Young NSW officials given golden opportunity

While the netball world recovers from the incredible athletic display which was the Netball World Cup SYDNEY 2015, the next generation of potential Australian Diamonds have been hitting the court at Netball Central in what could be their first step into an impressive representative career.

The 2015 Australian Secondary Schoolgirls Netball Championships are being contested at Netball NSW’s $35 million centre of excellence this week, beginning Sunday 23 August with the Finals to be played this Friday 28 August.

The 15 Years and Under competition is pitting some of the best and brightest netball talent from each State and Territory against one-another, with a 12-strong Australian Schoolgirls side to be selected to travel to New Zealand next year for the Trans-Tasman Challenge; a round-robin tournament against some of the best junior Kiwi talent on offer.

However it’s not just the players who have been given this development opportunity, with NSW Umpires and Bench Officials called upon to assist in running the six-day competition.

As the host Member Organisation, Netball NSW umpires were allocated to officiate matches at Netball Central as selected by our National body, Netball Australia.  Nine umpires from across NSW were allocated to the competition, and have been receiving mentoring and coaching from some of the best in the business – netball legend Maureen Stephenson, National AA Badge Bronwen Adams and International Umpires Award holder Tara Warner.

Along with the umpires, students in the Westfield Sports High School netball program were given the opportunity to see the game played at another angle after being appointed as Bench Officials under the guidance of Netball NSW Life Member Lynn Quinn OAM.

The students have no one better to learn the craft from with Quinn considered one of the best. She has been involved in international tournaments such as Netball World Cup, Commonwealth Games and Constellation Cup series, and in 2013 Netball NSW introduced a Bench Official of the Year award in her honour.

Westfield Sports High Head Coach (and coincidentally the Australian Secondary Schoolgirls Head Coach) Joanne Macdermid said the reasoning behind her students volunteering their services was to give them a different perspective of the game.

“The tournament is obviously being played during the week, so we needed Bench Officials who could volunteer their time during school hours.  Giving the girls an opportunity to view the game from a different angle might help them to respect it in a new way,” Macdermid said.

“I think it also encourages them to see netball offers much more than just being a player – there is coaching, umpiring, managing and bench officials.  For young girls they may not have thought about being on the bench, but this way we are giving them a chance to try it out.”

Quinn herself said she has been impressed with the maturity of the students throughout the week.

“The girls have been going really well; they’re getting better with each game, learning from their mistakes, and taking control of the action,” Quinn commented.

“As players they already have a pretty sound understanding of what’s happening on the court, so it’s just been about transitioning to being an Official. They’re also doing it at a National standard, which isn’t easy, so includes all the bells and whistles to what being a Bench Official is about.

“It’s encouraging to see young people pick it up and hopefully opens them to the opportunities that can present by being an accredited Bench Official; that there’s a pathway there available to them, and that Netball NSW and Netball Australia are putting a lot of work into the Bench Official pathway.

“But most telling is the girls seem to be enjoying themselves, which I think is the main thing.  I think quite a few could make really good Bench Officials, so hopefully this can be a positive experience for them and they continue to look into the Bench Official pathway,” Quinn concluded.

Congratulations to everyone involved in the 2015 Australian Secondary Schoolgirls Championships and best of luck for the remaining days of competition.

2015 Australian Secondary Schoolgirls Championships – Umpires Pool
Emma Corfield (Illawarra)
Tayla Favell (Baulkham Hills)
Sarah Hay (St George)
Renee Marshall (Camden)
Michael Rudd (Orange)
Liana Sedgers (Baulkham Hills)
Ty Simpson (Eastwood Ryde)
Thomas Turner (Parramatta Auburn)
Tamara Welsford (Penrith)