NSW must ‘earn right’ to contest Finals

They might be the best prospects coming through their Clubs and Associations, but a willingness to start over once they get into State Team camp is one reason the NSW 17/U Team will be heading to the 2018 National Netball Championships in Adelaide as a very united squad.

“When you are one of the best at your Association you really have to reset yourself when you get into State teams as the level of competition is much higher,” Head Coach Nerida Stewart says.

“We are very fortunate in NSW to have such a depth of talent and everyone in this squad has come into Nationals Camp with a real ‘team first’ approach.

“It can be hard for some players, who are the best every week at their Club, to suddenly no longer be the star of the show, but all of our players have bought into our NSW ethos of hard work, and want to win as a team.”

The NSW squad will leave for South Australia on Sunday, ahead of their first match against Victoria on Tuesday morning, and Stewart knows the importance of the clash against the ever-competitive Victorians.

“I love the rivalry with Victoria as they are always producing top-class players down there,” she said.

“I think it’s wonderful for us to have the chance to go head-to-head with them first up as it gives us a good benchmark for the rest of the Nationals.

“Obviously we will be looking to win, but that first game is also about learning. We have told the team to take every moment as it comes and to think on their feet.

“Victoria, South Australia, Queensland and Western Australia are all really strong, so we need to ensure we are learning about how to improve in both victory and defeat.”

NSW has a proud history of success at Nationals but Stewart is taking the team’s goals one at a time in Adelaide.

“Every team will be heading to Nationals believing they can win the title for their home state and we are no different, but you have to earn the right to be in contention first.

“Before anything, we need to produce the goods to make the Finals. From there it’s a new competition.

“Our first focus will be on getting ourselves in those Finals placings next weekend and then we will refocus on the best way to try and bring the silverware back to NSW.”

Of her team, Stewart said everyone was in a good headspace ahead of the tournament.

“Our preparation has been very good and everyone is feeling well both physically and mentally.

“We have 12 very strong, versatile players, any of whom could be in our strongest starting seven and that is a wonderful problem for a coach to have.

“Everyone has been playing for their teammates and while picking our strongest seven will be hard, I wouldn’t want it any other way.”

Netball NSW would like to wish the NSW State Teams the very best of luck at the 2018 National Netball Championships: bring it home for NSW!