International contest awaits Aussie 19s

Four members of the 2015 NSW 19/U Champion side have travelled across the Tasman as part of the Australian 19/U outfit for their first exposure to international level competition against top New Zealand junior talent.

NSW Captain Kiera Austin, midcourt pair Claire O’Brien and Amy Parmenter, and defender Ashley Valeni are part of the 22-strong squad that departed for Rotorua on the weekend, and have spent three days in a training camp before taking part in the Trans-Tasman Tournament which begins tomorrow.

The squad of 22 athletes have been split into two teams – Australia Green and Australia Gold – and play against the New Zealand Secondary Schools team (NZ SS) and Maori 19/U team (Aotearoa Maori) – view the teams.

The teams, which will be finalised on Sunday night, will be led by Australian Diamonds assistant and Netball Australia Centre of Excellence head coach Michelle den Dekker and Australian 21/U coach Tania Obst.

Each team will play six matches over the three-day tournament in a round robin format. Obst said it was a fantastic opportunity for the athletes selected in the national squad.

“Being exposed to international touring and match play is a critical part of their individual development,” Obst said.

“Having the opportunity to play against the New Zealand-style will present different challenges amongst the group which I am sure they are ready to tackle.”

The athletes will also be exposed to some specific technical and tactical coaching in their respective areas.

“We are looking to identify the athletes that can transition from their daily training environments and use the skills they learn from the technical sessions into match play,” den Dekker said.

“New Zealand plays such a different game to the traditional, hard, one-on-one Australian style; the girls will need to adjust to the New Zealand off-line defensive pressure and employ strategies unlike those they’ve been previously exposed to.”

Obst will be keeping a particularly close eye on the development of this group as the nucleus is likely to form part of Australia’s 2017 World Youth Championship campaign.

“While the focus isn’t on that event, I will obviously be looking at athletes who are progressing and adapting in this international environment,” she said.

2015 Trans-Tasman Tournament – Australian Draw
Tuesday 26 May 8:30am* Aotearoa Maori v Australia Gold
10:00am NZ SS v Australian Green
3:45pm Aotearoa Maori v Australia Green
5:15pm NZ SS v Australia Gold
Wednesday 27 May 10:00am Australia Green v Australia Gold
3:45pm Australia Green v Australia Gold
Thursday 28 May 8:30am Aotearoa Maori v Australia Green
10:00am NZ SS v Australia Gold
3:45pm Australia Gold v Aotearoa Maori
5:15pm NZ SS v Australia Green

*all times AEST

2015 Australian 19/U Squad
Jessica ANSTISS (WA)
Kiera AUSTIN (NSW / Eastwood Ryde)
Sophie GARBIN (WA)
Claire O’BRIEN (NSW / St George)
Hannah PETTY (SA)
Ashlee UNIE (QLD)
Ashley Valeni (NSW / Sutherland Shire)
Samantha GOODEN (VIC)
Jacqueline NEWTON (VIC)
Amy PARMENTER (NSW / St George)
Phoebe WILCOX (WA)