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
Fifty netballers from around the country have been selected for the three-day 2019 National Development Camp in the New Year in Cambridge.
The group – which was selected, based upon performances at National Age Group Championships, Regional Secondary Schools and NZSS Championships and in conjunction with Zone led talent identification programmes – will be split into five teams to attend the camp.
Players will undergo a series of movement competency screenings with fitness tests to be submitted prior to the camp.
A competitive short-tournament structure will be held during the three days where the players’ ability to thrive under pressure will be observed.
The five teams will be led by coaching experts including New Zealand’s Pathway to Podium (P2P) specialist coaches – Jodi Brown, Irene van Dyk, Sandra Edge, Rebecca Gable and Anna Galvan.
P2P head coach Yvette McCausland-Durie and Tania Karauria will also provide support to these coaches in the build-up to the camp which runs from January 18-21.
The players selected are:
Maria Folau, Maia Wilson, Erikana Pedersen and Jamie-Lee Price. All former Mount Albert Grammar School netballers involved in the just completed Constellation Cup series between New Zealand and Australia.
Folau passed through the school gates over a decade ago, but Wilson, Pederson and Price were all part of MAGS teams that won a four-peat of NZSS Netball titles between 2012-15.
This year’s winning captain Addi Albert-Jones said that the benchmark that these MAGS teams set is a big part of the school’s netball culture.
“It was great to carry on the success of past MAGS teams, and we still keep in touch with former players. Most of our families are friends, so when we see Maia and Jamie, Holly and others we say hi to each other,” continued Addi.
Holly is Northern Stars midcourter Holly Fowler, who spent five years in the MAGS team and won four consecutive titles between 2012-15. Elle Temu is another recent player who is joining the Pulse in 2019.
Of this year’s winning team that beat Westlake Girls’ High School 32-23 in last week’s NZSS final in Timaru goal shoot Sharne Pupuke-Robati and goal attack Crystal Maro played in 2015.
In 2016 MAGS lost to Saint Kentigern College in the final in Lower Hutt, Last year MAGS finished sixth.
What was the key to MAGS being on top again this year?
“There were seven of us in this team that won the national title last week who have been playing together since we started at MAGS. We played together in Year 9 and Year 10 and we won all our games except one so we have come through as a tight group,” explained Addi.
“The one game we lost was in Year 10 in Singapore on an international tour and we lost to an Australian school but we ended up beating them in the final.”
Last week in Timaru MAGS won the title, but suffered one loss, going down 30-31 to New Plymouth Girls’ High School.
“I think that game showed us that just the MAGS reputation will not get us through, that we need to play to the best of our ability every game we play.”
On the road to the final, beating Saint Kentigern College was a highlight.
“Beating them by 10 [40-30] was a big result for us because we have been through games against them when we have lost to them by similar scores so we understand how it feels. For the girls to come out on top with a win like that really gave them confidence.”
The win over St Kent’s was on the penultimate day, propelling them into the final against Westlake.
Westlake were fast and accurate and well-coached by former Silver Fern April Ieremia.
“Our game plan from the start of the final was to dominate, to put ourselves ahead and stay in front, because the girls thrive off this.”
That is exactly how the final panned out, MAGS leading from start to finish.
MAGS qualified second for nationals from the Upper North Island Secondary Schools (UNISS) tournament, losing to Epsom Girls’ Grammar School in the final.
MAGS finished third in the Auckland Premier competition. “We missed out on the final, we lost a game to Westlake by one goal and we needed Epsom to beat St Kent’s but St Kent’s won that so we didn’t make it through.”
The future looks bright for MAGS. “There will a few Year 12s and Year 13s so I think MAGS will have a good team in the near future, as long they stay together and enjoy playing with each they will be fine.”
Captain and centre Addi was the only MAGS player in the NZSS team’s tour to Australia just prior to the nationals in Timaru. The team played the Australian U17 squad and an England U17 side in series of non-tournament matches. “It showed us where we need to be to compete with the Australians, it gave us a taste of how drilled they are and the level we need to be ourselves to compete with them.”
Addi, Crystal Maro, Halaevlau Toutaiolepo and Ruby Young all made the tournament team from the NZSS week in Timaru from MAGS.
The netball season now over, the focus turns to the classroom for the MAGS netballers with NCEA exams just around the corner. Many also play other summer sports such as touch, sevens rugby and athletics.
One of the biggest cheers of last Friday’s NZSS Netball post-tournament presentations was for Hamilton Girls’ High School’s Summer Parekura immediately after being named as the Shooter of the Tournament.
“I was so surprised, I didn’t expect to get selected as the Shooter of the Tournament,” said Summer. “It was my goal to be named in the tournament team but to be named in that and be named shooter was awesome, I was pretty stoked with that.”
Summer’s Hamilton GHS team finished seventh of 16 teams in one of the most competitive four days on the New Zealand secondary school sporting calendar.
Being a goal shoot calls for calmness under pressure, something that Summer showed plenty of in a series of close games, including three narrow losses to three of the four leading Auckland teams, Mount Albert Grammar School (champions), Saint Kentigern College (third place) and Epsom Girls’ Grammar School (fourth).
“I just try and stay calm and block everything out when I am out there playing and not think about all the people and the game situation when I am shooting,” said Summer who is year 13 and has been playing the sport she loves for as long as she can remember.
She is primarily a goal shoot, but also plays goal attack and wing attack where her passing and timing is accurate like her shooting.
Summer grew up in Opotiki and spent the first four years of her secondary schooling at Opotiki College.
She moved to Hamilton GHS this year to further her sporting and academic career and lives with her auntie and whanau in town. “I made the move up to Hamilton at the start of this year for better opportunities, including sport.”
Hamilton GHS qualified for Nationals for the first time since 2011.
“We were happy with how we finished overall,” said Summer. “The games against St Kent’s [35-37] and MAGS [33-34] were really close – even though we lost to both of them they were a highlight for us because this is only the second time we have played them and to almost beat them was a boost for our team."
Against St Kent’s, Hamilton GHS were trailing 5-12 after the first quarter but came back strongly in the middle stages.
Summer’s overall shooting statistics from the NZSS tournament were 164/194 or 84.5 percent, and she was heavily marked in all matches.
Hamilton GHS’s captain in Timaru was centre Manaia Rapana-Feather. “I was like the vice-captain and Manaia’s side-kick,” enthused Summer.
With Summer being the Shooter of the Tournament, St Kent’s’ Tayla Earle was the Midcourter of the Tournament – and the NZSS Player of the Year – and New Plymouth Girls’ High School’s Parris Mason was the Defender of the Tournament.
Hamilton GHS went into nationals as the fifth placed qualifier at the Upper North Island Secondary Schools (UNISS) tournament at Mt Maunganui, behind tournament winners Epsom Girls' Grammar School, MAGS, Howick College and St Kent’s and ahead of Westlake Girls’ High School.
Hamilton beat Westlake GHS 29-23 in the 5 v 6 playoff match on the final day of UNISS, but the 28-27 win the day before over One Tree Hill College was more important.
“Beating One Tree Hill felt like a final because we had to beat them to get to nationals. It was a tight game as well, they came back in the last quarter and we just got there in the end.”
Hamilton GHS was the only non-Auckland school to qualify for this year’s national tournament from UNISS. The next highest ranking school outside of Auckland was St Paul’s Collegiate who finished 10th.
Along the way at UNISS, Hamilton GHS also lost to MAGS (23-30), lost to EGGS (27-36), and had a win and a lost against Westlake (24-25 and 29-23).
Summer was the only Hamilton GHS player selected in the 21-strong tournament selection group of A grade players at the end of UNISS.
Before UNISS, Summer was in the Hamilton City team that went into the National U19 tournament as defending champions and ended up finishing fifth, behind winners Auckland. Summer and Lyanne Eukaliti were two Hamilton City players that made the tournament team from the U19s week.
Hamilton GHS won both local competitions they were in this year, including the Monday night Waikato secondary school competition. Hamilton GHS beat St Peter’s School in the final.
Throughout the season, netball takes up much of Summer’s spare time, putting in several sessions a week training and practicing her shooting.
The netball season is over now, but she intends on staying fit and focused ahead of the Waikato Bay of Plenty BEKO Development League trials in the New Year.
The Hamilton Girls’ High School team at nationals was: Ivari Christie, Hannah Coffin, Leila Green, Phillipa Hokianga, Te Amai Hudson, Kalanie Kara, Mya Meadows, Te Aomihia Olliver-Samuels, Summer Parekura, Hylan Potts, Manaia Rapana-Feather, Briar Woolford, Captains: Manaia Rapana Feather & Summer Parekura Coach: Lynaire Williams. Assistant Coach: Dianne Riddle Pelchen. Manager: Leanne Green
Mount Albert Grammar School were crowned the best netball school in New Zealand for the sixth time after beating Westlake Girls’ High School 32-23 in the NZSS tournament final in Timaru on Friday afternoon.
MAGS led the final from start to finish, setting an early pattern and keeping a spirited Westlake at arm’s length throughout the decider.
Goal defence Halaevalu Toutaiolepo was a leading player for the champions, as MAGS’ defensive circle exerted consistent pressure on Westlake’s shooters. At the other end of court, MAGS goal attack Crystal Maro was busy all match and was successful with 23 of 26 shots on goal.
MAGS led 7-3 at the end of the first quarter. Westlake GHS closed the buffer to three goals at halftime, closing to 15-12 by the break. MAGS maintained their pressure and kept their noses in front to lead 24-17 at the end of the third quarter and stayed in front to the end.
This is MAGS’ sixth NZSS title win, since their first in 2010 – meaning that they have now won six of the last nine national tournaments. They are back on top after finishing sixth last year.
MAGS’ win at the NZSS tournament follows their third place finish in the Auckland Premier competition behind winners Epsom Girls’ Grammar School and their 22-32 defeat to EGGS in the final of the UNISS tournament over Winter Tournament Week.
For Westlake, their previous best NZSS finish was 6th in 2009, and they went on to finish 9th in 2012, 8th in 2013 and 10th in 2015 at their last appearance at nationals. They had finished fifth in both the Auckland Premier Competition and the UNISS qualifying tournament in early September.
In an all-Auckland top four, Saint Kent's beat Epsom Girls’ Grammar School 36-33 in an extra time thriller in the 3 v 4 decider and penultimate match of the tournament.
Down 6-9 at the end of the third quarter and 11-20 behind at halftime, St Kent’s made some positional changes - including Tayla Earle moving from centre to wing attack and lastly to goal defence – and held their composure and came roaring back to force a 32-32 scoreline at the end of regular time.
St Kent’s won the third quarter 12-5, to cut EGGS’ lead to 25-23 heading into the final 10 minutes. St Kent’s got to 27-27 and then one goal up with five minutes still to play but EGGS lead 32-31 with only seconds remaining. St Kent’s won the last centre pass of the match and scored the equaliser to lock it up at 32-32.
Three minutes each way of extra time followed, with St Kent’s leading 35-32 at the extra time break and holding on to win 36-33.
In Thursday’s key playoff matches to decide the grand finalists, MAGS had defeated Saint Kentigern College 40-30, while Westlake had edged this year’s Auckland and UNISS champions EGGS 41-40 in a thriller.
EGGS led 36-24 at three-quarter time, but a storming fourth quarter comeback saw Westlake win the fourth term 17-4, including a run of 10 unanswered goals.
Earlier on the last day on Friday, Manukura beat New Plymouth Girls’ High School 45-33 in the playoff for fifth and sixth, in a repeat of the Lower North Island tournament final in early September.
The best of the South Island teams was Dunedin’s St Hilda’s Collegiate who finished eighth with a 32-39 defeat to Hamilton Girls’ High School.
Last year’s winners Howick College finished ninth, beating Southland Girls’ High School 36-24.
Sacred Heart College as the best of the Wellington schools, beating Christchurch’s Villa Maria College 41-27 in the 11 v 12 playoff.
Napier Girls’ High School defeated Wellington East Girls’ College 35-32 in the 13 v 14 match and Christchurch Girls’ High School overcame Nelson College for Girls 35-33 in the 15 v 16 game.
The Shooter of the Tournament was Summer Parekura of Hamilton Girls’ High School, the Midcourter of the Tournament was Tayla Earle of Saint Kent’s and the Defender of the Tournament was Parris Mason of New Plymouth Girls’ High School.
MAGS’ Road to the title:
Beat St Hilda’s Collegiate 56-27
Beat Villa Maria College 54-28
Beat Wellington East Girls’ College 46-37
Lost to New Plymouth Girls’ High School 30-31
Beat Hamilton Girls’ High School 34-33
Beat Saint Kentigern College 40-30
Beat Westlake Girls’ High School 32-23
NZSS Netball last 10 winners:
2018: Mount Albert Grammar School
2017 Howick College
2016 Saint Kentigern College
2015 Mt Albert Grammar School
2014 Mt Albert Grammar School
2013 Mt Albert Grammar School
2012 Mt Albert Grammar School
2011 Tu Toa
2010 Mt Albert Grammar School
2009 Tu Toa
The two squads that met in the final were:
Addi Albert-Jones (Captain), Leila Atkins, Waiana Jones, Latonya Lole, Jada Manase, Crystal Maro, Sharne Pupuke-Robati, Aaliyah Rooney, Halaevlau Toutaiolepo, Renata Tusani, Catalina Young, Ruby Young Coach: Sarah Hann. Assistant Coach: Kylie Leot.a Manager: Primary Care: Oceane Maihi.
Westlake Girls' High School
Olyvia Baggett, Charli Foster, Angeline Godinet, Elizabeth Handey, Courtney Katterns (co-captain), Sara McCarthy (co-captain), Kylie McGahan, Ellie Minton, Claudia Sowter, Kristin Talma, Rachael Webster, Millie Wilton, Captains: Coach: April Ieremia. Assistant Coach: Celine McGahan. Manager: Liz Page. Analyst: Carrie McCarthy.
Nelson College for Girls (NCG) will take their place at the NZSS Netball Championships in Timaru next week for the first time in over 20 years.
NCG qualified in fourth from the recent South Island Secondary Schools (SISS) tournament, behind winners Villa Maria College, second placed Southland Girls’ High School, third placed Christchurch Girls’ High School and ahead of fifth placed St Hilda’s Collegiate.
At the 16-team NZSS tournament, NCG are in Pool A with Upper North Island winner Epsom Girls’ Grammar School, Lower North Island third placed qualifier Napier Girls’ High School and UNISS fifth placed qualifier Hamilton Girls’ High School.
A bit more about them below.
School: Nelson College for Girls
Team Members: Lydia Swaney, Olivia Avery, Alex Whitfield, Tia Van Diepen, Jaime Archer, Jessica Williams, Kate Caradus, Zoe Curtis, Emma Newsome, Scarlet Powell, Sophie Fleming, Chloe Webb.
Captains: Lydia Swaney (c) and Olivia Avery (vc)
Coaches: Lyn Fleming and Faye Eden
NZSS Netball tournament history:
The last known time Nelson College for Girls was at NZSS was 21 years ago, back in 1997. So this is a pretty new experience for us and our school!
What’s it going to take for your school to do well in the NZSS Nationals?
We need to keep working hard and pushing each other hard in training. As well as training, we need to continue to eat well and keep up our nutrition and hydration. This keeps us at our peak so that we’re ready to hit the court having the best build up possible.
What local competitions has your school team played in this year and how did your team go?
Our team played in the Premier competition in Nelson where we mostly played women in a three round-robin set up. We ended up coming fourth in this competition. However, we did go to Christchurch and play some friendly games against Villa Maria A and B as well as Christchurch A, where we won these games.
Who are your school’s closest rivals on the netball court?
Our closest rival on the netball court would be Waimea College. They are the only Secondary Schools team who we have the opportunity to play regularly. Waimea challenge our fitness and skills and when we play them it means we get to put all our hard work on the court.
What’s been a memorable match your team has been involved in this year?
A very memorable game the team has played was definitely our SISS game against St. Margaret’s [won 36-33], which decided what team was going to get into top 4. We played a very tight game where both teams fought till the very end and gave all they had. This was a very memorable game for us, as we never thought we’d be able to make it as far as we did in the competition and making it into top 4 was an awesome feeling.
What’s the age make-up of your team?
We have a lot of year 13’s, six, one year 12 and four year 11’s. None of us have ever gone to NZSS before so will be an exciting, new, experience.
What’s the strength of your team?
The strength of our team is our drive to never give up and our team bond. We’re all very good friends out of netball and this correlates onto the court. All of our team is either been in a representative team this year or previously played in a representative team. We have all played with each other in rep teams before so we have an understanding of how each person plays and how each person is different. Our team culture is one of our strongest attributes. We all like to have fun together but we know when it’s time to knuckle down and put in some work.
Are there individuals in your team that also play other sports or do other activities for the school?
Within our team we have a range of girls that have different abilities in different areas. We have a couple of girls who are involved in our school choir, which gained a silver medal in the national ‘Big Sing’ choral festival. We have girls who play at a high level in Volleyball and New Zealand Basketball. As well as this we have four girls who’re part of the Head Student team as House captains and Olivia Avery is our Head girl at Nelson College for Girls this year.
Does your team have a motto or a mascot or any pre or post game rituals or preparations?
We like to play games such as ‘oomcha’ and ‘bump’ as a way to get the chat up before games and to get mentally prepared.
What other support has your team received to get to allow it to operate at the level it does?
We’ve had so much support this year including individual sponsorship and team sponsorship from NBS. As well as this many parents and family travelled down from Nelson to Dunedin to see us play so we owe them a massive thank you for taking time out of their busy lives to support us. I already know that family is coming to Timaru to again support us so we are very thankful for them. But we owe the biggest thank you to our coaches and manager. Lyn and Faye have given up so much of their time to come to trainings and games each week. We wouldn’t be where we are today without our coaches continually supporting us and teaching us. We also owe a massive thank you to Libby Archer, our manager. We all love the food she cooks and the laughs we share with Libby and our coaches.
Napier Girls’ High School recently finished third at the Lower North Island Secondary School (LNISS) tournament to book their place in the 16-team NZSS tournament in Timaru in the second week of the October school holidays.
From the LNISS zone, Napier Girls' High School join winners Manukura, New Plymouth Girls’ High School, Wellington East Girls’ College and Sacred Heart College, Lower Hutt. Napier beat Wellington East 40-37 in the playoff for third and fourth.
Four Napier players, Jamiee Tapine, Valentine Kahukura, Parris Petera and Melika Samia, made the A Grade LNISS tournament team.
This follows a successful year in Hawke’s Bay competitions and they will be gunning for a positive finish to their season.
Napier GHS are in pool A with Upper North Island tournament winners Epsom Girls’ Grammar School, Nelson School for Girls and Hamilton Girls’ High School.
Napier last played in the NZSS in 2015. Before that they competed in 2018 and finished 12th.
A bit more about the team below:
School: Napier Girls’ High School
Team Members: : Janaya Preece, Janayah Lewis, Caitlin Smith, Parris Petera, Samantha Taylor, Ashleigh Poi, Brianna Lee, Maddison Kaye, Jaimee Tapine, Kiah McCorkindale, Melika Samia, Valentine Kahukura
Captain: Valentine Kahukura
Coaches: Annemarie Kupa and Julie Williams
NZSS Netball tournament recent history:
We were last at nationals in 2015 and we were placed 13th.
What’s it going to take for your school to do well in the NZSS Nationals coming up in Timaru?
Start well in every game. Keep dancing!!!
What local competitions has your school team played in this year and how did your team go?
Our team won the secondary schools Super 12 and also played in the Premier Club Super 8 competition in Hawke’s Bay and won that too.
Who are your school’s closest rivals on the netball court?
Hastings Girls’ High School and our inter-school fixtures against Palmerston North Girls’ and Tauranga Girls’ High School.
What’s been a memorable match your team has been involved in this year?
The final against the Otane Thirsty Whale club, as our team had family members in the Otane team and our coach Annemarie’s twin sister was playing against us. Also our game at the Lower North Island Tournament against Sacred Heart Lower Hutt to make top 4, which we won 33-30.
What’s the age make-up of your team?
The NGHS team is made up of one year 13 player, four year 12s, six year 11s and one year 10. This is the first any of us have been to nationals.
What’s the strength of your team?
We are all representative or Development players. We have strong shooters and a good team defence.
Are there individuals in your team that also play other sports for the school?
Melika Samia - HB Basketball and Volleyball Rep / Janaya Preece - HB Basketball Rep / Janayah Lewis - HB Basketball Rep / Ashleigh Poi - HB Basketball Rep
Does your team have any pre or post game rituals or preparations?
A dance routine the girls’ choreographed to the songs ‘It’s tricky’ or ‘She’s got that vibe’.
What other support has your team received to get to allow it to operate at the level it does?
Good fundraising efforts by parents at short notice.
A year can be a long time in secondary school sport.
Just ask the New Plymouth Girls’ High School Senior A netball team, who recently put aside the heartbreak of missing out on qualifying for the NZSS national tournament by one place and one goal in 2017 by finishing second at this year's Lower North Island Netball Secondary Schools (LNISS) tournament during Winter Tournament Week.
With the top five finishing teams qualifying for the 16-school NZSS tournament every October from the LNISS zone, NPGHS lost 28-29 to Sacred Heart College, Lower Hutt in the 5 v 6 match at last year’s LNISS tournament played on home courts in New Plymouth.
That loss was the end of the line in 2017 for NPGHS, while Sacred Heart went on to finish a respectable 10th at nationals.
NPGHS captain Boston Falaniko said last year’s close finish was especially strong motivation for the senior players to do well in 2018.
“There are four year 13s in our team and because it was our last year we really wanted to make nationals and that was one of our top goals all year,” said Boston. “We just stayed committed to that goal and worked hard and it paid off for us.”
At the recent LNISS tournament played at Vautier Park, NPGHS won their first eight matches straight to book a place in the final on Friday against Manukura.
“We made a bit of a slow start actually, just getting our connections right and it felt like we hadn’t been playing for ages. But once it got to Wednesday and Thursday we started to connect well and our team bonding with each other was really good and we started playing some good netball and that is what got us to the final.”
NPGHS missed out 20-22 to Manukura in that decider. How did the final pan out? “The first three quarters we were down but for the last quarter we put in the hard work and came back, outscoring them 7-1.”
Manukura leapt to a 10-4 lead after the first quarter and hung on against the fast-finishing NPGHS to win the LNISS title for the third consecutive year and they finished third at last year’s NZSS tournament.
Centre and wing defender Boston Falaniko, wing defender and goal defender Brooke Neilson and defenders Isla Vink and Parris Mason were all named in the tournament team after the final.
For NPGHS, qualifying for the NZSS tournament is a feat the school last achieved in 2013 when currently injured Silver Fern defender Kelly Jury was in the team, a year before the current year 13s started secondary school.
The NZSS tournament has been running 1993. NPGHS finished seventh in 1999, sixth in 2001, fifth in 2002, third in 2003, sixth in 2004, seventh in 2006, seventh in 2007, sixth in 2008 and 12th in 2013.
Last year Howick College won their first title, breaking the stranglehold from recent seasons by their Auckland rivals Saint Kentigern College and Mount Albert Grammar School.
This year’s NZSS tournament is in Timaru from 9-12 October.
NPGHS has also had a positive year playing in the local competition. “We were in the Premier 2 club competition, playing against clubs around New Plymouth, and we won the final. This means that next year the team will go up to Premier 1.”
Some players were also in the Taranaki U17 team that finished eighth of 42 teams at the Central Zone representative tournament at Vautier Park in July. “We won all our games to qualify for the top 4. We had to win against Palmerston North to stay in the top 4 but we lost which was unfortunate - but finishing eighth was still the best we had finished in a long time.”
Boston and Parris both made the tournament team from the U17 tournament.
Boston also plays touch and indoor netball, Parris also plays Touch and basketball , Brooke plays rugby sevens .
Last year Boston went to South Africa with the New Zealand indoor netball team.
Boston said that next year she is moving to study in Wellington next year, and will look to continue her netball career there.
New Plymouth Girls' High School LNISS results:
Beat Tawa College Won 44-10
Beat Horowhenua College 63-6
Beat Whanganui High School 36-27
Beat Inglewood High 29-11
Beat Wellington Girls 30-18
Beat Hastings Girls High School 37-19
Beat Palmerston North Girls High 27-19
Beat Wellington East Girls 37-23 (semi-final)
Lost to Manukura 20-22 (final)
LNISS tournament – five teams qualified for the NZSS tournament:
2. New Plymouth Girls’ High School
3. Napier Girls’ High School
4. Wellington East Girls’ College
5. Sacred Heart College, Lower Hutt
At the end of last year, Vika Koloto found a new home on the netball court.
“I only recently switched from goal shoot to goal attack, “she says. “Late last year the main goal attack in our school team got injured and I had to step up into that position.”
“It’s really fun, I love it. I found I like the extra movement and space and feeding goal shoots. I found I got a lot more fitter and everything was perfect for me when I switched positions.”
Last month the Baradene College year 12 player was selected in the NZSS netball team that plays in Canberra from 1-5 October against the Australian U17 squad and an England U17 side.
This will be the first time she has represented a New Zealand team and it is believed that she is Baradene College’s first NZSS netball representative.
Selection was a surprise for Vika. “It was quite a big shock. There was a development camp in the school holidays and they picked the squad from that, and I was quite surprised to get in,” she explained.
The initial squad went their separate ways until the U19 and U17 tournaments. “A few days after the U17 tournament the team was named and my name was there.”
Vika’s Auckland team finished runner-up to Wellington at the U17 tournament in July. The final was hard-fought and intense throughout, before Wellington pulled away to win 41-29. This was the fourth straight year these two teams had met in the national U17 decider.
From the Auckland U17 team, Vika and Killarney Morey from Epsom Girls’ Grammar School were selected in the NZSS squad. Vika is also eligible to play the U17s tournament again next year.
Last week Morey’s EGGS team won the Auckland secondary schools competition, beating Saint Kentigern College 39-37 in an extra time final.
Baradene finished eighth of 12 teams, but Vika said there were plenty of positives. “Last year we were 11th so we have come up three places. We have got a very young team. Out of 12 players in our team we only have two that are leaving us and we have got four year 10s and a couple of year 11s.”
Vika is Baradene’s vice-captain this year and she has been in the team since year 10.
Baradene won four games and lost seven in the round-robin series but some of those losses were close. “At one of the early season tournaments we only lost to Epsom by three, which we were quite excited by, and even with St Kent’s we were with them the whole game but lost to them in the last quarter.”
Baradene scored 355 points and conceded 363, and in competition play their losses to EGGS and St Kent’s were 28-34 and 30-37 respectively. “There were some good games but we always end up losing in the last quarter.”
Next up for Vika’s school team is the Upper North Island Secondary School (UNISS) tournament in Mt Maunganui that runs all next week.
Baradene will need to finish inside the top six to qualify for the 16-team NZSS tournament, which is being played in Timaru this year from 9-12 October.
Last year Baradene came 10th at UNISS, but the year before they finished sixth and played in the NZSS tournament in Lower Hutt. They finished down the table, but as recently as 2012 they were third and in 2013 they were fourth. The NZSS netball tournament can lay claim to being one of the most competitive tournaments on the sporting calendar.
Netball is Vika’s main sport, but she also plays volleyball and has played that for Baradene for the past four years.
Vika is part of her school’s sports programme called BEST, which stands for Baradene Elite Specialist Training.
She is also one of several up and coming netballers in the NZEPP programme, for aspiring netballers developing into Beko players in the Northern Zone.
“We did heaps of training with them and Fast5, and I was lucky to train with the Northern Comets Beko team during pre-season.”
Vika has been playing netball since she was nine, starting out as a defender but soon moving to goal shoot and latterly goal attack. Her goal is to play Beko netball, but with another full year of school to come her focus next year will be on leading the growing Baradene Senior A side and continuing to develop her own game.
Georgie Edgecombe has won two national sporting titles for her school and representative sides in basketball and touch and has played alongside some of the country’s top up and coming female players in both those sports.
But putting her sole focus into netball has paid dividends for Georgie with her recent selection in the 14-strong New Zealand Secondary Schools team.
Georgie, a goal defender or goal keeper and occasional wing defender, joins the NZSS team at the end of September before travelling to Canberra from 1-5 October to play the Australian U17 squad and an England U17 side.
The St Peter’s School, Cambridge player been selected as one of two netballers from Waikato Bay of Plenty in the NZSS team, alongside Khiarna Williams who goes to Trident High School and played in the region’s Beko side this season.
Georgie is back playing after recently being sidelined by a short, sharp injury.
“I played for Hamilton City at the National U17 tournament in the school holidays - but I got injured in the first game,” she says. “I dislocated my patella in the last 30 seconds of the opening game.”
Her team won that match over Hawke’s Bay Black 32-22. They went on to finish 10th of 42 teams without Georgie on the court, although she was able to contribute in other ways. “I was a bit of a defence coach for the rest of the week!”
The New Zealand team was named after the U17 tournament had concluded and the good news is that Georgie was back playing last week. “I am on the recovery now and it is nearly all better and I had my first three quarters back on court last Thursday.”
St Peter’s School Head Girl Georgie is also the leader of her school Senior A netball team. “I have been in the team for three years and I have been the captain for those three years as well.” This year she is captaining a young side. “Our team is made up of mostly year 10s, but they have lots of potential.”
St Peter’s play in two competitions. On Monday nights they play in the Waikato and Bay of Plenty school competiton and on Thursday nights they play Waikato club netball in the Premier grade. “This is against players such as Laura Langman and WBOP Beko and Magic players, so it is a good learning opportunity for us and our young players are gaining plenty of experience.”
The big tournament coming up is the Upper North Island Secondary Schools (UNISS) tournament in Mt Maunganui this time next month in Winter Tournament Week.
St Peter’s heads into this year’s UNISS seeded 19th and needs to finish inside the top six to earn a spot at the coveted NZSS tournament later in October.
Georgie started playing netball when she was about eight or nine. “I started in primary school with my friends and had a lot of fun. I realised once I got into intermediate and into secondary school I really enjoyed it and grew passionate about it and wanted to take it further.”
Her upcoming trip with the New Zealand Secondary Schools team will be her third netball tour of Australia. “I have been on two school netball tours there before. Last year we went to Sydney and we spent about four days playing school, club and rep teams, and in 2015 we did the same.”
With a background in other sports, netball is Georgie’s sole focus now.
“I have played basketball for St Peter’s. I am not this season, but I did in 2015 and 2016.” St Peter’s were national NZSS champions both those years. Teammates Charlisse Ledger-Walker and Ella Bradley are current NZ U17 basketballers.
“My other main sport has been touch in the summer. I played in the 2017 U18 Waikato team.” This team were national champions and members of that side are in the NZ U18 side for the Youth World Cup and others are in the NZ U18 girls sevens rugby side going to the Youth Olympics in October.
Being Head Girl of St Peter’s and a newly minted NZSS netballer means there isn’t a lot of downtime for Georgie. “I have got a pretty full schedule.” Academically, she is doing five NCEA level 3 subjects, geography, economics, maths and English.
She was asked to trial for the WBOP netball team at the start of this year but she decided not to given her already packed schedule. For now she is just concentrating on an exciting few months coming up with school and representative netball and finishing her time at St Peter’s on a high.
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