Get ready…NSW ANL Derby next week!

The 2014 Australian Netball League (ANL) is returning to the Anne Clark Centre for the very last time (before moving to Netball Central) when our teams go head-to-head in the New South Wales ANL Derby on Wednesday 13 August.

The Netball NSW (NNSW) Blues and NNSW Waratahs will take to the court at 7pm for the seventh instalment of the local ANL Derby, showcasing some of the best NSW netballing talent on one court.

The NNSW Blues claimed honours in the inaugural contest, defeating their counterparts 61-47 in 2008. However the NNSW Waratahs have held the upper hand in recent years when the NNSW Blues outfit moved towards player development for younger athletes.

It was a thrilling contest in last year’s local Derby, with the NNSW Waratahs pulling away in the final quarter to finish 17-goal victors. The 2013 Runners-Up enjoyed a tight battle with their younger NNSW Blues counterparts, which included seven ANL debutants in their 2013 line-up.

Now in her fifth ANL season after making her debut with the NNSW Blues, NNSW Waratahs Captain Emily Keenan said there is always a mutual respect between the two sides.

“I think all NSW athletes look forward to the local ANL Derby – you’re playing on your home court with your family and friends in the stands, and you’re taking the court with and against your friends. It’s always a lot of fun,” Keenan said.

Keenan’s Eastwood Ryde teammate and NNSW Blues Captain Sophie Halpin echoed her friend’s sentiments, saying there was nothing better than playing at home.

“There was a great crowd who came out to support us in Week 1, and it really gives you a lift on court. Hopefully we can see the same, maybe even more, turn out next Wednesday,” Halpin said.

This year the NNSW Blues have seen six more young NSW athletes make their ANL debuts, including five 2014 Australian underage representatives. Halpin said the ANL provided a great opportunity for young netballers to test themselves against experienced athletes, especially their “big sisters” in the NNSW Waratahs.

“The NNSW Waratahs are a formidable side; they have ANZ Championship-experienced athletes throughout the team, as well as those like Em [Emily Keenan] who have been involved in ANL for a number of years. They’re always on hand to offer advice when needed, but I don’t think that will be happening before Wednesday,” laughed Halpin.

Keenan returned the flattery when discussing the NNSW Blues, saying the “older” athletes were wary of the talent the young NSW outfit boasted.

“The NNSW Blues are a really talented bunch of young players. They are athletic, go hard at the ball and have nothing to lose, plus have great leaders in Sophie and Nikki [Deegenaars],” Keenan said.

“I’m really looking forward to the contest next week.  I’ve been very impressed with what I’ve seen from the NNSW Blues so far, so that means we will be bringing our ‘A’ game.

“In the close contest for a finals spot, this is a must win for us so we will be leaving nothing out on court. We will be doing everything in our control to get the two points,” Keenan concluded.

With Anne Clark Centre doors open from 6pm, make sure you get down early! Wear your brightest NSW gear to support our athletes when they go head-to-head to claim honours in the 2014 NSW ANL Derby – first centre pass at 7pm!

Tickets start from $3, with Family Passes available for purchase at the door.

Before the two teams take the court, the NNSW Blues and NNSW Waratahs will be in Adelaide this weekend to contest Week 6 at Netball SA Stadium.

The NNSW Blues are up first when they take on the Western Sting at 6pm AEST, Saturday 9 August, before the NNSW Waratahs meet hosts Southern Force the following day, Sunday 10 August, at 9:30am.

Keep up to date with all the action with Netball NSW’s social media channels;www.facebook.com/OfficialNetballNSW, Twitter and Instagram @netballnsw #ANL2014 #GoNSW