Local netball sides out to win it all at championships

Outer East is out to bring their best. Picture: SUPPLIED

By Callum Ludwig

The Outer East representative teams will be giving it their all this weekend at the Netball Victoria Association Championship Finals on Sunday 24 July.

The 17 and Under side will play a whopping 11 sides, and the Open team will play seven before a finals round late in the day.

Netball Development Manager of the Outer East representative sides Greg Heinrich said nobody goes into a tournament to lose, and the teams want to win.

“We’ll definitely be playing to win throughout the day, but the ultimate goal for us is to showcase the talent that we have within our region, particularly in the Junior ranks. For the outer east, we’re really focusing on building that Junior age group across all three divisions,” he said.

“It’s really exciting because obviously the last two years we’ve had a limited format of the Association Championships last year and in 2020 there were no championships at all.”

The 17 and Under side qualified after taking out the Central East division in May while there was no preliminary round for the Open side.

Mr Heinrich said it’s an exciting opportunity to showcase the league’s talent.

“It provides the clubs within the league reassurance that there is benefit to having juniors and also that their juniors will get the opportunity to go through the Netball Victoria pathway through the Association Championships,” he said.

“When we became the Outer East a couple of years ago when the SEFNL and YRFNL merged, one of the things that were evident was the quality of netball right across the league. The top 4 teams across Senior A grade divisions could be pitted up against one another because the strength of the league is across the board, it’s not just our Premier Division that has some VNL talent floating through it.”

The fixtures for the day are as follows:

17U Fixture:

9am vs Doncaster DNA – Court 6

9.32am vs Ovens & Murray – Court 7

10.04am vs Sunraysia FNL – Court 7

10.36am vs Banyule NA – Court 10

11.24am vs Hampden FNL – Court 7

11.56am vs North Gippsland FNL – Court 8

12.28pm vs St Albans/Caroline Springs NA – Court 6

1pm vs Ballarat NA – Court 7

1.48pm vs Gippsland FNL – Court 11

2.20pm vs Bendigo FNL – Court 8

2.52pm vs Albury NA – Court 9

Open Fixture:

9.10am vs Hampden FNL – Court 4

9.50am vs Goulburn Valley FNL – Court 1

10.30am vs Ovens & Murray FNL – Court 3

11.10am vs Murray FNL – Court 1

11.50am vs Western Region FNL – Court 4

1.10pm vs Sandringham DNA – Court 2

1.50pm vs Bendigo FNL – Court 2

Mr Heinrich said the strengths in each of the teams are their versatility and enthusiasm.

“We have versatility across the board, especially in the 17 and Unders, we’ve got a number of athletes that can play in multiple positions. On a day like the Association Championships Finals Day, sometimes matchups need to be identified really quickly and possibly changed and these players can do that,” he said.

“For the opens, it’s more the opportunity. There’s a number of athletes that I don’t think have competed in a day at a tournament day like this ever before. I think that brings fresh eyes to the day, enthusiasm and motivation and like the 17 and Unders, they are versatile.”

Here is the selected 17 and Under squad:

Abby Curtis (Pakenham)

Anaisis Tupuailei (Narre Warren)

Asia Tuiloma (Narre Warren)

Eliza Gesler (Alexandra)

Kara Van Der Westhuizen (Berwick)

Tamari Waqanisau (Narre Warren)

Bella Heppell (ROC)

Emily McCall (Olinda Ferny Creek)

Grace Ioelu (Narre Warren)

Harper Scott (Olinda Ferny Creek)

They will be coached by David O’Hare (Upwey Tecoma).

Open player and Seville star Emily Wicks said she is feeling good and confident in the team ahead of the tournament.

“We have so many great players wih lots of ability and we are all very excited to put our hard work onto the court,” she said.

“It’s so exciting to compete, it’s what we all work for and what we love, so to be able to get out there is very important for us.”

Representing Outer East FN alongside Ms Wicks will be:

Aleysha King (Upwey Tecoma)

Caitlin Anthony (Berwick)

Chaille Hurst (Berwick)

Darcy Utber (Berwick)

Ella Morse (Seville)

Maddie Lamb (Powelltown)

Olivia Caneva (Powelltown)

Summah Hinchcliffe (Narre Warren)

Tiana Mancarella (Monbulk)

Katherine Grigoriou (ROC)

They will be coached by Lani Mannays (Berwick).

Ms Wicks said the team as a whole are feeling positive, and it’s about getting out there and having fun now they’ve done all the hard work.

“To get some good results would be amazing but also at the end of the day as long as we’re enjoying ourselves and having fun that’s it we’re there for. Having missed two years due to Covid, just being able to be back playing in such a great sport and was such a good community is really important,” she said.

“One of the best things about this team is that we are all really close. In such a short amount of time, we’ve been able to grasp really good connections.”

Hayley Debuf (Powelltown) was originally selected but suffered a season-ending injury in a recent home and away fixture.