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Whittlesea Secondary netballers on the ball

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Pam Kiriakidis
Pam Kiriakidis
Pam Kiriakidis has worked as a journalist at the North Central Review since 2022, with a particular focus on the City of Whittlesea and stories for the Whittlesea Review. She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Media and Communications majoring in journalism and focuses on politics, community, and health with the occasional niche sports story finding its way in front of her.

By Pam Kiriakidis

WHITTLESEA Secondary College’s senior girls netball team has progressed to compete at the state schools finals and State Invitational Championships over coming weeks.

The team started at the local level in the Whittlesea division this year, successfully defeating schools by 10 or more goals in each round.

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The team’s skill and aptitude secured them a chance at competing in the Northern Metro Regional Championships, which the team won, landing it a spot at state finals on September 4.

The team’s success this year includes achievements in standard school sports tournaments, and participating in the State Invitational Championships in July for the first time, where they dominated over some of Victoria’s elite colleges to progress to the finals on August 29.

Head coach Nathan Searl said the players were so well-balanced and complimented each other’s styles that they needed little coaching or guidance.

“Some of them are super experienced to know when to change the momentum of the game and what needs to be done in that space, and there’s three or four of them who are really experienced and can almost act as coaches on the court as well help out some of the other players,” he said.

“A lot of them have different strengths and they all complement each other well – they are really hard working.

“They probably defend better than every other team that we’ve played so far but the application on the day and their commitment to each other has been probably the highlight – they’ve worked really well.”

Searl said they had some stand-out players such as Tara Watson, who had represented Victoria on several occasions.

“Tara is phenomenal, she’s brought a lot back in terms of training [as has] all three or four girls who play at a high level,” he said.

“They’ve actually grown a lot as a team from the first couple of games they’ve played – so individual highlights, they’ve all had them – but as a team they’ve been able to work really well together, and the netball they are playing is at a really high standard.”

Searl said the year 11 and 12 team was motivated to build stronger connections in its high intensity training to compete against Victoria’s most elite netball teams at finals.

“Probably before our last couple of tournaments, they didn’t train a whole heap together – they sort of relied on their natural talent, but they all put it on each other [that] they want to train more regularly and build those connections,” he said.

“It’s a lot of structure-based training that hopefully puts them in a really good position to compete in what they know is going to be an even tougher competition.”

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