Five NSW athletes were part of the Grand Final at the 20/U International Competition in Canberra over the weekend when Australia Green and Australia Gold did battle for the title.
The five players – Toni Anderson (Sutherland Shire), Kiera Austin (Eastwood Ryde), Prudence Ellis (St George), Lauren Moore (Wyong) and Claire O’Brien (St George) – were among 24 selected for this year’s Australian 20/U squad which contested the international series.
They played against teams from New Zealand and England from Thursday 11 to Sunday 14 August at Netball Australia’s Centre of Excellence at the Australian Institute of Sport in the Capital.
Also invited to take part in the competition was a combined SIS/SAS team which included three more NSW representatives; Alison Miller (North Shore), Teigan O’Shannassy (Manly Warringah) and Amy Parmenter (St George).
The competition was earmarked as the ideal preparation ahead of next year’s Netball World Youth Cup (NWYC2017) in Botswana, and by splitting the Aussie squad into Green and Gold teams, Australian 21/U coach Tania Obst was able to get a good look at what each player had to offer.
Anderson, Austin and O’Brien all lined out for Australia Green, while Ellis and 2016 NSW Swift Moore took to the court for Australia Gold.
While the Final resulted in a win for the Green side, Moore was feeling very positive after what she described as a wonderful camp in Canberra.
“It was a really good experience to be playing with and training with a lot of players I’d been playing against for a while,” Moore said.
“I often play against them once or maybe twice a year at National Championships or Australian Netball League (ANL); but it was good to get to know them and learn what their strengths are.
“While on an individual level, it was good to again have the opportunity to work on my game and – hopefully – put my name forward for next year. On a team perspective, it was great to see (Australia) Green, Gold and SIS/SAS finish first, second and third against teams from New Zealand and England.
“It gives us confidence in our abilities, but also means Australian 21/U selection next year is going to be really tight.”
With NWYC2017on the horizon, Moore was delighted to learn from even more top coaches and mentors during her time in the camp.
“It was great to have the ability to learn from these specialist coaches – many who have plenty experience playing at the top level,” Moore added.
“Prats (Susan Pettitt), for example, came in to help the shooters – which was funny to see since she is also my teammate. Prats was just one of a wide range of coaches that helped us and allowed us see a lot of different perspectives.
“There were eight of us there from NSW in total so it was really good for us to get the experience on offer in the camp.”
In the final placings Australia Green took the title ahead of Australia Gold in second, while New Zealand U20 edged SIS/SAS in the third-place playoff. England finished fifth after defeating Aotearoa Maori.
FOR FULL 20/U INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION RESULTS CLICK HERE