2014 has already been an outstanding year for netball in Queensland from the top down, and we still have more to come with clubs and teams across the state heading into finals.
The Mission Queensland Firebirds finished runners-up in the ANZ Championship after an action packed season saw the Queenslanders take the long road to the Grand Final.
This was the Firebirds third grand final appearance in the past four years with the team taking the gong as the most viewed by television audiences in Australia and New Zealand.
On the international stage we all celebrated as Queenslander and Firebirds captain Laura Geitz stamped Australia as the world’s dominant netball powerhouse, guiding the Diamonds to the gold medal at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games for the first time in 12 years.
A number of other Firebirds players were part of the Diamonds success, with Kim Ravaillion claiming gold alongside Geitz and Gabi Simpson travelling with the team to Manchester as a training partner prior to the games.
Verity Simmons, Clare McMeniman and Jacinta Messer were all called into the Diamonds camp as training partners with McMeniman elevated to the squad making her eligible for selection in the Commonwealth games team plus Amorette Wild joining McMeniman and Simpson being named in the Australian Fast5 Flyers.
Following on from the Firebirds and Diamonds success the Queensland Fusion made a historic tilt at the Australian Netball League trophy, after almost snatching a nail-biting, come-from-behind winin the team’s first ever Grand Final appearance.
The Queenslanders narrowly missed bringing home the ANL trophy, going down by just two goals, on the back of a gutsy second half fight back to the Melbourne Fury, 51-49.
The Fusion team was sporting some of the best young talent Netball Queensland has to offer with 2015 Firebirds home-grown recruits Gretel Tippett and Beryl Friday putting up some impressive shooting percentages.
Earlier in the year the Queensland 19U State team claimed the title of 2014 National Champions at the National Netball Championships in Victoria with star shooter Cara Koenen being named MVP of the tournament before going on to star for the Fusion.
It’s only the third time in 31 years that Queensland has won the 19U national title and the team did it dropping only one match the entire tournament.
19U captain, Hulita Haukinima was rewarded for her performance and along with fellow Queenslanders Beryl Friday and Gretel Tippett were among 12 emerging elite Australian netballers selected for the first intake of athletes to the newly established Netball Centre of Excellence program at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra.
Queensland also had seven athletes nationally identified at a 17U level, Abigail Latu-Meafou, Anabella Sorby, Binnian Hunt, Bryah Gafa, Kobe Howard, Lenora Misa and Mia Henderson, four athletes at a 19U level, Leah Middleton, Cara Koenen, Hulita Haukinima and Mahalia Cassidy and three athletes at a 21U level, Beryl Friday, Madeline McAuliffe and Mahalia Cassidy.
There was a changing of the guard in Netball Queensland’s elite state competitions, Mission Queensland State Netball League (MQSNL) and the Queensland Championship Cup (QCC), with many talented athletes hitting the courts across the state coming through the Netball Queensland pathways.
After a dominating performance the Brisbane West Lions ended the Kedron-Wavell Services Leagues Club Cougars stranglehold on the MQSNL trophy and became the new 2014 premiers.
The Carina Leagues Club Tigers were crowned the QCC Premiers defeating the Suncoast Lynx with Fusion star Beryl Friday being named grand final MVP.
Of course we cannot forget the success of our elite coaches and umpires.
Netball Queensland had three coaches selected as part of the Netball Australia targeted coach program.
Fusion coach Kylee Byrne was selected to attend the 21U national selection camp, 19U Queensland State team coach, Christine Voge was selected to attend the 19U National Development Camp and Lauren Nourse was selected to attend a Centre of Excellence specialist camp.
Promising young Netball Queensland umpire Ashleigh has been recognized as a rising talent after being badged with her National A umpiring badge, and sees her progress into Netball Australia’s talent identification pathways.
But the final whistle hasn’t yet been blown on the 2014 season, we still have the Mt Franklin Challenge finals, the Vicki Wilson Cup final series, Mission Foods Primary Schools Cup and all of the best of club netball around the state.
Look out 2015!