Whittlesea netballer makes national squad

By Tricia Mifsud

WHITTLESEA’S Tara Watson has been selected as one of the 36 netballers in Netball Australia’s 17 and under national squad for the upcoming 2021-22 season.

As her first time selected for a national squad, Watson said she couldn’t believe it when she found out and was looking forward to playing netball in a professional environment.

Of the 36 selected athletes, Watson is one of the six Victorians.

“When I found it was pretty surreal – I didn’t believe it, and I was incredibly honoured to be selected,” Watson said.

“I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face, and I still can’t.

“I think what I am most excited about is being able to train alongside hardworking and talented athletes and to be around the professionalism of the coaches.”

The teams were announced for both the 17 and under and 19 and under squads in late September, with selection this year different due to the National Netball Championships being cancelled because of COVID-19.

“Nationals got cancelled because of COVID-19, which was devastating but I was a part of the state trial process, including the first screening because I wasn’t a part of any state academies. There were about three or four trials I went through for selection,” Watson said.

Watson has played netball since she was four years old, and currently plays for Diamond Creek and North East Blaze.

She watched her older sister play netball before her, and was encouraged to give the sport a go for herself.

“My sister played before me and she got me into it. I love the team spirit of netball and the professionalism held by netball players and I look up to every single one of the players above me,” Watson said.

COVID-19 restrictions permiting, Netball Australia is aiming to deliver camps for both the 17 and 19 squads, giving players the opportunity to improve their ability and receive elite training.