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!
College Sport Media is dedicated to telling the story of successful young sportspeople in New Zealand