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Newcastle netballers urged to ‘have fun’ at state titles

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“Just go out there and enjoy it.”

That’s the advice from Newcastle Netball Association (NNA) president Cheryl Hernando to her players heading to the HART Senior State Titles this weekend.

And, even better, the prestigious tournament is in our own backyard.

The Maitland District Netball Association (MDNA) will host the opens (championship), under-15s and under-17s (Div 1 and 2), as well as open men’s (Div 1 and 2), from Saturday 10 to Monday 12 June, while NNA stages the opens (Div 2 and 3), under-15s and under-17s (Div 3 and 4), and all-abilities, at its complex.

“It’s been a long while since we last accommodated an event like this,” Hernando said.

“We’ve hosted both seniors and juniors over the years.

“So, to get it back is a fantastic opportunity not only for Newcastle but for the Hunter as well.

“We’re very excited.

“I think statistics show about 15,000 beds have already been booked in the region.

“So, it’s not only good for netball; it’s good for the area and the economy, too.”

NNA, itself, will field five teams at the formerly-named State Age Championships.

The opens outfit features in the elite championship section, along with neighbouring associations Callaghan District, Charlestown and Maitland.

Newcastle will also line-up in the under-15s (Div 1), under-17s (Div 1), open men’s (Div 1) and all-abilities.

“We just want them to do their best,” Hernando said.

“There are no expectations placed upon them.

“As long as they have fun, they’ll succeed whether they finish first or last.

“That’s our philosophy.”

But, it doesn’t mean NNA can’t be competitive either.

In fact, the open women’s squad is among the frontrunners for the title.

“They’ve been runners up the past two years,” Hernando told the Newcastle Weekly.

“I’m sure they’d be keen to go one better.

“They’re a nice bunch of girls and, even with some new faces, they are gelling well.

“So, we’ll see how they perform.

“All three sides boast beautiful groups of women, who we’re proud of.

“We’ll also have a men’s team this season.

“It’s their first time contesting division one [at Maitland].

“They are super excited and ready to go, too.

“There is a lot more interest in that category this year, there’ll be two strong divisions.

“We will see an all-abilities competition in Newcastle on the Sunday as well.

“NNA also has a side in that.

“Our all-ability players will get the chance to wear the Newcastle colours – and have a great time.”

After the long weekend, Newcastle next turns its attention to the Junior State Titles.

“We’re heading to Camden in the July school holidays,” Hernando said.

“For a lot of players, they haven’t experienced a full-on championship.

“So, I know they’re all looking forward to it.”

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