Quartet selected for talent academy

By Southern Riverina News

The squads and coaches for the inaugural AFL Goulburn Murray Junior Netball Academy have been finalised, with four girls from the Southern Riverina gaining selection.

The academy will help nurture the next generation of netball stars in the organisation’s catchment area, exactly as the football academy does currently.

Finley Netball Club’s Jasmine and Sienna Burke and Blighty Netball Club’s Jess Hanmer were selected in the 13 year-old squad, while Tocumwal netballer Tahlia Pate made the cut for the 12 year-old squad.

District netball legend Ann Austin will act as the academy’s director of coaching, with her wealth of experience serving to help guide the 13 year-old group head coach Emma Clignett and 12 year-old group coach Ash Bradley.

Clignett is new to the region after relocating from Queensland at the start of the year, while Bradley was sidelined with a knee injury this season, but will return to play with Shepparton next year when her Victorian Netball League commitments with the Casey Demons allow it.

It means the talent coming through the academy will be in the best position possible to learn from some of the best in the business and develop their own skills accordingly.

‘‘The aim of the academy is to connect the pathway in a more co-ordinated manner and to provide a structured and focused development program for the selected participants and coaches,’’ AFL GM netball administration officer Peita Sleeth said.

‘‘The program will consist of 12 sessions overall at each age group with a focus on skill development, game sense and personal growth.

‘‘It is also fantastic to have Tatura Milk on board as partner of the netball academy, becoming the AFL Goulburn Murray Junior Academy partner for both football and netball development in the region.’’

The program will begin in earnest in February, with squads selected from trials held last month.

‘‘Coaches and selectors were very impressed with the high level of skill and effort demonstrated by all players through trials, which made selection of athletes for the academy extremely difficult,’’ Sleeth said.

‘‘Overall, this is an exciting addition to the netball community and we are looking forward to a high service being provided to academy participants through 2019 and beyond.’’

AFL GM Junior Netball Academy:

12 year-old squad:

Sophie Allen, Adison Thornberry (Seymour), Eliza Atley (Deniliquin), Remi Bruton, Ruby Diffey, Summah McCrimmon-Round, Megan Payne, Madeline Rodda, Hannah Wells, Emily Younger (Shepparton), Montanna Burke (Pine Lodge), Madison Cox, Zara Cuzens, Maia Librio, Gabrielle Moore (Kialla), Amani Issell (Mooroopna), Matisse Martin (Rochester), Grace Moyle (Echuca), Sophie Munro (Trawool), Mackenzie O’Dwyer (Barooga), Tahlia Pate (Tocumwal), Ruby Watson (Euroa).

13 year-old squad:

Diaz Barzen, Zari Creighton, Indianna Norton, Ella Osborne (Kialla), Erin Bond (Mansfield), Jasmine Burke, Sienna Burke (Finley), Isla Carver, Charli Westerveld (Kyabram), Mykaelah Castles, Janaya Pettie (Shepparton), Sahla Dunstan, Eliza Thomson (Moama), Jessica Hanmer (Blighty), Demi Hendy (Katunga), Ruby Higgins (Cobram), Keeley O’Dwyer (Barooga), Kaleisha Pell (Yarrawonga), Ebony Sleeth (Mooroopna), Emelia Mercuri (Euroa).