Twenty-eighteen proved to be a highly successful year for South Australia’s underage netball teams with three out of the four teams finishing top in their respective competitions.
In April – at the National Netball Championships, the South Australian 17/U team won gold and more recently at the National Schoolgirls Netball Championships the 12/Us finished first on the ladder and the 15/Us won gold defeating New South Wales 30-23.
It marked the first time the 15/Us had won gold since 1994. While 2009 was the last time the 12/U team finished first.
At the National Netball Championships, the 19/Us fell short in the gold medal game, defeated by Victoria by five goals.
The National Schoolgirls Netball Championships, run by School Sport Australia, saw the 12/U competition held in Darwin from 15-21 September.
School Sport Australia Netball National Secretary Paula Nielsen said the 12/U competition sees the states and territories compete in a double round robin competition.
“South Australia won every game expect one, when they drew with Western Australia. After the two rounds of competition, SA convincingly finished on top of the ladder followed by Queensland and New South Wales,” she said.
“The 15/U Championship was held in Werribee, Victoria from July 28 to August 3, with the competition following the same format as the National Netball Championships with rounds and then finals.
“From their performances in Werribee three South Australians, Darcie Brown, Jessie Grenvold and Kimberley Hearnden have been selected in 15/U Australian team that will compete at the International Schoolgirls Netball Championships in New Zealand in 2019.”
Ms Nielsen said the 15/U competition is important in preparing the athletes for the 17/U state teams.
“While the school competition isn’t as serious, with players socialising with one another between games and a more relaxed environment than at the National Championships, the competition is a great stepping stone for athletes who will be selected in the 17/U team so they experience playing in the round and finals format and the quality of netball is very high,” she said.
Any girls who attends a school affiliated with School Sport SA in South Australia is eligible to trial for the South Australian school teams.