Preparations for next week’s National Netball Championships are ramping up now, with the NSW 19/U ready to take the top spot after just missing out last year (they finished in third place).
Latika Tombs, captain of the squad, says her team are ready to win, but also want to be feared by the rest of the competition.
“There’s more fire in our bellies because the 19/Us came third last year and the 17/Us came fifth,” she says.
“It’s obviously not where you want to be at the end of the week, so we’re all wanting to come home with a gold medal around our necks.
“I think it’s important when you’re heading into the week that everyone is on the same page and everyone has the same goal.
“Our slogan at the moment is #ThatTeam. There’s always that one team at Nationals that you look at warming up and see how they carry themselves, and that’s what we’re aiming to be this year.
“We want to be that team that people are scared to play and are intimidated by, so if we are like that and fulfil that goal then hopefully winning the title will be the consequence of that.”
According to Tombs, none of the opposing teams should be underestimated.
“South Australia and Victoria were the teams in the Grand Final for both the 17/Us and 19/us last year but you really can’t think of it as there’s only two teams that are your biggest competition.
“Every single team will be a tough to go up against, you’ve got to face up to each of them the same. You never know who they’ve got and how they’re going to play.”
Since becoming a 2019 training partner for GIANTS Netball, Tombs says she’s grown as both a player and leader.
“Being a training partner with the GIANTS has helped me, the intensity is a step up from what I’m used to. So we bring a little more intensity in drills and anything we do now.
“It’s really helping me as a player having that extra experience behind me and having Tilly (Matilda McDonell) there with me as well is pretty cool. I feel like I’ve grown already since training with them.”
But while it is going to a tough, week-long competition, Tombs can’t wait.
“There’s not a lot of downtime during the competition but every night we’ve got a different theme for dress up which is fun. So I’ll have to pack a big suitcase full of costumes!
“Our team has a good bond but Nationals brings everyone closer. You’re in hard situations so you need the support of everyone around you. It’s just an awesome week and I’m so looking forward to it.”
The 2019 National Netball Championships take place at the Queensland State Netball Centre in Brisbane from April 11-16.
Full fixtures for the event can be viewed here.