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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