Best young talent on show in Canberra

While the Australian Netball Diamonds were preparing for their final match against the New Zealand Silver Ferns in Canberra, the next generation of Green & Gold stars gathered at the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) for the 2013 SIS/SAS Challenge.

The SIS/SAS Challenge is a weekend long round-robin competition putting the best netballing talent from each State Academies/Institutes against each other in order to learn and continue to develop on their netball pathway. 

Along with NSW, Western Australia, South Australia and Australian Capital Territory were represented across the weekend, with teams playing each other twice along the way.

Twelve athletes from New South Wales represented the NSW Institute of Sport (NSWIS) in this year’s competition, played at the AIS Arena from Friday 11 to Sunday 13 October, and were led by Central Coast Head Coach Amber Cross. 

The team was made up of athletes from 15 to 17 years old – four current NSWIS athletes and eight players who were selected on the back of strong performances at the recent NIB Academy Games in Maitland. 

The NSWIS side finished the weekend undefeated, claiming all eight games against their opposition, however Cross said winning was not the top priority in the team’s goals for the competition.

“Our main objectives for the weekend were to build as a team and also step up to that next level of netball … I believe the players did a fantastic job.  We saw the team’s intensity lift each time they took the court, putting together four full quarters, and everyone had the opportunity to experience what it takes to be an impact player,” Cross said.

“For many – including me – the weekend and this level of netball was a new experience and to come away with eight wins is a terrific achievement and I’m really proud of the team.”

As Head Coach of the Central Coast Academy of Sport Netball Squad, the SIS/SAS Challenge provided Cross with her own development opportunity and opened Cross up to challenging her own coaching skills.

“I loved the whole experience – it’s new to me and I was fairly nervous at the start, but just like the players, I was able to settle into the weekend and enjoy the challenge of it all,” Cross said.

“It was fantastic to have exposure to that next level of experience, plus I had Sue [Hawkins] there as my mentor and she was great at giving me advice and a helping hand when needed.  It was a great development opportunity for me and I’m very thankful for it, it’s definitely sparked my interest in seeing how far I can go as a coach.”

Along with participating in their own games, the athletes were able to watch some of the best in action with the Australian Diamonds taking the court against a NSW team – featuring some of the 2014 NSW Swifts – in a practice match in the lead-up to Game Five of the 2013 Constellation Cup.

Diamonds’ Head Coach Lisa Alexander also took time to address the talented young team, educating them on the commitment it takes to be an elite netballer and that their journey to the Green & Gold starts with making the most of opportunities like the SIS/SAS Challenge.

Congratulations to all the NSW athletes who participated in the weekend and best of luck to those trialling for the NSW State Teams later this year.

2013 NSW SIS/SAS Team
Toni Anderson – NSWIS
Keira Aston – SNA
Olivia Duffy – CCAS
Prudence Ellis – SNA
Leanne Greventiz – CCAS
Charlotte Jasprizza – NSWIS
Lauren Moore – CCAS
Elyssa Peirce – NSWIS
Braeden Quince – SNA
Natasha Roberts – HAS
Lauren Singleton – WSAS
Lauren Yager – NSWIS
Head Coach: Amber Cross – CCAS
Mentor Coach: Sue Hawkins – NSWIS
Manager: Sharon McIntyre – WRAS
Physio: Chris Parfett – NSWIS

CCAS – Central Coast Academy of Sport
HAS – Hunter Academy of Sport
NSWIS – New South Wales Institute of Sport
SNA – Sydney Netball Academy
WSAS – Western Sydney Academy of Sport