The 2019 NZSS Netball Championships are at Saxton Stadium, Nelson in the second week of the upcoming school holidays from 8-11 October.
Sixteen of the country’s leading netball schools recently qualified to attend from the three recent zone tournaments
We caught up with Lower North Island team and first time qualifier to the nationals, Whanganui High School, ahead of the tournament.
They are in Pool A, alongside Epsom Girls’ Grammar School, Saint Kentigern College and Ashburton College.
A bit more about the team below, from co-captain Imogen Flower:
Whanganui High School
Coach & Manager
Lisa Murphy (Coach) Kim Flower (Manager)
Imogen Flower and Montel Vaiao Aki
Montel Vaiao Aki
NZSS Netball Tournament History:
This is the first-time Whanganui High School has qualified for Nationals. The only other time a Whanganui school has qualified for Nationals was back in 1999.
What’s it going to take for your school to do well in Nelson?
As first time qualifiers, we will need to balance our excitement with focus and mental toughness to step up to this next level of netball. Off and on the court, we have always been a tight unit and this won’t change during our week in Nelson.
What local competitions has your school team and the players in the team played in this year and how did your team and the players go?
The 2019 season saw our team play in the Manawatu Secondary School Premier grade on a Saturday morning and this year we were the winners, beating Manukura in the final. We also played in the Whanganui Club Premier grade on a Monday night and lost the final against Kaierau to finish runners- up.
Montel Vaiao-Aki and Kara Adrole played for the Feilding Netball Club (Winners of 2019 Manawatu Club Premier grade).
Who are your school’s closest rivals on the netball court?
Because we play in the Manawatu Secondary School competition our closest rivals would be Palmerston North Girls’ High School or Manukura. In Whanganui we have a traditional annual against Whanganui Collegiate in all winter sports, to date we have not lost a netball game against Collegiate Netball for at least five years.
Tell us about a memorable match your team has been involved in this year?
The most memorable game would have to be against Samuel Marsden, Wellington during the Lower North Islands Tournament week. Winning this game, which we did, ensured us a top 4 position and guaranteed qualification to NZSS Nationals, making history for our school.
What’s the age make up of your team?
We have a mixture of ages in our squad of 10.
Five players are Year 13. Four players are Year 12 and one player is Year 11.
What’s the strength of your team?
We may have individual positions, but on court we are not individuals, we are a team. Working together has always been a great strength of ours but so is our sense of humour and the fun we have together which supersedes everything. The best thing about our team is that we actually all like each other!
Reps: Manawatu U19: Montel Vaiao-Aki; Manawatu U17: Kara Adrole; Whanganui U17: Rebecca Tamati; Whanganui U15: Molly Bullock
Are there individuals in your team that also play other sports for the school or to a high level or excel off the sporting field?
Keilani Tyrell – NZ Development Touch Camp
Teagan Tapa – NZ Development Touch Camp
Rebecca Tamati – NZ Development Touch Camp. NZ U18 Touch Trial.
Mikayla Heka – NZ Development Touch Camp
Kara Adrole – Netball Talent ID Camp for Central Region. U23 Mixed Netball International Competition/Member of the Fijian U23 Team
Sophie Andrews – Athletics & Basketball
Timaima Tuinasoni – U23 Mixed Netball International Competition/Member of the Fijian U23 Team
Does your team have a motto or a mascot or any pre or post game rituals or preparations?
No. Only rule in the team is to make your Coach and Manager happy otherwise there’s no dessert.
What other support has your team received to get to allow it to operate at the level it does?
Ongoing voluntary commitment from Coach Lisa Murphy and Manager Kim Flower
Wonderful family support.
Team Sponsor for the last five years – Phillips Electrical Ltd (Jeff and Taryn Phillips)
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