Following in a long line of current Firebirds players captaining their state at Nationals, new Mission Queensland Firebirds recruit Beryl Friday will lead the 21/U Queenslanders at the National Netball Championships being held on the Sunshine Coast in March.
Current Firebirds Captain Laura Geitz led the 21/U team in 2006, Clare McMeniman and Laura Clemesha have also captained past Queensland teams.
Friday will be joined by Vice-Captains and fellow Queensland Fusion teammates Madeline McAuliffe and Hulita Haukinima.
Haukinima captained the 19/U Queensland team to a National Championship victory in 2014.
With the nationals being held on home soil and less than three weeks away Friday said her team is looking to improve on their previous campaign finish of fourth place.
“I am really excited about being named captain,” Friday said.
“It is the first time I have been named captain of any team so I am hoping I can lead our team to victory, especially hosting nationals in our home state,” Friday said.
In what has been a huge few months for Friday since being offered a contract by Firebirds Coach Roselee Jencke to join the successful franchise in 2015, the Ingham netballer has taken it all in her stride.
“I am literally learning something every day, it is not always improvement sometimes I have set backs but I feel as though I am growing and maturing as a player both on and off the court,” Friday said.
Not only has Friday had a heavy pre-season training schedule with the Firebirds, ANZ pre-season competition in Sydney, 21U preparations, off court media and player appearances but also managed to head home to Ingham to host a Firebirds Community Development Clinic for her little netball fans.
“That was my favourite clinic to do, everyone one who was there wanted to be there and they worked really hard and learnt a lot so I was just happy to help them continue their development,” Friday said.
“Plus it was so wonderful to take netball to my home town and see how excited they all were to have myself and Amy and to see the reach the Firebirds have all over the state.”
The Queensland 21/U team boasts a number of other stars including six of the 19/U 2014 National Championship winning team and rising talent Mahalia Cassidy.
Cassidy grabbed an opportunity to head to Sydney for the ANZ Championship summer shootout with the Firebirds as a replacement player for Captain Laura Geitz and the feisty mid-courter took every chance she was given to show what she had to offer.
The 21/U Nationals kicks off Tuesday March 10 – Sunday March 15 and is being held at the Caloundra Indoor Stadium, North Street Golden Beach.
21U Queensland State Team
Mahalia Cassidy – Pine Rivers
Bianca Cattelini – Queensland Catholic
Kate Dudley – Southport Carrara
Beryl Friday – Metropolitan Districts
Hulita Haukinima – Logan City
Madeline McAuliffe – South Brisbane Strikers
Leah Middleton – Southport Carrara
Kristen Oxenford – Southport Carrara
Briony Payne – Southport Carrara
Jemmason Power – Downey Park
Dominique Scott – Caboolture
Aldora Tuala – Logan City
Coach – Tracey Jeaner-Fraser