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Posted by: | Posted on: December 3, 2020

Well travelled netballer cracks Swifts Academy

It’s the result of her day job as a hairdresser and her nightime and weekend passion for playing netball.The 22-year-old, who lives at Braxton in the Hunter Valley and plays Premier League on the Central Coast and Sydney and association netball in Newcastle, this week has been rewarded for her dedication to the cause by being named in the NSW Swifts Academy fore 2021.“You get used to it, the travel, and I just love my netball,’’ Hawley said.“I’ve been playing since I was five and we used to travel for hours to just play one hour of netball. It’s just what we did and we became used it.’’

Hawley has set herself the goal of making the Academy team and now realises she may have to aim higher.“My goal was to make the Academy and now I’m stoked,’’ she said.“My goal is to improve all the time. Hopefully the hard work might pay off and I might be a Swift one day. That’s the new goal.’’The Swifts Academy is now in its second season and was set up to strengthen the foundations of the club and provide a stream of new talent into the game.Athletes selected for the Academy come from both metro and regional areas and are considered the future of the sport.
Athletes involved in the Academy program in 2021 will train in a professional and high-performance environment and will underpin the players and training partners in the current Swifts squad coached by Briony Akle.

“Pathways have always been one of netball’s greatest assets and are key to ensuring the continued growth of the game and the Swifts as a successful club,” said Academy performance manager and NSW Swifts assistant coach Anita Keelan.“The Academy ensures the Swifts have a continued direct pathway link to local talent, who can learn from the best national and international players we also have at the club. “The Swifts have a very proud history and we feel each of the Academy athletes selected has what it takes to make it at the highest level.’’
2021 QBE Swifts Academy: Alisha Cairns – Eastwood Ryde, Alison Miller – Eastwood Ryde, Amelia Kirgan – Bankstown City, Audrey Little – Manly Warringah, Brooke Paterson – Randwick, Charlotte Raleigh – Armidale District, Charlotte Smith – Sutherland Shire, Chelsea Mann – Manly Warringah, Courtney Castle – Blacktown City, Dakota Thomas – Newcastle,
Elle Bennetts – Northern Suburbs, Emma Smith – Sutherland Shire. Erin Asquith – Newcastle,
Kara Styles – Sutherland Shire, Kristen Kessler – Wyong District, Laura Towell – Sutherland ShireLili Gorman-Brown – Sutherland Shire, Madeline Eaton – Sutherland Shire, Olivia Coleman – Eastwood Ryde, Papi Alaalatoa – Liverpool City, Sophie Fawns – Wagga Wagga, Tarsha Hawley – Newcastle.

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Posted by: | Posted on: November 25, 2020

Why these are the 12 rising stars of netball in NSW

Young players from across NSW who will be courting success for their state and country in the not-to-distant future.Some aren’t far off. Others have a few years to grow and develop.
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Here’s a list of some of the best and brightest netball talent in the state expected to be making a big mark in the game.

LEILANI ROHWEDER

Lismore/Penrith
Rohweder played her junior netball in her hometown of Lismore before making the move to Sydney for more opportunities.Now with the Penrith District Netball Association, this young mid-courter is coming along in leaps and bounds.A member of the QBE Swifts Academy, the 20-year-old was given a great opportunity to train with the Super Netball side when they relocated to Queensland and were allowed to extend their training squad.The young netball has been identified as a future talent and is in the Australian u21 squad.

SOPHIE FAWNS

Wagga

You may not have heard the name yet but it is more than likely you will soon.From Wagga, this young shooter like most regional athletes is well versed in spending hours on the road racing to training and games.But her dedications is paying off with the young talent part of the Swifts Academy.She impressed during a trial match for the Swift against the Giants earlier this season where she went up against experienced defender Kristiana Manu’a.Playing Netball NSW Premier League with new franchise South Coast Blaze, 17-year-old Fawns has been a member of numerous state age teams with her preferred position at goal attack.

AUDREY LITTLE

Manly Warringah

Little by name but a big, big talent in netball. This schoolgirl from the Northern Beaches of Sydney is the daughter of former Wallaby player Jason Little and is on course to be a big hit in her own sport. A NSW junior, the 16-year-old made the leadership group with the NSW under 17s team.She was also one of the youngest members named in the Swifts Academy and has been gaining experience and strength from playing in the Netball NSW Premier League where she represents the Manly Warringah Sapphires.

TAYLA FRASER

Baulkham Hills
This Sydney talent has finally secured her first player contract despite actually getting time on the court in Super Netball over both the 2019 and 2020 netball seasons.The 21-year-old midcourter from Sydney was with the NSW Swifts Super Netball team in their Queensland hub after clubs were allowed to extend their squads due to coronavirus. Since the end of the comp she has signed on with the club for next season.Fraser last year played some minutes into the Swifts Super Netball win and is one of the most versatile and dynamic mid-courters in the state.

MATISSE LETHERBARROW

Baulkham Hills

A young sharpshooter with a big future ahead of her. Matisse Letherbarrow has recently been named in the Australian u21 squad, showing she is a young Diamond in the making.The young gun has made her way through the NSW pathways system, representing her state in numerous state age teams.A former member of the Netball NSW Waratahs – the team which feeds into the NSW Swifts – she moved across to the Giants in 2020 and made her elite debut while training with them in Queensland at the tender age of 18.

SOPHIE DWYER

Eastwood Ryde

Another impressive shooter who, like Letherbarrow, is a member of the Australian u21 squad and destined for big things in the game.Dwyer, 18, also benefited from teams being allowed to bring extra players into their squads during the Super Netball season and made her debut in the top domestic competition in the world after switching from the Swifts to the Giants.The teenager has learned her craft in state teams from an early age and also played for the Swifts feeder team, the Netball NSW Waratahs. Last season she was named the Australian Netball League Grand Final MVP.

LATIKA TOMBS

Manly Warringah

The talented daughter of former Australian centre and multiple world champion Carissa Tombs (nee Dalwood) and former Wallaby Richard Tombs.Tombs, 18, has excelled in state teams over the years and played with the Canberra Giants, the then feeder team to Giants Netball. Now she is part of the Giants Academy and is seen as a star in the making – in the same position as her mother in the midcourt.Tombs was recently named in the 2020 Australian u21 squad and plays Premier League for the Manly Warringah Sapphires.

OLIVIA COLEMAN

Eastwood Ryde

Known for her height and gritty defence, Coleman is also a member of the Australian u21 netball quad.Coleman has blossomed in the NSW Swifts environment and took the court for a number of pre-season games under the guidance of former Swifts player turned coach Briony Akle.Coleman was sidelined early as a talent by Netball NSW pathway and has played in numerous state teams along with the Premier League for ERNA Hawks.Coleman is in the perfect environment to learn more about her crafty with Swifts defenders Sarah Klau and Maddy Turner seen as two of the best in the game.

CLARE IONGI

Inner Western Suburbs

If she looks a little familiar there is a reason why.Iongi is the niece of one of the toughest netballers ever to play for Australia in Mo’onia Gerrard and her Wallaby husband Mark Gerrard.A talented and athletic netballer is still in her teens and seen a bright talent for the future.A tough defender and was bought through the Swifts’ pathway with the Netball NSW Waratahs and played in last year’s Australian Netball League (feeder competition to Super Netball) season decider.She switched to the Giants camp this season as a training partner.

AMY AND NATALIE SLIGAR

Camden & District

Netball’s sister act.These talented twins, a midcourter and shooter, are expected to be a big hit on an off the court in the future.Amy and Natalie have progressed through the NSW Netball pathway system side-by-side and have also just been named together in the Australian 21 and under squad.The twins are also members of the Giants Academy and seen as having a big future in the game.

KRISTEN KESSLER

Wyong

This young midcourter has talent and energy to burn.Kessler was the Netball NSW Premier League MVP in 2016.Growing up on the Central Coast, she played alongside NSW Swifts talent Lauren Moore.She has won a Premier League title with Heart and has attracted enough attention to grab a covered spot in the NSW Swifts Academy.

Posted by: | Posted on: November 19, 2020

Alexander misses out again

Anderson, a former Sydney Swifts assistant coach and assistant to ex national coach Lisa Alexander – who was overlooked for the Firebirds role in favour of the 46-year-old – said she was humbled to win the post and excited to lead the Super Netball club.“I knew there would be some big-name coaches going for (the position) and it’s just humbling to get offered any position like this,” Anderson said.“These sort of roles don’t come around often, so I’m just super grateful to be given the opportunity.”The Firebirds made enormous gains this season to finish just outside the finals and have only strengthened their squad for next year as Diamonds Gretel Bueta and Kim Ravaillion return from maternity leave to bolster the squad.Anderson, who won 20 Diamonds caps as a player, has strong relationships with several of the Firebirds players from her time as an Australian assistant and hopes to be able to build a quick and strong rapport with her new team.“I’ve had a lot of dealings with Gretel (Bueta) and Gabi (Simpson) over the years and also Kim Jenner in the last 12 or so months, so it’s really good to be familiar with a lot of them before coming in,” she said.“I was really impressed, especially with the second half of the season. They lost a few in the first half and came home so strong in the second half of the season and that just shows such character from such young players.”Super Netball commentator and former Diamond Cath Cox said the Firebirds had made an “exceptional move”.“It’s always a gutsy thing to take on a coach that hasn’t had experience at a national league level before and is young,” Cox said.“She’s had plenty of experience with the Diamonds but it is still a very bold move and a very smart one, she’s going to be a great asset for them.“The Firebirds have had coaches throughout the years that they’ve held on to, they really like to look after their own and keep them in the system and she’s a perfect one to be able to do that and start that new generation.”Anderson, who will move her young family, including six-year-old twins Thomas and Olivia to Queensland for the job, takes over from Roselee Jencke who led the club to three premierships in her 11-year tenure.“She’s big shoes to follow, that’s for sure, I’ll be very different to Rose in my approach – not in a good or a bad way, just different – and hopefully just that fresh outlook will be good for the players as well.”

Posted by: | Posted on: November 4, 2020

Netball star’s retirement backflip

Mid-courter Browne announced in early September that her career was over after re-injuring her right knee while playing for Collingwood in the Super Netball competition.“Season 2020 was always set to be my last and I have cherished every minute I have been able to be out there on court,” Browne said in a statement released by Collingwood.“It is sad to miss out on the best, which is competing at the elite level, but in making this decision I am looking to avoid the worst and take control of my life beyond netball.”But 32-year-old Browne has changed her mind to “embrace” the “challenge” of playing abroad.

“I am absolutely delighted to be coming to the UK to play for Leeds Rhinos,” Browne told the club’s website.“It was a dream to play netball abroad and thanks to Leeds this dream gets to become reality.“I’m ready to step outside my comfort zone of playing in Australia and inject my 15 years of elite netball knowledge into UK netball.“The set-up at Leeds is really impressive and with (coach) Dan Ryan in charge, I’m not surprised with the stellar list of players he’s already recruited. “I couldn’t help but be drawn into the shared vision emerging in Leeds, and the opportunity to assist in building a program from the ground up is an honour I don’t take lightly. “I love a challenge and am looking forward to embracing and growing with them as well as helping my team navigate through whatever comes our way.“Leeds already has a rich sporting culture and it’s exciting to make history being one of the inaugural players putting the Rhinos on the map for netball in the UK. “I look forward to developing new connections and relationships in another country and the chance to call it home. I can’t wait to move over and get started.”

Browne made 61 appearances for the Diamonds, retiring from international netball in July 2018.She will move to the UK in January, with the English Superleague season starting in February.Leeds coach Ryan said: “Madi is one of the most skilful, creative and admired players in our sport, and we are so proud and humbled to have her as part of the inaugural Leeds Rhinos team.“She’s so well respected worldwide not only for her incredible on court talents and long list of achievements, but the resilience and determination she has shown to defy the odds throughout her career. “She is a legend of the sport and our athletes are so fortunate to have the opportunity to play and train alongside an athlete and person of her class and calibre.”

Posted by: | Posted on: October 22, 2020

Boos to super shot staying

Australian Netball Players’ Association CEO Kathryn Harby-Williams said a player survey indicated 60 per cent were not in favour of retaining the Super Shot, and that the majority of Super Netballers wanted a smaller zone to make it harder to sink a two-point goal.“It was the view that the value of the two-point shot wasn’t commensurate with the distance from the post where it currently is, and that it should be a more difficult shot,” Harby-Williams said.“We put forward those views but unfortunately they didn’t land,” .It’s understood that when the Super Shot zone was introduced this year, shooters were both shocked and happy because some parts of the two-point zone were regarded as a natural distance for them. Harby-Williams said the Super Shot zone would again be assessed at the end of the 2021 season before a decision on whether it would be retained in 2022 would be made.“We are of the understanding that it was an unusual year and the majority of the players do understand that you cannot gather all the data required potentially to make an educated and informed decision,” she said.“So we have asked if it goes forward to ensure the commercial information, the fans’ views and the input from all the stakeholders is deeply considered following another season of it.”Brought in on the eve of this season, the Super Shot rule, which awards two points for goals shot from the Super Shot zone in the final five minutes of quarters, earned severe criticism. Players were angry they hadn’t been consulted, and there were suggestions the bonus for long-range shooters contributed to Australian captain Caitlin Bassett getting so little court time for the Giants that she quit Super Netball to play in New Zealand. Her Giants teammate, Jo Harten, led the league in super shots made, nailing 78 from 125 attempts during the season. But Super Netball CEO Chris Symington said he wanted to see the “evolution” of the rule next season and data showed it had helped the competition and even fans stay “engaged”. “We saw on numerous occasions this season how the Suncorp Super Shot … added another element of excitement to our game. What also became clear is that it could be used by teams as little or as much as they liked to suit their style of play,” he said.“With a full pre-season ahead and the opportunity to practise and prepare over a longer period of time, it will be fascinating to see how the players and teams adapt their game plans to suit these rules heading into next year.

“Contrary to some media commentary, we attribute this season’s increase in viewership to a range of factors, including the fact we were the first elite female sport to run a full competition after the outbreak of COVID-19. While the Suncorp Super Shot is an important innovation, it was one of many reasons for the success of the 2020 season.”Rolling substitutions, also introduced this season, will continue in 2021, but discussions regarding extended squad lists are ongoing, with a decision expected prior to the end of the current contracting window. The Super Netball season finished last Sunday with a grand final win by the Vixens.

Posted by: | Posted on: October 20, 2020

Diamonds to sparkle for Swifts in Super Netball 2021

In a testament to the clubs culture, all four players have been with Swifts since the inaugural super netball season back in 2017.
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Since then they have won the title in 2019 and this year made the finals.Key to their success is the fact the bulk of the 2017 team have remained together.That side finished sixth in the new Super Netball competition and were written off by many pre-season due to their lack of big names.

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But the club has now come full circle with their players some of the best in the game, including the Diamonds defensive duo of Maddy Turner and Sarah Klau.The pair, who live in Sydney’s inner west, have signed on for 2021 along with Maddy Proud and fellow Diamond Paige Hadley from Penrith.“I think when they are both fully fit and firing Sarah and Maddy form a formidable defensive combination which is pretty hard to match across the league,” said Swifts coach Briony Akle.“Both players are exceptionally driven to succeed and I know missing out on back-to-back titles this year will only spur them on.

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“Sarah is one of the best in the world in what is perhaps the toughest position to play when you think of the players she’s up against every week. “Every year I think she gets better and with a home crowd behind her in 2021 she’ll continue to grow.”
We blew our chance to be in another grand final and we’ll have to live with that for the off-season
Captain Proud, recently selected in the Diamonds squad, and vice-captain Hadley will continue their mid court relationship in 2021.Hadley is the most experienced Swifts after playing her 100th game for the club in 2020.

“I knew when I joined back in 2017 that getting to play for such a prestigious club was a huge honour and I think as a group we’ve done well but missing out on back-to-back this year means our hunger will only be greater,” she said.“We didn’t get the chance to run out as Premiers in front of our own fans due to Covid, and that should be a massive motivation for us to win another title. Not only did we miss out but our fans and members did too. What better way to make that right than by trying to secure a title on your own patch. “We blew our chance to be in another grand final and we’ll have to live with that for the off-season.’’

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