Three Queenslanders are set to shine as the future of Netball in Australia with Beryl Friday, Hulita Haukinima and Gretel Tippett selected to the first intake of athletes for the newly established Netball Centre of Excellence Program.
The program’s first intake will see the 12 emerging Elite athletes take up residence at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra for a full-time intensive individualised daily training environment from August before concluding with an international tour in October.
Former Australian captain and assistant coach Michelle Den Dekker has been appointed Head Coach of the new 8-week residential program, alongside Targeted Coach Stacey Rosman.
“The new Centre of Excellence program will provide the selected athletes with an opportunity to fast track their individual development as we immerse them in a professional and elite environment,” den Dekker said.
“These athletes have been identified as potential future international representatives so we want to establish performance behaviours that enable their transition to be seamless before they take that next step into the Australian Diamonds.”
The selected athletes will arrive at the Netball Centre of Excellence on Monday 18 August following the conclusion of the 2014 Australian Netball League (ANL). Those selected athletes involved in the ANL Finals Series will join their new residential team mates on Monday 25 August.
The 2014 Netball Centre of Excellence Program will finish with an international tour of South Africa from Thursday 9 October – Monday 20 October.
“International competition is crucial in the preparation of athletes to become Australian Netball Diamonds by introducing different playing styles, exposure to unfamiliar cultural settings and long haul travel,” den Dekker said.
Australian Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander said the program provides a perfect stepping stone to international representation.
“The new Centre of Excellence program will be a vital cog in our high performance pathway as we prepare our emerging athletes for possible future international competition,” Alexander said.
Along with the residential program, the Netball Centre of Excellence will be offering five identified athletes with the opportunity to attend a series of five-day specialist camps targeting defenders, mid-courters and shooters.
The specialist camps will see former Australian players Jane Searle (defence), Sue Hawkins (shooting), Jill McIntosh (midcourt C/WA) and Nicole Richardson (midcourt C/WD) provide specialist coaching alongside den Dekker.
Netball Centre of Excellence Athletes Name (Origin/ANZ Championship team):
Ashleigh Brazill (NSW/West Coast Fever)
Courtney Bruce (WA/West Coast Fever)
Beryl Friday (QLD)
Hulita Haukinima (QLD)
Sarah Klau (SA)
Cody Lange (SA/Adelaide Thunderbirds)
Madeleine Proud (SA/Adelaide Thunderbirds)
Kaylia Stanton (WA/West Coast Fever)
Gretel Tippett (QLD/NSW Swifts)
Numi Tupaea (WA)
Chloe Watson (VIC)
Joanna Weston (VIC/Melbourne Vixens)