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Maitland under-15s primed for state netball debut

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Maitland District Netball Association’s (MDNA) under-15s will make their long-awaited “official” debut at an NSW Championship this weekend.

And, even better, it’ll take place at their home complex.

MDNA is gearing up to host the 2023 HART Senior State Titles at Maitland Park from Saturday 10 to Monday 12 June.

More than 5,000 people – from players to coaches, support staff to supporters – are expected to converge on the venue, which will stage opens (championship), under-15s and under-17s (Div 1 and 2), as well as open male (Div 1 and 2).

It all bodes well for some exhilarating action.

Ruby Carter, Chelsea Cox, Isla Cullen, Isobel Frize, Finlay Higgins, Nyasha Kangambeu, Madison Lancey, Abigail Mackaway and Evie Manning with coach Sharyn Ryan (right) and manager Tahlae Ball (left). Photo: Rod Thompson

“Maitland will be a hive of activity,” under-15 coach Sharyn Ryan said.

“The event is a terrific chance to showcase our facilities.

“It should be a great few days.”

Ryan, who’s assisted by manager Tahlae Ball, admitted her chargers – Ruby Carter, Chelsea Cox, Isla Cullen, Isobel Frize, Finlay Higgins, Nyasha Kangambeu, Madison Lancey, Abigail Mackaway and Evie Manning – were “very excited” to make their mark on the tournament.

“It’s their maiden Senior State Titles; in fact, it’s their first in any NSW competition,” she said.

“We actually went to Penrith last year, as juniors, but it was washed out.

“So, it makes this championship even more special.

“I think the girls would rather be travelling away on a road trip, but they’ll embrace the opportunity to play in Maitland – and have fun.”

The local outfit faces the likes of Barellan & District, Bathurst, Blue Mountains, Callaghan District, Canberra (INV), Charlestown, Dubbo, Hastings Valley, Hawkesbury City, Lakeside, Mudgee District, Orange, Queanbeyan, Wagga Wagga, Westlakes District and Woy Woy Peninsula in division two.

“We’d love to win it,” Ryan told the Newcastle Weekly.

“And, we’ll give it a good try.

“It’ll just depend on our longevity – our endurance – to play 17 games over three days.

“Injuries can come into play, however I believe we’ll be okay.

“We started training at the beginning of March.

“But, we’ve been hitting the courts twice a week, working on fitness and combinations.

“Our Thursday sessions usually last 90 minutes to prepare them for what lies ahead.

“We’ve also contested local carnivals in that time, too.

“Although we’ve had mixed results, due to a couple of setbacks, our last hit-out at Maitland was quite good.

“Overall, it will be a great experience for the girls.

“They’re looking forward to the challenge.

“It’ll also serve to ready them for the under-17s down the track.

“I’m quietly confident they’ll do Maitland – and the Hunter – proud.”

MDNA is also fielding open and under-17 squads.

The remaining fixtures – opens (Div 2 and 3), under-15s and under-17s (Div 3 and 4) – will be played at the Newcastle Netball Association.

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