The depth in talent in secondary school ranks continues to impress new coach Mary-Jane Araroa who has confirmed her New Zealand Secondary School team to travel to Australia.
Twelve players and three reserves have been named in the national team in what Araroa said proved a tough selection process.
The team will assemble in Auckland on September 25 and travel across the Tasman to attend the Netball Australia 17-and-under training camp. The NZSS team will take part in round-robin match play against three 17-and-under teams – competing against the best 36 Australian athletes in their age-group.
Coach Mary-Jane Araroa said she was looking forward to working with the talented group of school athletes.
“I have seen some real turn of events over the years within this age group and the competition for spots at this level has gone from strength to strength,” she said. “It is just amazing as the standard of skill and talent is exceptional.
“I am very excited and can’t wait to start focusing on this core group.”
The Emerging Talent selection panel of Araroa, Charissa Barham, Pelesa Semu, Nic Jones, Jen Hooper and Lee-Anne Clark had a tough ask of naming players in the absence of a regular trial and players were considered over a number of competitions including the Beko Netball League and the recent Netball NZ U19 and U17 Champs.
It meant four players were named from outside the New Zealand Secondary Schools squad which had been named after the national development camp in January.
They also lost shooters to the NZU21 team which enabled Tamara Leoni, from Epsom Girls Grammar, and Diahn Te Pania-Strickland, from Manukura, to be selected from outside the squad.
Also picked from outside of the squad include mid-courter Braxton Te Riini (Manukura) and defender Lyanne Eukaliti (Hillcrest High School) who both stood out at the Netball NZ U19 Champs.
Araroa, who has stepped up from the assistant role last year, said the panel had been impressed by the depth of talent to select from.
New Zealand Secondary Schools Team 2017:
Shooters – Tamara Leoni (Epsom Girls Grammar School), Bianca Nagaiya (Epsom Girls Grammar School), Lahaina-Lee Upu-Toporea (Mt Albert Grammar School), Diahn Te Pania-Strickland (Manukura).
Mid-court – Victoria Kolose (Saint Kentigern College), Tayla Earle (Saint Kentigern College), Braxton Te Riini (Manukura), Ainsleyana Puleiata (St Mary’s College, Wellington).
Defence – Theresa Ngata (Aorere College), Greer Sinclair (Epsom Girls Grammar School), Renee Savai’inaea (St Mary’s College, Wellington), Lyanne Eukaliti (Hillcrest High School).
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