Former NSW Swifts captain Abbey McCulloch is the standout name in a strong NSW Waratahs squad named by head coach Lenore Blades for the 2019 Deakin University Australian Netball League.
McCulloch is one of 15 players named in a group which consists of the 10-strong main playing roster and the five NSW Swifts training partners for 2019.
Five shadow players have also been named to train with the squad as part of their development along the Netball NSW pathway.
The ANL is Netball Australia’s feeder competition into Suncorp Super Netball (SSN), providing a pathway for the development and identification of national athletes, coaches, administrators and officials.
As ever, the Waratahs will be linked with the NSW Swifts in 2019.
Blades said she was delighted to be able to call on the services of a player as experienced as McCulloch.
“Having Abbey in the squad is a really big boost for us, especially the younger players we have in the NSW setup,” she said.
“While Abbey’s knee injury hampered her at SSN level last season, her knowledge and insight remains as sharp as ever and she really lifts things when she’s in our environment.
“Having a role model like that is worth its weight in gold and I can’t wait to see what the younger players learn from her.”
Having reached the Finals last year, Blades said the team was aiming high in 2019.
“We have a lot of talented NSW players who are very close to SSN, especially the Swifts training partners, and I know we’ll have very good competition for places.
“When you have that kind of competition in the squad it helps drive standards and we are very lucky with the calibre of players we’ve been able to call on.”
Nikki Horton, General Manager of the NSW Swifts, said she too was very excited by the season ahead.
“I think Lenore has picked a wonderful squad for the 2019 ANL and I know the whole group will be a great support network for the NSW Swifts.
“The Waratahs are a vital part of the Netball NSW pathway and it is very important that our players have as much exposure as possible to what it takes to be successful at the elite level.
“ANL provides us with that opportunity and it’s vital we have the right balance of players to ensure we make the most of it. With the players announced today I think we have that.”
Elle Bennetts, Sophie Dwyer, Tayla Fraser*, Sophie Halpin*, Clare Iongi, Kristen Kessler, Matisse Letherbarrow*, Amorangi Malesala, Abbey McCulloch, Ali Miller, Claire O’Brien*, Laura Rodger, Kelly Singleton*, Nicole Styles, Dakota Thomas.
Courtney Castle, Olivia Coleman, Lili Gorman Brown, Charlotte Raleigh, Madeleine Taylor.
* Denotes 2019 Swifts Training Partner