Stepping up their game
OUR netball prowess will be on show when four members of the Biloela netball Association travel to Brisbane for the state championship.
Zali Middleton, 15, Zali Eckel, 16, and Brylea Griffiths, 15, will be joined by their local coach Shari Hancock to participate in the Nissan U16 and U18 State Titles at the Queensland State Netball Centre in Brisbane from September 29-October 1, as members of Central Queensland's U16 Claws squad.
On Monday, Shari Hancock was named the head coach of the Claws U16 team and said it's a great opportunity for herself and the girls.
"This is the first time for Biloela to have players in the U16 Claws squad and for me to coach the squad,” Hancock said.
"It's great to see rural girls getting a go.
"It's very important for the growth and development of netball in Biloela.
"To be selected means they are as good as everybody else in the
region, it's a testament to their work ethic and their skill-set.”
Middleton is excited to be competing against 11 other regional teams and having the chance to learn off a wide variety of players.
"I think it's an amazing opportunity.
"Coming from a rural town we don't get opportunities like that very often,” Middleton said.
"It'll be exciting to go away too and play at an elite level.
"Because the girls are all from different towns like Emerald, Rockhampton and Yeppoon, it'd be nice to get to know all the girls better because it changes your game when you know everyone.”
Griffiths was named as a training partner, serving essentially as a shadow in the team with the opportunity to access development at the elite level.
"It's exciting because I didn't think I would be selected because coming from a small town, you don't really get those opportunities to improve my skills and fitness as I've only been playing for about four years.” Griffiths said.
Eckel has played for 11 years and her selection in the team is a personal highlight.
"Really exciting to be selected,” Eckel said.
"It's definitely up there as a career highlight for me.
"It's just going to be good to have this experience of playing different girls in different conditions.
"Improve my skills, my game and try to progress.”
The girls will join a Claws team that features players from all around the Capricorn Coast and areas such as Gladstone, Rockhampton, Emerald and even as far west as Barcaldine.
"They've all got a lot of potential,” Hancock said.
" I'm making sure they are well prepared physically and mentally ready to compete at that level.
"Ensuring that they work to the best of their ability and enjoy the experience.”
As a life member of Biloela netball with over 15 years service, Hancock's appointment as head coach is something she's had her eye on for a while.
"It's something I've been working for about five or six years having being involved in rep netball for that time,” Hancock said.
"This is the next stage of my coach development pathway.”
Hancock and the girls plan to fly out of Rockhampton on September 28.