Promising Saint Kentigern College netballer Sydney Fraser is understandably disappointed to not be representing the New Zealand Secondary Schools Netball team this week, after being ruled out with concussion at the team’s training camp a fortnight ago.
“I went up for a pass and I got taken out in the air and landed on my tailbone and hit my head,” she explained to College Sport Media. “So I had a concussion test and was stood down.”
The fall meant she had a mandatory three-week stand down period, requiring her to miss this week’s tournament that the NZSS team is playing in.
The good news is she’ll be back soon. “I’m starting to do running and non-contact exercise, so am hoping to be playing again shortly.”
Sydney was one of three returning players originally selected in this year’s NZSS side for the second consecutive year, along with other 2015 returnees Tiana Metuarau (Wellington East Girls’ College) and Courtney Elliott (Tai Wananga Ki Ruakura).
This week the New Zealand Secondary School Netball team, now minus Sydney, is competing in the International School Girls Netball Challenge at the Trusts Arena in Auckland. Nine secondary school teams, including the New Zealand, Australian, Fijian and South African national teams and the Aotearoa Māori secondary school side are taking part.
The NZSS side played pool games today against the Aotearoa Māori and Bukit Jalil Sports School (Fiji) teams with games on Wednesday and Thursday, leading up to the tournament final at midday on Friday.
Sydney will re-join the Northern Beko League side when she gets back to full fitness.
She is one of four current school girls playing in the Beko competition, along with Tiana Metuarau (Central), Courtney Elliott (WBOP) and defender Lily Marshall (Mainland, St Margaret’s College), and she made her debut for Northern against the Southern side in Invercargill prior to her concussion.
Training and playing with Northern in the Beko League will be her focus over the next several weeks, leading up to the grand final on 26 June. School netball will take a backseat during this time, but she says she hopes to be back playing in the round-robin game against rivals Mount Albert Grammar School later in the winter.
Sydney has been in the St Kent’s Senior A team for the past two years and was in the side that beat MAGS to win the Auckland Premier 1 Secondary Schools netball final in 2014.
“We’ve beaten them twice since I have been in the team. In that final and then last year in a round-robin match.”
MAGS won the Auckland final last year, and then beat St Kent’s 41-35 in the NZSS tournament final in Ashburton. Sydney hopes to be at the forefront of the St Kent’s challenge in this year’s national tournament in Lower Hutt.
She says she’s recently been introduced to a new position. “I’ve just moved to wing attack and centre for the Northern team, but for school and also for New Zealand I would have been playing goal attack. She says she’s enjoying the new positional shift and looks forward to learning it this year.
Netball is not the only thing keeping her busy – she is also Head Girl at St Kent’s.
“I’m busy, but the school’s really understanding of my other commitments and they do a lot of delegating and don’t try and put too much on me.”
Sydney also used to play Touch to an elite level. “I was in the New Zealand Open Touch squad but because of netball I had to pull out and concentrate on that.”
Previously she toured Australia in January 2015 with the New Zealand U19 team. Later in the year she won the Touch Nationals with her St Kent’s team. “I hope to play for my school team later this year at nationals and defend our title, but I’m too busy with netball to make any other teams.”
Next year she’s hoping to go to university. In the meantime there’s plenty of netball ahead in 2016 for her to continue to make her mark once she’s fully fit back on the court.
Follow the International School Girls Netball Challenge this week at: http://www.sporty.co.nz/isnc
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