Netball Australia has announced the 13 emerging elite athletes chosen in the 2015 Netball Centre of Excellence Residential Program including three of Netball Queensland’s rising stars Mahalia Cassidy, Hulita Haukinima and Cara Koenen.
Cassidy has recently signed her first ANZ Championship contract and will hit the court for the Firebirds in 2016.
All three will head to Melbourne this weekend playing of the Queensland Fusion taking on the powerhouse Victorian Fury in the Australian Netball League Semi-Final.
The athletes will take up residence at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra for a full-time intensive individualised daily training environment from August.
Jill McIntosh, who played 29 Tests for Australia and coached two world championship victories and two Commonwealth Games gold medals, has been appointed Head Coach of the four-week residential program, which runs from 24 August – 18 September.
The athletes have been selected from the Australian 19/U and Australian 21/U pathway programs. Queensland’s Cassidy, Taylah Davies, from New South Wales, and Victorian pair Alice Teague-Neeld and Emily Mannix also have ANZ Championship experience.
“The athletes attending the Netball Centre of Excellence program are very exciting. The talent covers a nice spread across the different positions,” McIntosh said.
“It’s hoped their involvement in the Netball Centre of Excellence program will see these athletes quickly progress through to ANZ Championship teams, if not already there, as well as become Australian Diamonds’ squad members in the not too distant future.”
Australian Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander said some of the athletes have been noted as potential members of Australia’s 2017 World Youth Cup squad so the opportunity to work in a high performance environment will benefit their preparation.
“Having the opportunity to work with and learn from one of our best ever Australian coaches in Jill McIntosh, who has a wealth of international experience, will ensure that our up-and-coming young talent are educated in the most current and elite skills of our great game,” Alexander said.
Along with the residential program, the Netball Centre of Excellence is offering four assistant coaches and four apprentice coaches the opportunity to spend a week working with McIntosh and the athletes.
The assistant coaches selected are Kylee Byrne, Jenny Brazel, Tania Obst and Michelle Wilkins while Kristy Keppich-Birrell (Victoria), Melinda Clarke (ACT), Tasha Richards (WA) and Ronelle van Dongen (Northern Territory) are the apprentice coaches.
“This opportunity will not only be of benefit to the coaches working within this High Performance Program but also allow the athletes to experience different styles of coaching,” McIntosh said.
“I very much look forward to the opportunity of working with the Netball Centre of Excellence athletes and coaches and hope that this year’s program will be a successful one.”
2015 Netball Centre of Excellence Athletes (Name/Origin):
Toni Anderson (NSW)
Kaitlyn Bryce (NSW)
Emily Burgess (SA)
Mahalia Cassidy (QLD)
Taylah Davies (NSW)
Hulita Haukinima (QLD)
Sarah Klau (SA)
Cara Koenen (QLD)
Chelsea Lemke (SA)
Emily Mannix (VIC)
Emma Ryde (VIC)
Alice Teague-Neeld (VIC)
Maddy Turner (SA)