It’s always good to beat the Aussies, so Napier Girls’ High School’s Jaydi Taylor-Chaffey and the Aotearoa Maori Netball International Secondary School (AMNISS) team were naturally thrilled to beat them twice in the space of a few days recently at the International U19 Schools Challenge tournament in Fiji.
The AMNISS side played the Australians once in pool play and won 30-26 and then met them again in the grand final and this time stretched their advantage to 12 goals, winning 40-28.
Vice-captain and Year 13 player Jaydi said that the team exceeded their expectations.
“I was quite nervous actually, I wasn’t expecting at all that we were going to clean sweep the tournament,” she told College Sport Media.
“I was expecting Aussie to be a bit better than that. They were good, but last year they were way stronger and so I was expecting more of the same,” she added.
Jaydi was also in the AMNISS team last year that lost to Australia 24-42 in Auckland before almost going on to beat the New Zealand Secondary School team in the same tournament – losing 28-29.
How come the margin of victory over Australia grew between the two games in Fiji?
“I just think that we had such a good warm-up in our final. We were just really prepared to go out there and win, we felt way stronger, way more focused and it all came together for us.
“In contrast we had a bit of a poor warm-up in the first round when we played them.”
The recent tournament in Fiji ran from five days from 16-20 May.
The AMNISS side won all eight round-robin games before beating Fiji in the semi-final and then Australia in the final.
The team improved steadily as a cohesive unit as the tournament progressed.
“As a team we built really well throughout the week, I feel like our first game was a bit niggly as we hadn’t really had any time together playing as a team. But throughout the week we improved more.
“The Fiji team that we played in the semi-final [winning 36-21] we played first up [winning 47-24] and I feel like we improved more from that first game.
“We only had a few trainings together beforehand so we bonded together really quickly and the result was us winning the tournament.”
The AMNISS team was made up of players of different ages. “It was really good developing the young ones, they are so talented at such a young age and its awesome seeing them all come through.”
There were two Hawke’s Bay players in the team, Jaydi and Year 12 Wing Attack/Goal Attack Asher Grapes from Hastings’ Girls’ High School. There were four from nearby Manawatu, including three Manukura players.
Back in New Zealand, Jaydi is busy training and playing netball twice a week.
The Napier Girls’ High School Senior A team play in the local secondary school competition on Tuesday nights and in the Hawke’s Bay club competition on Friday nights.
One of her teammates and good friends is NZSS player Briana Stephenson, while another player to look out for coming through the Napier GHS ranks is Year 10 midcourter Paris Petera.
Napier GHS is gearing up for the Lower North Island Tournament later this year in New Plymouth, where the top five finishing teams from that qualify for the main draw in the NZSS tournament in October in Rotorua.
“That is one reason why are playing in the club grade as well, to get that extra bit of competition.”
Last year the five schools that qualified for nationals were Manukura, St Mary’s College, Wellington East Girls’ College, Palmerston North Girls’ High School and Wellington Girls’ College.
Midcourt is Jaydi’s favoured position but her extra height dictates she also plays a lot as a defender in local teams. She also plays basketball for her school team.
Also coming up are games for the Hawke’s Bay U19 representative team. This coming weekend there’s a rep tournament in Palmerston North.
Jaydi’s netball role models include Kayla Cullen, Phoenix Karaka and Katrina Grant, amongst other Silver Ferns.
Mum and dad played competitive netball and rugby respectively so they’re always great support. She thanks her netball coaches, Becs Gabel and Dan Short (AMNISS) and Annemarie Kupa (NGHS) for their support.
Jaydi is undecided about what she’s doing next year, weighing up heading to Auckland or Wellington for university and netball.
The AMNISS team that won the International Schools Challenge in Fiji was:
Storm Collings-Gilmer, (St Orans College). Tayla Earle, (Saint Kentigern College), Asher Grapes, (Hastings Girls High School), Antonia Heihei, (Manukura), Tamara Leoni, (Epsom Girls Grammar), Paris Lokotui, (Queen Margaret College), Parris Mason, (New Plymouth Girls High), Jessica Pease, (Palmerston North Girls), Jaydi Taylor-Chaffey, (Napier Girls High), Braxton Te Riini, (Manukura), Princess Tomoana, (Manukura), Khiarna Williams, (Trident High School)
Their results were:
1. vs Fiji U19 - Win 47 - 24
2. vs Auckland Tonga - Win 45 - 26
3. vs Indigenous Australia - Win 57 - 16
4. vs South Africa - Win 43 - 15
5. vs Fiji Secondary Schools - Win 58 - 17
6. vs Auckland Samoa - Win 59 - 21
7. vs Fijiana FANZ - Win 60 - 22
8. vs Australia - Win 30 - 26
9. Semi Final vs Fiji U19 - Win 36 - 21
10. Final vs Australia - Win 40 - 28
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