Young talent in action for Academy Games

The 2014 ClubsNSW Academy Games were held over the weekend, Saturday 12 and Sunday 13 April, at the Illawarra Academy of Sport (Illawarra, Shoalhaven and Southern Highlands regions).

ClubsNSW has been the principle partner for the Academy Games since its inception in 2005, as well as strong support provided by the NSW Government through the Office of Communities, Sport and Recreation.

Seven sporting codes including netball were showcased across the weekend, with all 12 Regional Academy of Sport teams – as well as special invitees St Margaret’s Schools from New Zealand – contesting the round robin tournament at the University of Wollongong, including the newly established South East Regional Netball Academy (SERNA).

Announced by Netball NSW in late March, SERNA is a new initiative replacing a previous program in that region and, like the Sydney Netball Academy, will be run by Netball NSW.  Trials were held on Wednesday 2 April with 16 athletes selected in the squad and the Academy Games was their first outing as a side.

Former Hunter Academy of Sport Assistant Coach Adele Caesar has been appointed SERNA’s Head Coach, and said the squad was very excited to enter the Academy Games.

“Academy Games provided us with a great starting point for our program.  We had the extra challenge of only coming together for the first time on Friday night – many of the athletes only met each other then,” Caesar said.

“But it was a terrific night.  We sat down as a team and identified some of the goals we wanted to achieve as a group, with a lot of buy-in from the athletes.  They came up with the slogan ‘Confident, Consistent & Disciplined’ – being a team with good work ethic, that played fearlessly and for each other.

“I witnessed that from the very first whistle all the way through the weekend.  I was really impressed how the athletes stepped up with each game and with each challenge. I have to thank them for their dedication, along with the parents and Associations who have helped us from trials right through to the weekend.

“We’re all committed to the long term and excited to see what this squad can do,” Caesar concluded.

A special mention to Hunter Academy of Sport netballer Tiu Holland, who was announced as the overall Games MVP – congratulations Tiu!

A ClubsNSW Netball Games Merit Squad was also announced at the conclusion of the tournament, with athletes from each team named MVP based upon a 3-2-1 voting system by the Academy Head Coaches.

Congratulations to the following 13 athletes announced in the 2014 Merit Squad:
Leilani Bell (FWAS)
Leah Brockman (NCAS)
Nicole Bruce (NIAS)
Meg Collins (SSA)
Jacoba Clough (SERNA)
Angela Frketic (WSAS)
Tiu Holland (HAS)
Maddie Hompott (CCAS)
Kirrily Laws (SNA)
Madison Lloyd (St Margarets)
Jessica Matthews (WRAS)
Abbey McFadden (IAS)
Ashley Valeni (SWSAS)

The Regional Academy of Sport (RAS) netball program, which is delivered by ten Academies throughout the State, as well as the Sydney Netball Academy and now the South East Region Netball Academy, is a priority for the Netball NSW High Performance program and offers the following;

  • Individual skill development, sport science education and support structures for each athlete to easily integrate to the next level of the NSW elite athlete pathway
  • Access to the Develop a Diamond Academy Program by Netball Australia
  • Preparation of athletes for NSW State Team trials
  • Coach and umpire education, promoting continuous improvement to develop the region’s coaches and umpires
  • A program which concentrates on the well-being of each athlete to make sure they have a life/sport balance