Some of the Central Coast and Hunter’s future stars are set to shine this weekend when they take to the court in the inaugural Greater Series Netball Tournament, to be held at Breakers Indoor Stadium in Terrigal.
Sponsored by Greater Bank, the two-day tournament gets underway on Saturday morning featuring almost 100 aspiring netballers aged 14 to 16 years, representing three NSW Regional Academies of Sport – Hunter Academy of Sport, Central Coast Academy of Sport and the Wagga Wagga-based Southern Sports Academy.
It will be the first time this year that the young netballers have played representative competition after the season was interrupted by COVID-19. They were due to take part in the 2020 Your Local Club Academy Games Greater Bank Netball Tournament in Maitland the 2020 Greater Bank Academy Challenge in Orange; both of which were cancelled.
Both Hunter and Central Coast athletes have been given the opportunity to be mentored by GWS Giants Super Netballer Samantha Poolman throughout the duration of their programs. Poolman, who is also supported by Greater Bank, will be in attendance at the tournament, offering coaching advice and support across the weekend.
Hunter Academy of Sport CEO, Brett O’Farrell, said that the Greater Series Netball Tournament provides a wonderful opportunity for the athletes to participate in elite level netball – “This series is an exciting initiative that gives some of our state’s most talented young athletes the opportunity to come together to not only compete but also celebrate the sport.”
“The Greater Series plays a key part in the overall talent development of our netballers. They get the opportunity to showcase their skills as well as learn new approaches to the game by competing against a broad pool of players.”
The tournament is part of an important pathway for the players to showcase and test their skills against their peers, with the aim of achieving higher representative honours.
Greater Bank’s Head of Marketing and Customer Experience, Matt Hingston, said that after enduring such a tough 2020, he was delighted to see the athletes finally take to the court – “Each one of the athletes taking part this weekend will no doubt have been thrilled with their Academy selection earlier this year, but unfortunately, COVID-19 has meant that the 2020 season hasn’t panned out as any of them would have imagined.
“While much of their season has been interrupted or cancelled, this weekend is a welcome opportunity for the squads to finally get some court time, test their skills against the other Academy teams and enjoy being part of competitive sport once again. I’d like to commend the Central Coast Academy in particular for the work they have undertaken to make this tournament happen, but also each one of the players, coaches and support staff members taking part, for the ongoing dedication to the sport and their respective squads.”
The weekend will consist of match play from 12pm on Saturday and conclude with finals from 9am on Sunday.