as important as the netball. Looking after their well-being and ensuring the are fit and healthy for UNISS are crucial for a successful UNISS campaign and qualification for NZSS.”
Jaymie Kolose has recently returned from the Touch World Cup in Malaysia, where the Touch Blacks Women’s side made the final against Australia, and she is in the Warriors Women’s squad for the new NRL Touch competition.
She has also been selected in the New Zealand Secondary School Netball Team that is preparing to take on England U19 in July in Auckland.
We caught up with year 13 Saint Kentigern College’s Jaymie to find out more about her busy sporting life.
Congratulations on representing New Zealand at the Touch World Cup. What position do you play and how many games did you play?
For the Open Women’s Touch Blacks team I play Middle/Link. At the Touch World Cup, I played all but one pool game (that was against USA).
What was a highlight playing for the New Zealand at the recent Touch World Cup?
Representing my country at this level and also playing in the final against Australia with the world’s best touch players was definitely another highlight for me.
The touch season is over, but you still have some exciting Touch commitments coming up, as well as netball?
That was the end of the international and representative touch season for me, however I have been fortunate to be selected to play in the new NRL Touch Competition for the Warriors Women’s Touch team. School netball started last term with skills and conditioning and court work. The Auckland school competition starts this week.
What New Zealand Touch teams have you played in previously?
My debut with the NZ Touch Black Women’s team was last April 2018 for the Opens Trans-Tasman Series against Australia. I have also represented NZ in the Junior grades for the U18’s (Youth Trans-Tasman series 2017) and the NZ U15’s (Development Tour, 2014).
What were some highlights playing touch in NZ this past season?
I have really enjoyed my touch season. To make the finals for the NZSS Touch tournament was a great achievement for the team and school especially with a number of new and younger players. I then went on to represent my province Counties Manukau in the U18 Girls which we won and then moved into the Open Women’s Touch Nationals also with Counties. Unfortunately, we went down in a drop-off in the finals. So, a busy schedule but a rewarding one.
How do the two sports complement each other?
Some of the skills associated to touch can be transferred to netball, things like passing into spaces, speed to the ball and agility. When you are in an environment where you are expected to perform you make sure that the groundwork is done, things like being fit. Also playing with players with a lot more experience also makes you work harder too.
What positions do you play in netball, and have you always played there?
I move between Centre and Wing Attack. I have also played Wing Defence. I have always played these positions for school, club and representative netball.
Is this the first time you have made the NZSS secondary school netball team? What other representative netball teams have you played in the past?
This is my first year with the NZSS Netball team. I have also played representative netball for Auckland through the grades and also with Tamaki Makaurau. Highlights for me would definitely be making this team and winning a NZSS Netball National title in 2016.
How long have you been in the St Kent’s Premier netball team for?
I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to go to my first NZSS nationals with the 2017 Saint Kentigern Premier team and was selected in the team in Year 11.
Do you also play some club netball as well?
The Auckland Secondary School competition starts this week. I am currently playing school netball and fill in for club netball in a Premier competition.
For school, the St Kent’s team had some big battles last year including the 37-39 extra time loss to EGGS in the Auckland Regional final, so a tough competition?
The Auckland secondary school competition is always a hard competition. Our team have been focusing on building connections across the court and we are really keen to get out there and play. We know that each game is going to be tough but we are ready to go!
As well as netball and Touch, do you play other sports?
I had done athletics for school, Eastern Zone and Auckland Championships over the past five years. I did the 100m and 200m. Unfortunately, I tore my hamstring and was unable to compete in the Eastern zone and Auckland Championships this year.
How long have you been your sports and what was your first sport?
I have been involved in sports since I was three or four years old starting with athletics. I played netball for club when I was six and started playing Touch when I was about seven. My first sport would have been athletics.
How much of an influence is your family on your sport, including your older sister Tori?
My family has had a huge influence on my sports. From driving me to and from games and practices to making sure I’m looking after myself to encouraging me to ‘play my best!’ Everyone in my family plays sports, it is part of who we are and what we do! You can always guarantee that you would see a family member watching from the side-line, this can be hard sometimes considering there are five of us. My older sister Tori has always been someone that I have looked up to in sport. We’ve played together at Saint Kentigern in both Netball and Touch and outside of school too. She has shown me that hard work pays off.
Read about older sister Tori Kolose HERE from 2015 when she was MVP of the NZSS Touch Tournament.
Despite a recent injury scare, 17-year-old Paris Lokotui is fit to play after being selected for the New Zealand Secondary School netball team.
Last year Lokotui was selected for the New Zealand Secondary School team but was unable to play because of an ankle injury.
After once again being named in the New Zealand Secondary School side this year, history threatened to repeat itself when she injured the same ankle playing in the Beko Netball League a couple of weeks ago.
Fortunately, she recovered quickly and had been able to play and train on it since last week and therefore would be able to compete against the England Under 19 team in July.
“To be selected and a part of the NZSS team again is just awesome,” she said.
Lokotui, who predominantly plays goal defence and goal keeper, has been playing for the Queen Margaret College Senior A netball team since year nine, making this her fifth year in the side. It’s not just all netball for Lokotui however, she also plays basketball, water polo, sevens rugby and volleyball.
Lokotui has been able to learn from some of the game's best players while playing for the Central Manawa in the Beko Netball League, as well as occasionally training with the Wellington Pulse.
“It has exposed me to what being a professional athlete is,” she said. “To be successful, you must be in a team environment where everyone is for each other and that everyone has their mind focused on the same goal.”
She was also one of 12 young New Zealand sportswomen who were awarded a Tania Dalton Foundation scholarship this year. The scholarship is in honour of the late Tania Dalton, who made 37 appearances for the Silver Ferns and died suddenly in 2017.
As part of the scholarship, Lokotui was set up with legendary New Zealand goal shoot Irene Van-Dyk as a mentor, who she said she looked up to both on and off the court.
“Not only was she an amazing netball player but she shows attributes such as kindness, respect and gives back to the community which really inspires me.”
Van-Dyk said one of Lokotui’s strengths was her work ethic. “She does not shy away from hard work.” Lokotui trains at least six days a week, including team trainings, strength and conditioning sessions, and matches.
Van-Dyk said that her hard work showed on the court. “Her ability to read the game is absolutely fantastic. She hunts for the ball, she doesn’t get stuck at goal keeper.”
Lokotui is one of two Wellington players in the NZSS team to play England in July, along with Saviour Tui from St Mary's College.
Read our previous story with Paris Lokotui in October 2017 HERE
Northland netballer Dannielle-Rose Dephoff will join the New Zealand Secondary Schools squad that plays England U19 in July in Auckland.
We caught up with the Bay of Islands College year 13 player as she juggles her busy life in Kawakawa training and playing netball for school and club and of course attending school.
Congratulations on making the team – what was your reaction after your heard you had been selected?
When I received the call in my mind I just went ‘wow, I actually done it.’ I was excited, nervous and definitely a bit surprised all at the same time. The reason I was so surprised was because I was up against thousands of other amazing, naturally talented and hard-working girls throughout New Zealand.
Was this the first time you trialled for the NZSS team, or had you made previous NZSS training squads before?
This would be my first and last ever year trialling for the NZSS team. I've played against only a few of my new teammates in previous years (that I know of) and that was in representative tournaments.
Are you from Northland?
I was born in Whangarei and raised in Kawakawa. I am from Kaeo which is further up north and also a little place called Motatau - Which is also known as ‘the centre of the universe! I went to Kawakawa Primary school, then transitioned from KKPS into Bay of Islands College after year 8. I have been at BOIC ever since I started secondary school.
You play defence – you have recently changed positions?
Growing up I have been through and played all seven positions. When I started Secondary school and up until mid-last year I was circle defence; GK and GD.
Mid last year my coaches and I came to the realisation that I wasn't going to grow any taller and my dream of playing circle defence for the rest of my life was never going to happen! So with that in mind my representative coach played me in mid court from then on. When I first started playing in the mid court I wasn't too fond of it, but then it grew on me and now my preferred positions would definitely have to be C or WD.
What other representative netball teams have you played in?
Ever since the end of my primary school years I have played in Kerikeri representative teams. I have been playing in the Tai Tokelau Maori netball teams ever since I was 11, so about 6 years now! I have also played in the Whangarei U19s team for two years now and I was recently chosen to play in the Northland Cluster U17s team for 2019.
What is a favourite aspect of playing netball?
My favourite part about netball is meeting new people at tournaments, and seeing all the other talented girls who are as passionate about netball as I am. Meeting new people would have to be one of my favourite things about netball because I get to make new friendships which will last a whole lifetime.
What netball centre do you represent, and do you play club and school netball?
I represent Kerikeri netball centre, and have done since year 7. I play in Whangarei with my Club team, The BUBZ. I also play in Kerikeri with my school team.
The reason I play club netball and school netball is because I get to learn off amazing people who are older than me who have been playing the game for a long time, and in my school team get to learn and grow with/off girls my age. Last year I played club which was an amazing experience because I got to learn so much and develop myself not only as a netball player but as a young woman. We didn't win our competition but it wasn't really about the outcome for us it was more about the process and journey we took from the start to the finish of the season.
How much travelling is involved for you playing and training for netball?
Right now I am working on balancing all my team and personal trainings as well as my school and home life. I train locally which is very good for me and my busy whanau. On weekends I play in Kerikeri which is only about 30 minutes away from where I live and also Whangarei, which is only about 45mins away from my hometown.
Do you someone or people you admired growing up, helping you to get to this stage?
Growing up I have been forever surrounded and inspired by so many amazing people, and it’s not only the women in my life who have helped me through my journey it’s also been my dad and many of my uncles. My mum and several my "aunties" have always been my favourite players or mentors over my years of growing up. They have taught me all i know about the game.
What other sports have you played? Has netball always been your main sport?
When I was about four I started my sporting life off with rugby, then as I turned seven my mates at the time and I swapped our rugby jerseys for netball dresses. Later on when I started secondary school I got into Waka Ama and Rugby 7s, but ever since I was seven years old netball has always been my main sport.
Tell us about the support you have?
In the north everyone knows everyone, so as I grew up I have had the pleasure of learning that I have about 30 or so non-related aunties and uncles who care for me and teach me things as if I was their own. My family is one of the most supportive groups I have in my life, and I am sincerely grateful to be blessed with the most motivating, and uplifting family I could ever ask for.
I have had several coaches over the years and give all thanks to them for I would never have made it this far without them, they have given me the most knowledge, the most drive and the most support to get me where I am today.
Most of all I’d like to thank my parents, living with three other siblings it hasn't been easy on my parents to juggle around their work lives, my siblings and I, and paying bills every day. They have been the back bone to my entire netball journey and I would like to thank them for always being there when I need.
Thank you and go well!
Manukura have attended the NZSS netball tournament every year since 2005 and last year finished fifth in one of the country’s toughest school national tournaments.
One of their players, Brody Manson, has just been selected in the NZSS team that plays England U19 in July in Auckland.
She is also one of six Manukura players named recently in the Aotearoa Māori Netball International Secondary School (AMNISS) team that hosts the International Schoolgirls Netball Challenge in Palmerston North at the end of this month.
We caught up with Brody as the 2019 season is just getting underway.
Congratulations on making these teams. What was your reaction to being selected?
Excited, grateful for the opportunity, super surprised - it was just out of nowhere really. Being that it is my last year of school I thought that the opportunities had come and gone for me.
What were your expectations at the start of the year, and what was the selection process for both these teams?
Honestly, I never really thought I was good enough to be selected but after making the squad of 22 for NZSS there was a chance of making the team. It was a surprise to be named in both teams and I’m excited.
NZSS Selection process: Regional Talent ID camp then move to Centre Talent ID camp at the end of last year. I was then shortlisted to attend the NZ Development camp and got called into the camp in early January. From there 22 squad players were named and the final selection was made last Wednesday.
AMNISS Selection process: Open trial process in February which gained selection into a squad of 15 players to compete at the Pacific Nations Cup Tournament in Auckland in March. From there you have to attend the National AMNOHL Tournament to be considered for the Team.
The netball season is just getting underway, so the mahi is just starting – what is your training and playing routine over the next few weeks?
I have two netball and basketball practices, four conditioning sessions, one Premier club netball and basketball game and one SS netball and basketball game a week. Playing netball for school is a priority but also making sure I am prepared for the AMNISS campaign.
How was the experience in training with the Central Beko team recently?
Being at the next level of high performance was great. I learnt that there is more off court things that need to be completed and it is a lot of self-managing that takes place.
What are your favoured positions - you are a centre or wing attack?
I like centre better but I can play both. Centre is more my type of style as I have more freedom and I’m not confined to one area of the court.
Tell us about your netball and background? You are from Northland?
I have been playing netball for 10 years now, I really only started playing because all my friends played and trained at lunchtime so I joined in. I come from a small town in the north, Dargaville where my family still lives. There was never really much competition or opportunities being in such a small town and I guess my family wanted more for me and they were my main driving force into moving away and excelling in all aspects of life really.
We decided I would move down after my first year of high school at 14 years old. I was fortunate enough to be coming down with family friends who I spent the first couple of years with which made the process a of moving away from home and my friends a lot easier but I was still anxious and scared to be in a different environment and out of my comfort zone. I am now in my fourth year of school at MANUKURA and couldn’t be happier with the sacrifices me and my family made at the start of this journey.
How long have you been a member of the Manukura Senior A team for?
This is my second year in the Senior Team. Last year we missed out on top 4 on count back so our goal was to finish 5th. We lost four players from last year so we still have a solid base to work off for this year.
Basketball is another one of your main sports – you also play for Manukura’s Senior A team?
I play for the Senior A Basketball team at MANUKURA. We competed in the Single A grade last year and were fortunate enough to take out the Championship. We are a group that have been together for a while now so we are looking forward to what this year will bring us.
Tell us about the support you have?
I have the most amazing support system behind me in everything I do no matter how far or near they may be. The amount of love, support, commitment and time my family invests in me is incredible and is what allows me to attend and be part of these teams, which I cannot be more grateful for. They are the backbone to my success and I wouldn't be in this position without them.
Thank you – and good luck for the season ahead!
View the NZSS team that plays England in July HERE
A 12-strong New Zealand Secondary Schools netball team has been selected to play the England U19 team in July.
The NZSS side will host the English for a block of training and match-play from 1-4 July in Auckland.
Within the group there are eight athletes currently playing at Beko Netball League level or higher, including Grace Nweke, Nanise Waqaira, Taneisha Fifita and Khiarna Williams who have seen court time during the ANZ Premiership.
NZ Secondary Schools head coach Charissa Barham said it was a terrific opportunity for the country’s next generation of stars to gain experience against quality opposition.
“It’s been exciting to see the wider NZ Secondary Schools squad develop and we are looking forward to seeing what this team can do in match-play situations,” she said.
“This is a key stepping stone within Netball New Zealand’s development pathway and by having a home campaign we have allowed cross over with Silver Ferns to allow for a unique experience to inspire some of our next group of elite players.”
The team is:
Olivia Burnham - Villa Maria College (Mainland)
Dannielle Dephoff - Bay of Islands College (Northern)
Taneisha Fifita - Waitaki Girls’ High School (South)*
Jaymie Kolose - St Kentigern College (Northern)
Vika Koloto - Baradene College (Northern)
Paris Lokotui - Queen Margaret College (Central)*
Brody Manson - Manukura (Central)
Parris Mason - New Plymouth High School (Central)
Grace Nweke - Avondale College (Northern)
Saviour Tui - St Mary's College (Central)
Nanise Waqaira - Howick College (Northern)
Khiarna Williams - Trident High School (Waikato Bay of Plenty)
*subject to medical clearance
The Northern Mystics have added schoolgirl Grace Nweke to their full-time playing squad for the remainder of the ANZ Premiership.
The Avondale College student and 1.93m tall goal shoot will turn her full focus to the Mystics having previously split her netball workload between the BEKO Netball League, where she was part of the Northern Marvels, and the ANZ Premiership.
Nweke, who was born in New Zealand and is of Nigerian descent, has grabbed the spotlight with her shooting accuracy, temperament and athletic ability on court.
The talented former high jumper only turned 17 in February and still has a full year left at secondary school – something the Mystics management was mindful of when including the teenager in their squad.
Mystics coach Helene Wilson said she was pleased to see Nweke officially join the ANZ Premiership but would still be wary of managing the youngster’s workload.
“Grace has been a training partner with us and of course made an impact on court in the ANZ Premiership over the past few weeks,” Wilson said.
“She knows our set-up, the players and is coming to grips with what is expected at this elite level.
“There is no doubt that Grace is an exciting prospect for both the Mystics and New Zealand netball, but we also need to be mindful that she is still very new to the high performance environment.”
Nweke has so far put up 166 attempts at goal in the 180 minutes she has played to date with an 83 percent accuracy, showing plenty of maturity against some of the best defenders in the country including Silver Ferns Casey Kopua and Kelly Jury most recently in Round 6.
“Finding the right balance for Grace is very important to the Mystics because she is certainly a player to watch for the future. And she still wants to have fun out there,” Wilson said.
A squad of 22 players has been named by Netball New Zealand from which the 2019 New Zealand Secondary Schools (NZSS) team will be chosen by the end of April.
The squad is:
The Emerging Talent Selection Panel, including Adrienne Morrin, Charissa Barham, Paula Smith and Jen Hooper, has confirmed the squad which was selected from a number of NZ age-group tournaments and camps.
NZSS Head coach and panel member Charissa Barham said selectors had assessed performances at last month’s National Development Camp, the ANZ Premiership pre-season tournament in Ōtaki along with various secondary school tournaments last year.
“It has been a thorough process and we have had the opportunity to look at a number of players,” she said.
“There are some athletes who were involved with the NZSS team last year and plenty of new faces who are pushing hard for selection this year.”
The squad includes six members from last year’s NZSS team which competed in Australia.
Barham said selectors would continue to monitor those involved in the Beko Netball League and ANZ Premiership whilst also viewing footage from the 2019 National Development Camp.
The 2018 secondary school and age-group representative netball season was once again hard-fought and thrilling to the end.
A number of players are sure to go and play BEKO Development and ANZ Premiership netball in the coming years - two in this list below already have and others are already preparing to join their new teammates in the New Year.
As always, the list below is not defined as a 'best of' one, more a celebration of some of the players we have followed and others we have interviewed this year, for their individual and team performances. Vote in the poll at the bottom for your College Sport Media Player of the Year.
Addi Albert-Jones (Mount Albert Grammar School) – The centre was the captain of the MAGS team that won the NZSS title for the sixth time in the past nine years but just their first since 2015. Albert-Jones helped conduct her side to a clinical 32-23 win over Westkake GHS in the final, timing their season and NZSS run to perfection after finishing third in Auckland and runners-up to Epsom GGS at UNISS. Albert-Jones was one of four MAGS players to make the tournament team, including Crystal Mayo, Halaevlau Toutaiolepo and Ruby Young. In July, all four players had made the National U19 Tournament Team as part of the winning Auckland side. The previous week before the NZSS tournament, Albert-Jones represented the NZSS team in Canberra.
Tayla Earle (Saint Kentigern College) – The versatile Earle was the Midcourter of the Tournament at the NZSS tournament and was also named as the Secondary School Netballer of the Year for 2018. Her Saint Kentigern side finished third after a thrilling extra-time 36-33 win over Auckland rivals Epsom Girls’ Grammar School, who had won Auckland and UNISS. This came hot on the heels of representing her country when the NZSS team met England and Australia U17 teams in Canberra. Rotorua-raised Earle was earlier named as the MVP of UNISS in early September. She joins the Northern Mystics in 2019.
Georgie Edgecombe – St Peter’s School – The St Peter’s Head Girl flew the flag as the sole representative from Waikato in the 14-strong NZSS team that toured Australia in early October. The defender and captain of her school team for the past three years, Edgecombe credited her NZ selection by concentrating on netball over her other sports, in particular basketball and touch. She also returned after a midyear setback when she was side-lined from the start of the National U17 tournament with a knee injury and her Hamilton City team finished 10th of 42 teams. The youthful St Peter’s team were seeded 19th at UNISS and finished 12th. One of four training partners selected for the The Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic squad for the 2019 ANZ Premiership season.
Tiana Metarau (Wellington East Girls’ College) – The year 13 shooter shot 185 goals at 84.5 percent in the ANZ Premiership for the Central Pulse, which was higher than six shooters on percentage in the top 10 highest aggregate goal shooters in the competition. Completed her second season in the Pulse, making the New Zealand A Development team and the Silver Ferns training squad. She was also the Super Club Shooter and Player of the Tournament. College Sport Wellington Netballer for the third consecutive year. Metarau returned to her WEGC school team to help them to a fourth placed conclusion at LNISS and then on to 14th at the NZSS tournament.
Parris Mason (New Plymouth Girls’ High School) – Parris Mason was the Defender of the Tournament at the NZSS tournament as NPGHS capped off their most successful year in several seasons by finishing sixth and beating tournament winners MAGS 31-20 along the way. Just year 11, Mason is a key player her school will build their team around over the next two years. Prior to the NZSS tournament, Mason – who has also represented NZ in touch and basketball – helped NPGHS to a second placed finish at LNISS, losing 20-22 to Manukura in the final. Mason, midcourter Boston Falaniko, wing defender and goal defender Brooke Neilson and defender Isla Vink were all named in the tournament team. NPGHS also won the local Premier 2 club final and earned promotion next year. In July Mason and Falaniko made the tournament team from the North Island U17 Championships. Taranaki finished eighth.
Georgia Stroud, Olivia Burnham and Hannah Glen – Villa Maria College – Representing the Mainland netballers in this list, Stroud and Burnham were selected together as the only two South Island players in the NZSS team that toured Australia while Glen was the only South Islander named in the tournament team at the end of the NZSS tournament played in Timaru the following week. The trio were not only key members of the their school’s Senior A and in the Netball Mainland Baby Beko squad, they also excel in other sports. Stroud plays in the midcourt and is a national U19 surf lifesaving champion and middle distance runner and Stroud and defender Burnham were half of Villa Maria’s team that broke the SISS 4x400m record in March. Attacker Glen is a bronze medalist U18 quad Maadi Cup rower. Villa Maria beat St Andrew’s College 33-23 to win this year’s Canterbury Supernet title and beat Southland Girls’ High School 39-26 in the SISS final. At the NZSS tournament they finished 12th of the 16 teams. In representative netball, Stroud and Glen were in the Canterbury U19s and Burnham in the Canterbury U17s.
Khiarna Williams – Trident High School – Two years to go at school, but Khiarna Williams has a full season playing in the BEKO League under her belt and was recently selected as one of four training partners alongside the the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic in the 2019 ANZ Premiership season. The specialist shooter played with confidence and composure all year as WBOP finished runners-up to Central in the BEKO competition. She then made the tournament team at the U17 North Island Championships representing Eastern Bay of Plenty, and again at UNISS as Trident finished 11th, and toured Australia with the NZSS team in October. Also a member of Trident’s volleyball team that were national champions in 2017. A BoP Sports Awards Junior Sportswoman finalist this year too.
2015: Maia Wilson (Mount Albert Grammar School)
2016: Renee Savaiinaea (St Mary’s College)
2017: Nanise Waqaira (Howick College)
The Champion of Champion series is not intended to be a definitive list of the ‘best’ athletes in each code, rather it celebrates many of the leading athletes and teams in each that College Sport Media has followed this year. Preference has gone to those individuals/teams that CSM has interviewed and profiled in 2018. Got a story? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
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