Three of Busselton’s star netballers are gearing up to represent the region in the WA Netball League, just a few weeks after donning the black and gold for WA.
Souwest Jets players Riley Culnane, Brooke Gibson and Harmony Sutherland recently returned from playing for the state at the 2018 National Netball Championships.
Riley and best friend Brooke played in the under 17 side, while Harmony represented in the under 19 division.
The girls earned their spot through a series of weekly trials in Perth, where they beat out more than 100 up-and-coming netballers to gain one of the 15 positions on the state team.
It was Brooke’s first appearance for WA and Harmony’s second.
Riley, who has played for WA since under 12s, captained the state side for the third time.
Despite being a state stalwart, she said her position in the squad was never guaranteed.
“Making state is never something you expect. Every year you have to work hard and put the effort in,” she said.
“At the start of every year and every trial, they say just because you were in it last year doesn’t mean you will make it this year.
“The hard work is still the same and it is still just as exciting.”
The under 17 and 19 teams both had the same results at the championships.
Both had a shaky start before getting a few wins and making it to the semi-finals.
They then lost their semi-final game and finished in fourth after being defeated in the bronze medal match.
Brooke said she enjoyed her first opportunity as a state player.
“It was pretty exciting and a good challenge. I definitely want to do it again,” she said.
Harmony believed it was improved preparation which helped her crack the under 19 team, after being selected at under 15 level but missing out as an under 17.
“My lead-up was better this year and playing in the WA Netball League open division helped me with tougher opponents, dealing with fatigue and higher intensity games,” she said.
The trio now turn their focus to the Souwest Jets, and their role in the Busselton Magpies team in the South West Football Netball League.
When not playing for their city, region and state, they also play in the Busselton Netball Association club league.
The three teens are already eyeing off future netball careers, even though the 2018 season is still underway.
“It is a pretty unique pathway especially for regional athletes but our next step would be WA Institute of Sport selection, hopefully under 19 selection, and from there the Western Sting and West Coast Fever then the Australian Diamonds,” Riley said.
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