Halpin to lead Netball NSW Blues

Netball NSW is pleased to announce long-serving New South Wales representative Sophie Halpin will Captain the Netball NSW (NNSW) Blues for the 2014 Australian Netball League (ANL) season.

The 21-year-old will be supported by midcourt teammate Nicole Deegenaars as Vice-Captain throughout the eight week Australia-wide competition.

Netball NSW General Manager – High Performance Tracey Fear said Halpin was a great captaincy choice given her previous experience in leadership roles, as well as playing at the ANL level.

“For a young athlete, Sophie has considerable experience playing at the elite level with this year being her third season with the NNSW Blues.  She has also displayed proven leadership qualities, having been part of underage NSW State Team Leadership Groups, including Vice-Captain of this year’s NSW 21/U side,” Fear said.

“Sophie is highly regarded by her peers and displays the qualities NSW netball looks for in a leader – she delivers on court and demonstrates a professional attitude to the High Performance program.  Combined with Nikki [Deegenaars], the NNSW Blues have a strong leadership team which we have every confidence in.”

Halpin has been an integral part of the NNSW Blues outfit since making her ANL debut in 2012.  As a versatile midcourt defender, Halpin has played in more than 20 ANL matches and is a long-time NSW representative having taken the court in the NSW 19/U (2011-12) and 21/U (2012-14) State Teams.

Upon announcing the NNSW Blues Leadership Team, Netball NSW has also confirmed Amber Cross as the NNSW Blues Assistant Coach for 2014.

An up-and-coming coach who has already been identified by Netball Australia in their nationally targeted coach program, Cross will assist Head Coach Briony Akle after previously taking on the role of Assistant Coach with the 2014 NSW 17/U Team, which finished Runners-Up to Victoria at the National Championships earlier this year.

The Assistant Coach role was re-advertised recently after Akle was promoted to the role of Head Coach when Megan Anderson recently announced she would step down to focus on her pregnancy.

Fear said it was important that the NNSW Blues gave development opportunities not only for players but also talented up and coming  coaches.

“The NNSW Blues is a key part of the Netball NSW Athlete and Coach Development Pathway, and is a priority for the development of NSW’s best emerging talent in both areas.” Fear said.

“Amber has already experienced coaching success in the development of young athletes both in her former role as Head Coach at Academy level, as well as a NSW State Team Assistant Coach.

“Given the nature of NNSW Blues as a development team, Amber is well suited to working alongside Briony to further develop Netball NSW’s future stars.  On behalf of Netball NSW, I would like to wish the NNSW Blues – as well as the NNSW Waratahs – all the best for this year’s ANL,” Fear concluded.

As part of the NNSW’s Coach Development Strategy, NSW Swifts Apprentice Coach Akle and Cross will both be supported by Swifts’ Head Coach Rob Wright, as well as Swifts’ Technical Assistant Coach and current NNSW Waratahs Head Coach Anita Keelan, who will assist in guiding and mentoring the NNSW Blues coaching team throughout the 2014 ANL campaign.

The NNSW Blues will open their 2014 ANL season at home, when they host Tassie Spirit on Saturday 12 July at the Anne Clark Centre, before meeting the Canberra Darters on Sunday 13 July.

You can be there to cheer on some of the best NSW netballing talent in action! Tickets start from $6 for Adults and $3 for Children, with Family tickets also on offer.

View the NNSW Blues 2014 Home Games at the Anne Clark Centre below:
8:30pm Saturday 12 July: NNSW Blues v Tassie Spirit
2:00pm Sunday 13 July: NNSW Blues v Canberra Darters
7:00pm Wednesday 13 August: NNSW Blues v NNSW Waratahs

Click here to view the 2014 Australian Netball League draw