NSW announces 2015 Netball NSW Waratahs

Netball NSW is pleased to announce the 16-strong Netball NSW (NNSW) Waratahs squad which will represent our State during the 2015 Australian Netball League (ANL).

This year’s ANL season will open on Saturday 20 June, with eight States and Territories contesting the six-week competition – the Grand Final is scheduled for Sunday 26 July at Melbourne’s Waverley Netball Centre.

Head Coach Anita Keelan has named a squad full of talent, saying selectors looked for the best performing athletes in the 2015 DOOLEYS State League to comprise this year’s outfit.

“[The squad] is a really good mix of youth and experience… this year we’ve really looked for what we consider the best in-form players in the [2015 DOOLEYS State League top division] Waratah Cup, combining them with the Swifts, and then just looking at some up-and-coming players to have that blend,” Keelan told NetballNSWTV.

“We’ve got three [NSW] Swifts coming back into the squad which will be fantastic, and it will be a really good opportunity for some of our junior players to get that link [from State League to ANZ Championship level].”

Those Swifts include dynamic shooter Stephanie Wood, versatile defender Micaela Wilson and NSW junior Taylah Davies.

The trio will be joined by former Swifts Kimberly Borger, Maddie Hay and Melissa Tallent, as well as three Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) graduates in Kristina Brice, Kaitlyn Bryce and Amy Sommerville.

2014 NNSW Waratahs Jessica Calderara, Emily Keenan and Nicole Styles return to the side this season, along with four members of the 2014 Netball NSW Blues who have graduated to this year’s NNSW Waratahs, including Nikki Deegenaars and Kara Styles, as well as 2015 Australian underage representatives Kiera Austin (19/U) and Lauren Moore (17/U).

“We’ve got plenty of depth in our squad, so I hope that all 16 athletes will become really key players throughout the competition.  We’ve certainly got a whole host of options for combinations across the court, so come training it will be interesting to see how the players gel,” Keelan stated.

“Having a wider squad of 16 means that each week we will have a selection process to name the 12 players who will contest that round.  That gives us a lot of flexibility in choosing a team that will best suit our opposition, plus giving players experience in that process, which they mightn’t have had before.

“Experience tells me they were a wonderful group of girls last year and the bulk of them are back this year which is fantastic.  Our team looks good on paper, so now it’s about transferring that to being competitive on court, which starts on day one of training. I’ve got a lot of belief in this side and I’m confident we will do well,” Keelan claimed.

Following Netball Australia’s announcement of changes to the ANL structure from 2016 and beyond, Netball NSW confirmed the withdrawal of the NNSW Blues for the 2015 season in January.  This decision was made considering all Netball NSW’s existing High Performance Programs in line with Netball Australia’s recent Competition Pathway Review.

The 2016 ANL season will be extended to eight weeks from May to June, and will be played in conjunction with the ANZ Championship; including the possibility of playing double-headers where an ANL match could follow an ANZ Championship fixture to allow fans to see their state’s best talent.

Keelan admitted the move to go down to one ANL side provided selectors with a lot more choice when deciding who would be included in the NNSW Waratahs.

“I think it’s given us a lot more depth… definitely having just that one team submitted in preparation for what may be a very exciting ANL series in 2016, so it’s a good step forward for [the NNSW Waratahs],” Keelan concluded.

Watch the full NetballNSWTV interview with Anita Keelan below;

The ANL gives players a fantastic opportunity to test their skills in a competition that bridges the gap between State League competitions and the ANZ Championship, whilst providing fans around the country a chance to see some of our best young talent in action.

Beginning alongside the ANZ Championship in 2008, the under-pinning competition is a vital competition to Netball Australia’s national pathway, not only providing players with an opportunity to develop but also coaches, umpires and officials.

The NNSW Waratahs will open this year’s ANL season on Saturday 20 June against the defending Champions, Victorian Fury, before meeting Tassie Spirit on Sunday 21 June at the Frank Stewart Training Hall within the AIS in Canberra.

NSW has claimed just one ANL title, in 2011, when a Rob Wright-led NNSW Waratahs became the first ANL side to go through a season undefeated; on three other occasions the NNSW Waratahs have finished Runners-Up (2010, 2012, 2013).

Five NSW representatives have been named Tournament MVP since the inaugural season – Narelle Easther (NNSW Blues, 2008), Amorette Wild (NNSW Waratahs, 2011), Kristy Guthrie (NNSW Waratahs, 2012), and joint recipients Ashleigh Brazill (Western Sting) and Kristina Brice (NNSW Waratahs) in 2014.

2015 Netball NSW Waratahs
Kiera AUSTIN (Eastwood Ryde)
Kimberly BORGER (St George)
Kristina BRICE (CSNA/Sydney Uni)
Kaitlyn BRYCE (St George)
Jessica CALDERARA (Eastwood Ryde)
Taylah DAVIES (NSW Swifts│Sutherland Shire)
Maddie HAY (Sutherland Shire)
Emily KEENAN (Eastwood Ryde)
Lauren MOORE (Central Coast)
Amy SOMMERVILLE (Eastwood Ryde)
Kara STYLES (St George)
Nicole STYLES (St George/Team Northumbria)
Melissa TALLENT (Sutherland Shire)
Micaela WILSON (NSW Swifts│St George)
Stephanie WOOD (NSW Swifts│CSNA/Syd Uni)
Head Coach: Anita Keelan
Assistant Coaches: Briony Akle & Moira Gaha
Team Manager: Maureen Stephenson