Helping the Thunderbirds of tomorrow fly

The Adelaide Thunderbirds Talent Academy will adopt an evolved structure in 2023 following extensive consultation with participants and key stakeholders across the state.

After a successful pilot program in 2022, which saw 12 athletes make up 48% of Netball SA’s 2023 17U State Squad, feedback highlighted the desire to strengthen the pathway while maintaining a strong presence in regional South Australia.

As a result, Netball SA will introduce an evolved structure in 2023 to elevate the pathway from grassroots competitions to Netball SA’s State Teams and beyond and create greater development opportunities for regional coaches.

The structure will consist of one Emerging Academy and five Development Academies based in locations across SA and allow for 40 additional spaces compared to 2022.

It will continue to focus on preparing athletes for State Team trials, after a survey revealed 88% of parents felt the program assisted in preparing their child for trials and future pathway opportunities.

In addition, 79% of athletes ‘strongly agreed’ they developed as an athlete over the course of the program and the remaining 21% ‘agreed’.

The Development Academy locations will be Berri, Clare, Keith, Metro and Whyalla.

Trials will be held in each of the above locations and athletes will have the chance to be selected in either the Emerging Academy or a Development Academy.

Academy Structure

Program snapshot

2023 Academy Trial Dates

2023 Talent Academy Trial Dates


Athletes will register to trial for the Adelaide Thunderbirds Talent Academy which will be conducted between February 25 and March 19. Successful athletes will be selected in either the Emerging Academy or the Development Academy in their region.

• 14 to 16 year olds (born in 2007, 2008 or 2009)
• Must have played Div 1 or 2 in their age group in 2022, or
• Played in a top two senior team in association in 2022

The 2023 evolved structure will allow for 40 additional positions in the Adelaide Thunderbirds Talent Academy.

Four of the five Development Academies will be based in regional South Australia: Berri, Clare, Keith and Whyalla. Trials will be held in the relevant region as will training sessions throughout the year. Regional coaches are encouraged to apply for the the Lead and Assistant Coach roles and successful applicants will receive ongoing mentoring and development opportunities.

The five Development Academies will be based in Berri, Clare, Keith, Metro (Adelaide), and Whyalla, and the Emerging Academy will be based in Adelaide.

All athletes selected into the Academy program will progress through to Netball SA's 17U State Team trials.

Have a question about our Adelaide Thunderbirds Talent Academy?

Contact our Pathways Manager, Roz Fraser to learn more

Get in touch