Secondary School netball continues to produce star performers year in-year out in New Zealand. Below are some of the leading players that College Sport Media has profiled and seen play in 2016. Out of the group below, who would be your favourite player this year?
Courtney Elliott (Tai Wananga)
Like Sydney Fraser (below), Courtney has spent much of this year nursing an Achilles injury, but prior to that the specialist defender and former shooter captained the New Zealand team to their win at the International Secondary Schools Challenge tournament in May, in her second year in the squad. Courtney relished the captaincy and was named Defender of the Tournament. She was also selected in the WBOP side in the new Beko League. At the start of this month Courtney was named the BLK Secondary School Player of the Year at the Netball NZ Awards.
Sydney Fraser (Saint Kentigern College) - Sydney Fraser’s school team had a breakthrough NZSS Netball Championship tournament, beating four-time defending champions MAGS 35-34 in the final, but Sydney herself spent the tournament on the bench having recently had an operation on her Achilles. Injury also kept her in the classroom and off court for the NZSS team in May. But when fit there’s big wraps on the wing attack/goal attack and St Kent’s Head Girl. Sydney represented Northern in the Beko League competition, made the NZ 19 Netball Championships tournament team in July (along with school teammate Mererangi Paul) was selected for the NZ U21 team in August and in 2017 and is in the Waikato-Bay of Plenty squad for next year’s elite netball league.
Lily Marshall (St Margaret's College) - Flying the flag for the mainland, Lily Marshall recently deservedly won the School Sport Canterbury Girls All-rounder of the Year award for her deeds in both netball and rowing where she is also a standout. The versatile defender made the NZSS Netball Team that contested the International School Girls Netball Challenge in May. She was also selected in the Netball Mainland Beko team. In August, Lily helped St Margaret’s win their sixth straight Canterbury SuperNet title, beating Christchurch Girls’ High School 32-23 in the final. She made the tournament selection at the conclusion of the NZSS Championships in October and is an upcoming New Zealand U21 trialist.
Tiana Metuarau (Wellington East Girls' College) - Tiana Metuarau had a stellar year on court. At the start of May she was selected for the NZSS team for the second year in a row and was named Shooter of the Tournament at the International School Girls Netball Challenge. She was selected as part of the Netball Central BEKO development league team that finished runners-up in the inaugural tournament, was a member of the Wellington U17 side that won at Nationals and made the NZ U21 team in August. Tiana was named Shooter of the Tournament at the NZSS Netball Championships in October, despite her WEGC side finishing outside the major placings. The Year 11 student has recently been selected in the Central Pulse squad for 2017 and is a trialist for the New Zealand U21 team to contest the Junior World Championships next year.
Renee Savaiinaea (St Mary’s College) - The future is looking up with players like Renee Savaiinaea on court. As one of five Year 11 students that won the International Secondary Schools Challenge in May, Renee had a terrific tournament. She followed that up mid-year by winning the New Zealand U17 Netball title with Wellington A, beating Auckland 1 27-21 in the decider. At the start of October she was named Defender of the Tournament at the NZSS Netball Championships in Lower Hutt. Was St Mary’s College’s Netballer of the Year. Special mention to her St Mary’s teammate Ana Puleiata, also Year 11 and who was a NZSS and Wellington A teammate and the Mid Courter of the NZSS Tournament. Recognition here for Renee here is also for Ana. Together the pair play other sports, including rugby where they will be competing for St Mary’s at the upcoming Condor 7s.
Elle Temu (MAGS) - The Mount Albert Grammar School defender and captain went agonisingly close to leading her young team to what would have been a fifth straight NZSS tournament victory in Lower Hutt in October, pipped by St Kent's in the final. Individually, Elle was still one of the best players on court all week and was duly named in the tournament selection for the second successive year. Earlier in the year, Elle was MAGS’ sole selection in the NZSS team that played an international series against Australian and Maori school teams.
College Sport Media is dedicated to telling the story of successful young sportspeople in New Zealand